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Portland Pop-Ups to Watch, May 2023

Older pop-ups getting new lives, brand-new projects on the scene, and more

A takeout container from Baon Kainan in Portland Oregon, filled with two pieces of chicken in a light brown sauce, topped with pickled daikon and carrots and steamed bok choy.
Chicken adobo from Baon Kainan.
Molly J. Smith/Eater Portland

Pop-ups are an essential part of an innovative and fun food scene. They allow chefs to showcase the food and drink they are passionate about in a casual, low-risk way, while demonstrating their talent and scope of imagination. In Portland, pop-ups have been the jumping off point for a number of exciting restaurants, from James Beard Award-nominated chef Thomas Pisha Duffly’s Gado Gado to the brand new, up-and-coming pizzeria No Saint. In 2023, Portland will see many more pop-ups level up into new businesses, as other brand-new pop-ups emerge in the new year. Below, we compiled a list of pop-ups to keep an eye on as they experiment and exhibit their talent, opening up new venues and more. This list will be updated throughout the year. Have you visited a recurring pop-up that blew your mind? Let us know via our tip line.

Pop-Up Series at Lovely Rita

This hotel bar has started a series in which a beloved Portland food cart takes over the kitchen for a few days. May 3 through May 5, Eater 38-celebrated food cart Baon Kainan will serve its Filipino American fare within the hotel restaurant, with dishes like octopus adobo and roasted maitake mushrooms in a spicy coconut sauce. It’s a nice way to support some local carts with cushy indoor seating. Lovely Rita is located at 15 NW 4th Avenue.

Learn more: @lovely_rita_pdx


Celebrated bartender Rick Munro incorporates modernist cooking techniques and applies them to cocktails at this beverage pop-up. The next event, at the stylish subterranean bar Voysey, will involve drinks like the Art School Dropout, a force-carbonated and bottled blend of Jägermeister, various amari, calvados, Jamaican rum, and spiced apple bitters. The event will take place on May 17 at 710 SE 6th Avenue.

Learn more: @malpractice.pdx

Le Plus Cool

Former Quaintrelle chef Ryley Eckersley now pops up at Alberta wine bar Bonne Chance, specializing in a casual, loose, and fun approach to French fare. The pop-up serves dishes like schnitzel with mint and peas or mussels Dijonnaise, served alongside the bar’s wines. The pop-up runs Thursdays through Saturdays 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at 2209 NE Alberta Street.

Learn more: @lepluscool_bistrotheque


The new pop-up residency at Southeast Portland cocktail bar Deadshot specializes in “French-influenced Americana,” which translates to things like honey-glazed pork chops with bacon-y lentils or steak frites with blue cheese butter. Those craving a juicy burger in a sea of crispy smash burgers will appreciate Plumb’s rendition, a plump and medium-rare rendition with Gruyere and pickles. The pop-up runs from 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Saturdays at 2133 SE 11th Avenue.

Learn more: @plumbrestaurant

Papi Sal’s at White Owl

This recently closed food cart has returned, now set up as a pop-up at White Owl Social Club selling all of the greatest hits from the cart: 20-hour roasted pernil sandwiches with provolone and sofrito mayo; the fried plantain jibarito layered with salami and soppressata; sazon-seasoned fries. The food is as good as ever, and on the weekends, it’s available late — until 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The pop-up runs from 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, open until at least 10 p.m. each day. Order at the bar of White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th Avenue.

Learn more: @papisalspdx

Babcia Bread

Fridays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., this bread and pastry pop-up has been landing at No Saint, selling truly beautiful pastries made with Pacific Northwestern flours. The pop-up has sold things like rhubarb-custard Danishes, strawberry-raspberry paczki, and pink apple hand pies, plus savory options like pastrami-Swiss croissants made with Pasture pastrami. It’s fun to see another pastry purveyor in the former Seastar Bakery space — especially one this strong.

Learn more: @babciabread


It was a bit of a shock when founding chef Lauro Romero stepped down from his nationally and locally award-winning restaurant República, in order to revive his long standing pop-up, Clandestino; it was even more of a shock when he stepped away from the pop-up in April. During most of his career, Romero cooked loosely defined “new American‘’ cuisine at places such as Bambara in Salt Lake City and King Tide Fish & Shell in Portland. Romero started Clandestino as a way to explore the Mexican food of his childhood with the tools he picked up in professional kitchens. Now, chef Alfonso Torres — another Republica & Co alumnus — is running things, serving dishes like scallop crudo with coconut and pineapple. Clandestino can be found at Lil’ Dame, the new pop-up incubator from the team at Dame Restaurant, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. Lil’ Dame is located at 5425 NE 30th Avenue.

Learn more: @clandestinopdx


Veteran chef Luna Contreras, originally from Guadalajara, has worked in Portland mainstays like Ox and Michelin-recognized restaurants like San Francisco’s Mamacita. In 2021, Contreras revived her pop up Chelo PDX, named for her grandmother, as a pop-up. Chelo’s emphasis on vegetable-heavy Mexican street food and drinking snacks involved dishes like fried chickpeas, gorditas, and sopes with cured duck eggs. After an appearance on Snack vs. Chef in 2022 and a brief tenure at Janken, Contreras is onto even bigger and brighter things: Mondays through Wednesdays, Chelo takes over the kitchen at Dame, 2930 NE Killingsworth Street, with dishes like mole-drenched duck legs and locally foraged mushroom gorditas. The pop-up runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays.

Learn more: @chelopdx

Bialy Bird

Since mid-2022, Bernstein’s Bagels alumnus — and member of the now-extinct band Thao and the Get Down Stay Down — Adam Thompson has developed a following for his creative sourdough bialys. Bialys, sort of a filled bread roll that is a far-off cousin of the bagel, are hard to find in Portland, which makes Thompson’s take on them even more special: Visitors will find bialys filled with everything from white miso and caramelized onions to black tahini and chile crisp. In 2023, Thompson has also found a spot within the super hot pop-up incubator Lil’ Dame, which means Portlanders will be able to get bialys on a regular basis, every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Learn more: @bialybird

Correction: This story was corrected to show that Contreras will be popping up at Dame, not Lil’ Dame.

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