When rapper Mikey Vegaz first started touring, he’d play shows at the Roseland Theater, the church-turned-music venue that has attracted both local and touring acts for decades. Starting next month, he’ll be selling food there, too. Trap Kitchen will open its first Portland restaurant within the Roseland Theater in May, serving lobster pizzas and teriyaki pineapple bowls.
Vegaz runs the Portland branch of Trap Kitchen, the perpetually popular catering company, Portland food cart, cookbook line, and Oakland restaurant from Malachi “Spank” Jenkins (or Chef Spank, or Spankihana) and Roberto “News” Smith. Jenkins and Smith started cooking and selling meals out of Smith’s grandmother’s kitchen back in 2013, building a West Coast culinary empire selling baskets of fried chicken and teriyaki bowls served in hollowed-out pineapples. People like Snoop Dogg, D’Angelo, and Kendrick Lamar have hired Trap Kitchen to cater parties and events, so when the team at the Roseland Theater reached out to Trap Kitchen about opening a restaurant within the venue, it seemed like a natural fit.
“Roseland Theater is one of the most legendary tour venues nationally, so now the artists and fans can enjoy amazing food,” Vegaz says. “We cater to a lot of celebrities, so it goes hand-in-hand with what we do.”
Taking over the Peter’s Room space on the bottom floor, Trap Kitchen Roseland will offer some of the greatest hits at the cart and catering company: pineapple bowls filled with a mound of charred teriyaki steak or seafood, fried shrimp and chicken with mac and cheese, its Rich Boy and Rich Girl sandwiches (Trap Kitchen’s take on a po’boy). However, the benefit of the restaurant space is the ability to expand. Vegaz says one-off specials will become a part of the regular menu, like its apple-cinnamon, bacon, pork chop waffle or its lobster etouffee-topped Cheddar Bay Biscuit-style waffle. Vegaz is particularly excited about the new line of pizzas, which will be topped with things like lobster.
“We’ll do our most popular dishes from the truck, and some of the specials on the truck we can’t have every day because of space,” Vegaz says. “We want to add some of the stuff that people have been saying they’ve wanted to see but we never get to do.”
Trap Kitchen Roseland will generally split service into two main menus: During the day, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Trap Kitchen will sell its food to the public in the restaurant space with a set, daily menu, including a 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. happy hour with cocktails from the adjoining bar. During shows, the menu will focus on stuff well-suited to late-night dining — catfish baskets, chicken shrimp baskets, burgers, and sandwiches. Behind the scenes, Trap Kitchen will serve as the venue’s caterer to traveling acts, adjusting menus based on the talent’s interests.
“The artists, they can come in and we can cater it to their wants and needs, whip up whatever, but then we’ll have a set menu for the concert goers,” Vegaz says. “I grew up performing at the Roseland — it’s dope to be able to see our brand in a historic building.”
Trap Kitchen Roseland will open Friday,May 13 at 8 NW 6th Avenue.