After a truly brutal 12 months, there should be quite a few things to look forward to this spring: the dissemination of more vaccines, better weather for outdoor dining. Additionally, a new crop of restaurants, bars, and food carts will begin to open doors across the city, from Pearl District spots selling fried chicken sandwiches and seafood mac and cheese to Vietnamese cafes with noodle soups and inventive banh mi. Some names are well known already within Portland culinary circles: Food cart Jojo will open its restaurant within the next few months, and upcoming Top Chef contestant Gabriel Pascuzzi is finishing up his upcoming bowl cafe, Feel Good. The lesser-known names, however, are just as exciting, tackling everything from cold-pressed juices to Hainanese chicken. Here, we dig into some of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings coming within the next three months. Know of another exciting spot coming soon? Let us know via the tip line.
Collective Oregon Eateries, or the CORE Food Cart Pod
What it is: While many of the food carts at CORE have started opening, the physical building with indoor seating has yet to fully open its doors. Already, this pod has shown remarkable promise: the Drip’n Crab, Papi Sal’s, and Jas Kitchen are all serious additions to the Portland cart scene, and the pod itself plans to host live music on its balcony and farmers markets onsite. Once the pod fully opens, it’ll have indoor picnic tables, room for indoor vendors, and a Breakside Brewing cart for beer. Down the line, it’ll also open a cocktail bar onsite.
When it’s opening: Ongoing; should have a grand opening indoors by mid-April
Where it is: 3612 SE 82nd Avenue
Read more about it: A Huge New Food Cart Pod Is Coming to SE 82nd [EPDX]
What it is: Everybody Eats, a catering company and East Portland restaurant, opened in 2020 with a menu of seafood-loaded mac and cheese, Philly cheesesteaks, and crispy-crunchy po’boys. Very soon, however, Everybody Eats will move into a Pearl District spot where it will up its offerings: From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., owners Johnny Huff Jr. and Marcelle Goss will serve jaw-dropping brunch fare, like strawberry shortcake chicken and waffles, banana pudding french toast, and shrimp and grits with lump crab meat. Then, in the evening, the two will specialize in the restaurant’s major hits, like lobster mac and cheese and Cajun pasta, as well as new additions like smothered turkey wings. Theoretically, the more central location will make this already
When it’s opening: March 23
Where it is: 138 NW 10th Avenue
Read more about it: Everybody Eats PDX Will Bring Ultimate Seafood Mac and Peach Cobbler Chicken and Waffles to the Pearl [PoMo]
What it is: A Vietnamese restaurant in Northeast Portland serving things like beef and cheese banh mi and bún bò huế, with a quirky and cheerful cocktail menu leaning on Southeast Asian fruits and spices. Owner Trang Nguyen is a gregarious and enthusiastic owner who is looking to open something lively and fun; there’s a good chance this restaurant will reflect that same energy.
When it’s opening: End of March
Where it is: 2333 NE Glisan Street
Read more about it: This Incoming Vietnamese Restaurant Will Serve Bún Bò Huế with Lychee Whiskey Cocktails [EPDX]
Scout Beer Food Cart Pod at NE Glisan
What it is: Scout Beer is opening another pod with a promising slate of carts: Poppyseed, the new cart from a Le Pigeon alum serving everything from duck pate to sticky toffee pudding sundaes, will move into the pod, as well as beloved vegan taco cart Taquiza Vegana. The cart will also host two new carts: Maillard, a cart from former Nostrana cook Andrew Gillis, as well as a New England steak bomb cart called Wicked Good Subs. Scout Beer will handle the booze, and a cart called Piece of Planet will make Indian staples and breads in a clay oven.
When it’s opening: Within the month
Where it is: 2810 NE Glisan Street
Read more about it: A New Taproom and Food Cart Pod Is Headed to NE Glisan [EPDX]
What it is: Another highly anticipated Vietnamese opening, Lúa is set to open on North Williams in April. Owners Alvin Wang, Phumitas Kaewklang, and Raymond Chau will make rice noodles in house for various dishes, offer an array of sizzling plates including breakfast staple banh mi chao, and cold-press juices for breakfasts and cocktails. North Portland’s Vietnamese offerings are limited compared to the city’s other neighborhoods, but the opening of Lúa will not only add some new heat to the game on Williams; its house-made touches, like restaurant-made tapioca pearls for boba, should make it a destination citywide.
When it’s opening: Late April
Where it is: 3971 N Williams Avenue, Suite 103
Read more about it: A Vietnamese Restaurant Serving House-Made Noodles Is Coming to North Portland [EPDX]
What it is: Portland has seen fewer bar openings in recent months, compared to restaurants or carts, but the opening of Bar Midnight should be big. Estanislado Orona, who worked at bars like Raven and Rose and Botanist House, is focusing on aromatic cocktails leaning heavily on fortified and sparkling wines. The cocktail that caught our attention, for instance, blends rosé, vermouth, and white port with rose petals, rhubarb, and cardamom. The bar will take over the former Liquor Store space, with outdoor seating and takeout cocktails.
