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A Jojo chicken sandwich sits on a plate in the Northwest Portland restaurant.
A fried chicken sandwich at Jojo.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland

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Inside Fried Chicken Cart Jojo’s New Restaurant, With Boozy Milkshakes and ’70s Lounge Vibes

Jojo’s Pearl District restaurant will start serving tricked-out sodas and vanilla bean pavlova September 15

Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

A year and a half ago, Justin Hintze announced that his Southeast Powell food cart, Jojo, would open as a restaurant. Since its opening in 2019, the fried chicken sandwich cart has developed significant buzz on the national level, with nods of approval from food writers like J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. Locals would line up for crunchy-crusted fried chicken topped with coleslaw or pepper relish, double-fried potato wedges with sides of Alabama white sauce, and satisfyingly messy burgers topped with caramelized onion and sambal mayo, all eaten at picnic tables within the John’s Marketplace pod.

Hintze’s new restaurant digs, set to open September 15, are in stark contrast with the bright blue carts. The dining room is lined with a dark-wood-and-burnt-orange banquette, straight out of a ‘70s lounge. Plants hang from a lattice structure over the tables, also draped over the bar where beverage director Ashelee Wells will shake cocktails and blend milkshakes. Disco balls and smoked glass pendant lights hang from the ceiling. “I wanted it to feel closer to an actual restaurant, in terms of the service we’ll be doing and the decor,” Hintze says. “It’s a much more luxurious vibe that people may expect.”

Jojo’s restaurant menu is less about changes and more about additions. The restaurant will have vegan versions of every sandwich on the menu, with dairy-free buns from An Xuyen Bakery. Pastry chef Christina Hoover will bake cheesecakes and cookies for the dessert menu, as well as two rotating plated desserts like vanilla bean pavlova with cola-macerated cherries and lime leaf powder.

Over at the bar, Wells will serve eight house cocktails, two slushies, and a few drinks playing off Utah’s elaborate tricked-out soda culture. Cocktails are meant to be playful accompaniments to the food; for instance, the house margarita blends French orange and passionfruit liqueurs, mango, and the house pepper relish often spotted on Jojo’s spicy sandwiches. Each milkshake on the menu will have a boozy counterpart, made with an iconoclastic combination of oat milk and Tillamook ice cream. “It’s kind of wild because it’s a cocktail with ice cream in it, as opposed to being a milkshake first,” Hintze says. “It threw me through a loop because it’s so complex.”

Like the milkshakes, there will be adult and family-friendly versions of Jojo as it gets rolling: During the day, the restaurant will be an all-ages spot for fried chicken and sodas. After about 9 p.m., the restaurant will become 21-plus for the rest of the evening. After Jojo gets its bearings, the restaurant will be open until 2 or 3 a.m. “We really want to be a late-night spot,” Hintze says. “There are so few spaces for that since COVID.”

The original blue truck will close and eventually reopen in its same spot. But those who want to experience Jojo 2.0 can visit the restaurant at 902 NW 13th Avenue on September 15. Take a look inside the restaurant below:

Dark wood benches with burnt orange leather at Jojo in Portland.
A ‘70s-inspired banquette at Jojo.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland
Jojo’s dark wood paneling and plants.
Pendant lights hang among pothos.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland
A number of wooden two-tops are crowded in the dining room at Jojo.
The dining room at Jojo.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland
Wooden two-tops and burnt orange banquettes in the dining room lead into the bar.
The open-format dining room leads into the bar, with disco balls hanging from the ceiling.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland
A bartender shakes a drink behind the bar at Jojo.
The bar at Jojo.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland
A cocktail at the bar at Jojo.
Aged rum, French grapefruit and Italian cherry liqueurs and grapefruit, with a Fernet float.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland
An orange cocktail with tropical fruit garnishes and a straw sits next to a fried chicken sandwich at Jojo.
A fried chicken sandwich and a cocktail at Jojo.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland
A hand drops a plate of pavlova topped with cherries at a table at Jojo.
Vanilla bean pavlova with cola-macerated cherries, lime curd, and lime leaf powder.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland

Jojo Food Truck

3582 Southeast Powell Boulevard, , OR 97202 (971) 331-4284 Visit Website

Jojo Restaurant

902 NW 13th Avenue, Portland, Oregon Visit Website

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