Tails & Trotters — the lauded company known for its hazelnut-finished pork — sold its final roast pork sandwich out of its Kerns butcher shop this weekend. Owners Aaron and Kelly Silverman confirmed the closure, noting that the rising costs of business contributed to the decision to close.
“After weathering a devastating fire in 2017 and the past 2 years of COVID, the sudden loss of key infrastructure makes it impossible for us to effectively operate,” the Silvermans wrote in a public statement, posted on Instagram. “In conjunction with skyrocketing costs at every level, we have decided to suspend all operations while we figure out our next steps.”
Tails & Trotters started as a pork business in 2007, selling meats at farmers markets. Ten years ago, the company opened its butcher shop in the Ocean, the development home to businesses like gourmet grocer Providore and destination hotpot spot Han Oak. It had already developed a following for its hazelnut-finished pork, sold at farmers markets and used by high-profile chefs around town. Modeled after the acorn-finished pork popularized in Spain, Tails & Trotters fed its pigs Northwest hazelnuts, which helps with both the flavor and fat marbling. That pork then transformed not only into fresh cuts like ribs, hocks, and loin, but also cured meats like prosciutto and capicolo. At the market, the Silvermans would sell sandwiches made with the butcher shop’s meat, including decadent takes on porchetta, Cubanos, and porkstrami Reubens. The butcher shop appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and took home ribbons from the Good Food Awards.
In 2017, Tails & Trotters burned in a fire that destroyed three year’s worth of inventory, including aged and cured meats like prosciutto. To survive, the company reopened as a cart, eventually reopening in the original space. “After a year rebuilding, the redesigned shop reopened and had finally regained momentum when the pandemic descended in early 2020,” the statement reads. Even despite the hurdles, Tails & Trotters remained a name-dropped product at countless Portland restaurants and markets — the company’s salami landed on Cooperativa sandwiches and in the cold case at Sebastiano’s.
A number of Portland restaurants will continue to use Tails & Trotters products in their dishes for the time being, including Hunnymilk, Pizzaria Otto, and Sugarpine Drive-In; consumers will be able to pick up Tails & Trotters meats at the Portland State University farmers market on July 9, as well as at Cooperativa and Market of Choice. Learn more about the closure via the Instagram post.