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Afuri Will Open a Restaurant and ‘Ramen Lab’ in Slabtown

Plus, Erica’s Soul Food started selling pumpkin spice chicken wings, and more news

Ramen and gyoza from Afuri
Ramen and gyoza from Afuri. Afuri will open a new location in Slabtown next year.
Wonho Frank Lee

Way back in early 2020, in a story about the then-incoming Fifty Licks location in Slabtown, Michael Russell at the Oregonian let it slip that a new location of the Tokyo-based ramen chain Afuri would also open in the rapidly developing Northwest Portland neighborhood. At the time, then-project manager Liz Allan described it as a “ramen lab,” where diners could watch chefs make noodles, simmer broth, and recipe test with visiting ramen chefs from around the world.

This month, the team at Afuri announced that location finally has a projected opening: the Slabtown shop will open in the spring of 2022, with the promised ramen-making display (think: the dumpling station at Din Tai Fung) and a menu of the restaurant’s greatest hits — hazelnut tantanmen, yuzu shio, tsukemen. Afuri currently operates three locations in greater Portland: Afuri Izakaya in Southeast Portland, the first location to open in the United States; Afuri Ramen + Dumpling, in Southwest Portland; and the Afuri Izakaya in Beaverton, the group’s most recent Oregon location. Afuri Slabtown will open at 1650 NW 21st Avenue, Suite 130. [WWeek]

Erica’s Soul Food Started Making Pumpkin Spice Chicken Wings

And Portland Monthly appears to be into it: Food editor Katherine Chew Hamilton describes them as “magical,” saying “the slightly sweet pumpkin mingles with a hint of spice.” The wings were meant to be a one-week special, but she brought them back for another week; keep an eye on the cart’s Instagram to see if they’ll be on the menu this week. [PoMo]

Two Portland Restaurants Hit the New York Times’s National Best Restaurants List

Last week, the New York Times released The Restaurant List, “the 50 most vibrant and delicious restaurants” in the country, according to the story’s intro. Two Portland restaurants made the cut: Coquine and Eem. New York Times editor Brian Gallagher described Coquine as “vigilantly seasonal and informed by French techniques, with an eclectic array of culinary accents,” and called Eem “a revelation.” See the full list here. [NYT]

A New(Ish) Restaurant Has Opened on Top of the Hotel Eastlund

David Machado’s restaurant group, which included the rooftop bar and restaurant Altabira City Tavern, was one of the city’s first major closures at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more than a year, the restaurant space sat vacant — that is, until mid-August, when Metropolitan Tavern took over the space with no real public announcement (hotel staff would tell visiting guests that the restaurant was open). The menu includes things like watermelon tacos, jambalaya, and carbonara, with a full bar and a happy hour daily from 4 to 6 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to close. [WWeek]

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