Way back in 2019, news broke that the iconic Alder Street food cart pod, between 9th and 10th, would transform into Portland’s first Ritz-Carlton location. At that point, most of the focus was on the food carts within that pod, where they would move in particular. But as its opening date approaches, more information about the Ritz-Carlton has emerged — particularly, that the new building will dedicate a significant portion of its real estate to food businesses. The Portland location of the hotel will house a food hall, a taproom, and a ritzy (pun intended) restaurant run by an alumnus of a Michelin-starred restaurant in Portugal.
Details are still relatively scarce, though this is one of the biggest openings of 2023 on our radar. Keep an eye out next year; we’ll have more details as they roll in.
What’s the deal with the hotel?
The Ritz-Carlton Portland is a part of Block 216, a 460 foot, 35-story tower in downtown Portland with a combination of residences, hotel rooms, and retail. The building will host a day spa, pool, office spaces, and fitness center, as well as a food hall, restaurant, and bar.
What do we know about the food hall?
The food hall will house between nine and 10 vendors, New School Beer reports, including Hillsboro’s Prime Tap House, Eater 38 stalwarts Birrieria La Plaza and Kim Jong Grillin’, and breakout star pop-up Sunrice. Sunrice’s appearance in the pod will be in collaboration with Magna, Portland’s nationally renowned Filipino restaurant; the team there has yet to release any specific details, but they should be coming soon. Kim Jong Grillin’ owner Han Ly Hwang says the focus at the food hall location will be on Korean American fare, including dishes like bulgogi smash burgers, Korean fried chicken bowls, and “Munchwraps,” the cart’s play on Taco Bell’s popular Crunchwrap. “There isn’t a real Korean American crossover and I want to bring that to the table downtown at the Ritz,” he says.
New School Beer also reported that one of Portland’s most famous restaurants, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, may also open a location within the food hall, though it has yet to be confirmed; owner Nong Poonsukwattana has yet to respond to Eater Portland’s request for comment. Other restaurants New School lists as potential tenants in the building include Zab Thai, Queen Mama Mediterranean, Artly coffee, Hamono Sushi, and Cake Bar.
What do we know about the restaurant?
The 20th floor restaurant and bar will seat more than 100, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Gary the Foodie first spotted that chef Pedro Almeida — who served as executive chef of the Michelin-starred Midori in Sintra, Portugal — would run the Portland restaurant’s kitchen. Almeida says the restaurant will be primarily New American with both chef’s tasting and a la carte menus, leaning heavily on produce and meats sourced from Oregon. He’s tight-lipped about the menu at this point, but says he’s excited to work with local truffles, mushrooms, seafood, and pork. “The idea is to bring some of the farm life in Portland to the menus, the story of the city also,” Almeida says. “I don’t want to impose myself onto the Portland scene; I have to earn your trust and basically try to bring something extra to Portland. That’s my main focus — not to be the best, just to be something different.”
Who is Pedro Almeida?
Almeida grew up in the countryside of Portugal; he describes himself as a “little farm boy” who was passionate about produce from a young age. After cooking and eating his way through Spain and Japan, he returned to Portugal, becoming the executive chef of Midori at the Penha Longa Resort in Sintra. He ran the kitchen when the restaurant received a Michelin star. After 10 years in Portugal, he was looking for a change, and was drawn to Portland for its similarities to Sintra. “I’m a very emotional chef,” he says. “I have a deep connection to produce. My style is to always have a story, for any dish that I cook.”
When will it open?
The Ritz-Carlton’s website is currently listing the anticipated opening date as 2023, and is accepting reservations for July 6 and beyond. Block 216’s website says that occupancy can begin as early as April 2023. What that means for the restaurant and food hall within the space remains to be seen.