Downtown Jewish deli Kenny and Zuke’s will close its flagship location at the Ace Hotel and reopen a smaller shop in North Portland, the Oregonian first reported. The downtown location will serve its final Reubens and pastrami cheese waffle fries on Sunday, December 18. The closure marks the departure of the once prominent block’s remaining anchor restaurant tenant; destination bar Clyde Common officially closed at the beginning of the year.
“A combination of our lease drawing to a close, a need to downsize, and economics has necessitated a move to the Eastside,” owner Ken Gordon writes in an official statement on the website.
Kenny and Zuke’s opened in 2007, founded by Ken Gordon and then-partner Nick Zukin, who is no longer affiliated with the restaurant and went on to open the now-shuttered taqueria Mi Mero Mole. At its height, Kenny and Zuke’s operated multiple restaurants and was considered the cornerstone of Portland’s small Jewish deli scene, which has included the short-lived modern deli Beetroot, Ben and Esther’s pivot from an omnivore to all-vegan menu, and Northwest Portland’s New York-style deli stalwart, Kornblatt’s.
Fans won’t have to go without for long, as Gordon’s new “bagel-centric” shop will open on New Year’s Day, albeit with a different feel than its predecessor. Taking over the space of the former Kimura Toast Bar on North Williams Avenue, the new location will feature a spacious heated patio, self-service options, and espresso drinks. The restaurant’s par-baked bagels will be paired with smoked fish options, including house-made whitefish spread and local smoked lox, pastrami lox, and sablefish from the takeout-centric deli Jacob & Sons.
This won’t be the first deep dive Kenny and Zuke’s will take into the world of bagels: The brand once operated a bagel shop in Northwest — Kenny and Zuke’s Bagelworks — which closed in 2019. The deli also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2019, but was planning an expansion at the time. Gordon has not yet responded to request for comment.
Kenny and Zuke’s will open January 1, 2023 at 3808 North Williams Avenue #125