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St. Johns Italian Restaurant Gabagool Closes July 17

The only restaurant serving piadina in the neighborhood, Gabagool was “unable to reach an agreement on a lease for (the) space,” according to an Instagram post

A casual cafe with a red sign overlaying the image that reads “Sorry We’re Closed” Eater/Getty
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

Nine years ago, Ryan Sherman and Peter Fischer opened a food cart on North Mississippi specializing in Italian sandwiches and pastas. It became something of a cult favorite, spurring Reddit fervor and eventually developing enough momentum to open a full restaurant in St. Johns. When it opened, there were few other restaurants in the neighborhood serving pasta, let alone handmade pasta; it was certainly the only spot in the neighborhood selling piadina, Italian flatbread sandwiches filled with capicola — also known as the restaurant’s namesake, gabagool.

On July 17, however, the restaurant will close, according to a post on the restaurant’s Instagram. “We’ve been unable to reach an agreement on a lease for our space,” the post reads. “We can’t even express what we’re feeling right now, and how much we appreciate the support we’ve received from this community.”

For five and a half years, St. Johns locals would sit out on the patio at Gabagool to twirl bites of pappardelle and spear bites of potato gnocchi. The restaurant cured its own pancetta, made its own sausage, and hung house-made pasta around its kitchen, for dishes like tagliatelle with braised spring rabbit, or spaghetti al’ Amatriciana with house-cured guanciale. At the bar, infused simple syrups and house-made limoncello would land in cocktails, as well as standards like Campari.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Gabagool closed briefly, before reopening for takeout in May 2020, eventually adding outdoor seating on the large outdoor patio. At the beginning of 2021, Sherman and Fischer broke out their old Gabagool truck and opened Whiz, a cheesesteak cart, on Southeast Belmont. The restaurant reopened for indoor dining in the summer of 2021.

“We’re not sure what’s in our future but we are truly glad to have had this experience, the rollercoaster that it’s been,” the Instagram post reads. “We’d like to fill these last two weeks of service with good times and positive memories, so if you get a chance stop by and say hello and goodbye. We’d love to see you.”

Read the full Instagram post below:


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