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Matta owners Richard and Sophia Le stand outside Portland Ca Phe.
Richard and Sophia Le of Matta.
Thom Hilton/Eater Portland

Portland Pop-Ups and Restaurant Residencies to Watch, September 2023

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

Pop-ups are an essential part of an innovative and fun culinary 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, and many other brand-new pop-ups have emerged in the last few months.

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.

Cafe Rowan and Cafe Olli Brunch Collab

Two all-stars in the Portland brunch scene, Cafe Olli and Cafe Rowan are collaborating for a two-day brunch prix fixe: Saturday, September 23 at Cafe Rowan, and Sunday, September 24 at Cafe Olli. The menu includes things like heirloom tomato salads, Maine lobster and grits, and smoked brisket steak and eggs, with huckleberry French toast for dessert. The meal is $75 per person, with a $10 option for beverage pairings. Email for reservations.

Learn more: @caferowan


The cult beloved food cart, known for dishes like Vietnamese American breakfast sandwiches and burgers on pandan buns, has transformed into a Việt Kiều culinary residency at Lil’ Dame, the pop-up incubator from the team at Dame Restaurant. Here, dishes are less fast food-vibed and more date night: Meals start with seasonal fish crudos with cilantro fish sauce and nước chấm-dressed salads with produce from Mora Mora Farm, followed by mains like fish sauce caramel ribs and prawn-filled omelets. Lil’ Dame is located at 5425 NE 30th Avenue.

Learn more: @mattapdx


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 summer melon and watermelon aguachile or confit chicken enmoladas. Clandestino recently moved into Dame restaurant, located at 2930 NE Killingsworth Street; it runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

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: Her own pop-up residency, with dishes like mole-drenched duck legs and locally foraged mushroom gorditas, depending on the season. The pop-up is in the process of moving into Lil’ Dame, 5425 NE 30th Avenue; starting September 15, the pop-up runs from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

Learn more: @chelopdx


Celebrated bartender Rick Munro incorporates modernist cooking techniques and applies them to cocktails at this beverage pop-up. The next event will be at the subterranean cocktail bar Voysey for Negroni Week; past events have involved drinks like Bruno the Bicycle Thief, with prosciutto-infused cognac and acid-adjusted cantaloupe. The pop-up will take over the bar on Thursday, September 21, 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

Cornet Custard

Those grieving the loss of Ripe Cooperative’s creamy frozen custards are in luck: Lauded chef Naomi Pomeroy is still selling pints of her custards at her flower shop, Colibri. However, on the weekends from noon to 4 p.m., Pomeroy and collaborator Mika Paredes scoop custard cones in person at the shop, with flavors that change every two weeks. Past runs have included malted strawberry, passionfruit, and blueberry cheesecake, often using seasonal produce. Colibri is located at 1454 NE Prescott Street.

Learn more: @cornetcustard

Tacos Con Onda

Chef Adán Fausto made a splash in Portland with his Paradise Mariscos pop-up last year; this summer, he’s ditching the ocean in favor of beef and grain. Tacos Con Onda is a love-letter to carne asada, which he mesquite grills and serves over his own flour tortillas. The pop-up runs Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. — or sold out — in the Woodsman Tavern backyard, at 4537 SE Division Street. The last pop-up of the season will run on Saturday, September 16, so visit while you still can.

Learn more: @tacos_con_onda


The rooftop at Cuban cocktail bar Palomar has been a summer favorite for years, but now that chef Ricky Bella is in the kitchen, it has become a fun new seasonal taqueria. Every Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Bella serves things like pork belly or rabo encendido (Cuban oxtail) tacos, while Palomar owner and cocktail maven Ricky Gomez handles the breezy drinks. Add a killer view of the city, and you’ve got a hit on your hands. Tocayo will end its run on the rooftop in about one month.

Learn more: @palomar


The pop-up residency at Southeast Portland cocktail bar Deadshot specializes in “French-influenced Americana,” which translates to things like Lan-Roc pork chops with honey fennel vinegar glaze, or steak frites with soy pickled shimeji mushrooms. 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

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 heirloom tomato Danishes, strawberry-raspberry paczki, and pink apple hand pies, plus savory options like pastrami-Swiss croissants. It’s fun to see another pastry purveyor in the former Seastar Bakery space — especially one this strong.

Learn more: @babciabread

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 Friday and Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Note: The pop-up will be off Sept. 8 and 9, returning the following weekend.

Learn more: @bialybird

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