When it’s opening: May
Where it is: 3341 SE Belmont Street
Read more about it: A Sultry, Wine-Centric Cocktail Bar Will Open on SE Belmont This Year [EPDX]
What it is: From the team behind Gado Gado, Oma’s Hideaway is a revamp of the briefly open Oma’s Takeaway, pulling inspiration from Southeast Asian night markets with hand-pulled noodles, a case of char siu-style meats and sausages, and Malaysian-Chinese snacks. Chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly teased dishes like Malaysian beer can chicken, Sichuan bolognese, and frozen drinks leaning on tropical fruits. Oma’s Takeaway was a quick addition to the heatmap after it opened last year, and Gado Gado is a recent addition to the Eater 38; based on their track record, the Pisha-Dufflys’ latest is sure to be a hit.
When it’s opening: May
Where it is: 3131 SE Division Street
Read more about it: Oma’s Takeaway Will Morph into Oma’s Hideaway, with a Night Market Feel and Live Cooking [PoMo]
What it is: Upcoming Top Chef contestant and local restaurateur Gabriel Pascuzzi is still working on opening his third restaurant, a version of his 2020 pop-up Feel Good. Feel Good’s grain bowls, which come meticulously constructed with slivers and slices of things like grapefruit, jicama, and pickled red onion, are artfully made, both in terms of how they taste and how they look.
When it’s opening: Spring
Where it is: 1120 SE Belmont Street
Read more about it: Gabriel Pascuzzi Will Turn His Grain Bowl Pop-Up, Feel Good, Into a SE Belmont Restaurant [EPDX]
Smith Teamaker’s NW 23rd Cafe
What it is: This cafe from Portland’s celebrated tea brand won’t just be a spot for cups of flowery herbal teas and pu-erh; chef Karl Holl is handling the menu for the tea cafe. Holl will be designing menu items incorporating the cafe’s teas; think: turmeric tea noodle bowls, or cookies and pastries infused with tea. Holl’s noteworthy pop-up at Park Avenue Fine Wines is allegedly done, which means this might be one of the only ways to try dishes designed by Holl himself, outside of his incoming foraging brand’s recipes.
When it’s opening: Late May
Where it is: NW 23rd and Glisan
Read more about it: Smith Teamaker Plans a New Cafe on NW 23rd With Star Chef Karl Holl [EPDX]
Chefstable at Mercato Grove
What it is: A number of restaurants within the Chefstable restaurant group will open at a new Lake Oswego development, including the revival of the currently closed Tasty. French spot St. Jack, sandwich legend Lardo, casual pasta spot Grassa, Berliner shop Fills Donuts, and pizzeria Oven & Shaker will round out the restaurant row, curved around a shared outdoor dining area — almost like a restaurant plaza. These are a number of Chefstable’s heaviest hitters, making their suburban debut; however, the sheer concentration of talent will make it a destination for Portlanders as well.
When it’s opening: June, with Lardo, Grassa, and Oven and Shaker open earlier via delivery apps
Where it is: Within Mercato Grove, at 4055 Mercantile Drive
Read more about it: Fills Donuts, Others Heading to a New Development in Lake Oswego [EPDX]
Jerry’s Pizza at Bear Paw Inn
What it is: Jerry’s Pizza, which started as an Instagram food business specializing in Chicago tavern-style pizzas, is in the process of moving into the Southeast Portland bar, the Bear Paw Inn. Jerry’s will operate out of the bar with pre-ordered pies, topped with things like house-made sausage and Italian beef, as well as two-liters of RC Cola. The pizzeria accrued a year-and-a-half-long wait for pizzas in its Instagram days, so this opening is sure to be a blockbuster.
When it’s opening: Spring
Where it is: 3237 SE Milwaukie Avenue
Read more about it: Instagram’s Tavern-Style Pizza Sensation, Jerry’s, Is Moving Into the Bear Paw Inn [EPDX]
What it is: The fried chicken food cart and Instagram sensation, Jojo, will finally get its own restaurant this year, opening a new spot in the Pearl District with burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and new additions like desserts and vegan fare. One of the most exciting additions to the new restaurant, however, will be at its bar — Ashelee Wells, formerly of Eem, will be making an assortment of boozy milkshakes, slushies, and her take on a Blue Hawaii.
When it’s opening: Late spring or early summer
Where it is: 902 NW 13th Avenue
Read more about it: Perpetually Popular Fried Chicken Cart Jojo Is Opening a Restaurant [EPDX]
• Portland’s Most Anticipated Restaurant and Bar Openings for 2021 [EPDX]