For the better part of a decade, if not longer, “bowl restaurants” have proliferated the United States. Restaurants have opened topping piles of rice or other grains with poke, salad fixings, and burrito fillings, often at deli-esque fast-casual counters where diners pick and choose their accoutrement. In Portland, restaurants like Wild Thing, the Whole Bowl, and Feel Good have cornered this market, as well as the city’s various poke bars.
But serving stuff on rice is nothing new, in pretty much any corner of the world. In Japan, donburi — a rice bowl topped with things like vegetables, seafood, meat, and/or dashi — has been a staple since the 1800s at the very latest, though its origins date back to the 1300s. It feels surprising that it took this long, but in Tigard, a restaurant has opened specializing in donburi, with a vibe not unlike that of the bowl restaurant wave of the 21st century.
Donburi Factory serves traditional donburi options, like katsu don and gyudon (here labeled “beef don”), as well as the restaurant’s take on kaisen don, which the restaurant calls chirashi don — fresh raw seafood like tuna and salmon, alongside shrimp and unagi, carefully arranged on top of the rice. However, from there, the restaurant goes a little broader, offering dishes like poke bowls and teriyaki as well. Sides include dishes like inari or crispy fried chicken, as well as a variety of salads.
Unlike other bowl shops, recipes are set and not customizable; owner Zhongnan Hu, who has about 30 years in the food industry nationally, developed the recipes. That being said, co-owner Olivia Nasteka says the restaurant is meant to be similarly casual and takeout friendly. “The concept is kind of tweaked to fit the lifestyle here, in Oregon, for something a little more fast casual,” Nasteka says. “It’s much more fast-paced in the states, so we’ve created that kind of concept, with casual dine-in as well.”
Donburi Factory is now open at 10115 SW Nimbus Avenue, #600.