For 20 years, Acadia Bistro provided Portlanders with a rare experience in this city: Diners would sit at the small wooden bistro tables or at cozy up to the small bar for bowls of gumbo and platters of shrimp Creole and jambalaya, suck crawfish tails paired with absinthe, and, when available, down soft-shelled crab specials. When it opened, there were very few Cajun or Creole restaurants to compete with in Portland, and since then Acadia remains one of the finest spots for Gulf shrimp and house-made andouille; when Acadia closes its doors this weekend, Portland will have lost one of the last of its kind.
“This weekend will be our final services at Acadia Bistro,” writes chef Seamus Foran in a Friday Instagram post. “It’s been a pleasure cooking for you these past two decades. Thank you to everyone who has ever dined with us, and drank with us, and an especially big, gigantic ‘Thank You!’ to everyone who’s ever worked here with me. Or for me. Thanks for helping make this place feel like home.”
Acadia’s small space made it a difficult restaurant to operate during the pandemic, forcing Foran to close the restaurant for long periods or stick to takeout, even when other restaurants offered indoor dining. Foran tells Eater Portland that the restaurant has been “terribly slow,” but he’s not sure if it’s because of rising COVID-19 numbers or not.
Foran began his time at Acadia as a cook, having answered a Craigslist job posting in 2007. From there, he worked his way up to sous chef and in 2015 took over operations from its previous chef and owner, Adam Higgs. While he brought his own touch to the menu and operations, Acadia continued to operate largely as it always had: as a place for Portlanders to dine on barbecue shrimp and Sazeracs. Its bar, too, was once home to Blair Reynolds, who would go on to found the celebrated Tiki spot Hale Pele, launch his own syrups brand, and eventually run for Congress.
Portlanders will have one last chance to enjoy Foran’s cooking this weekend with a takeout menu only.