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Portland Food Writers and Personalities Share the Restaurant Debuts They’re Waiting for in 2024

Long-awaited arrivals, breaking-news developments, and more.

Chef John Denison poses next to the bar at St. Jack.
Chef John Denison, who will begin a pop-up inspired by Paris’s Clown Bar.
Carla J. Peña/Eater Portland

Each December, Eater Portland ends the year by reflecting on the last twelve months of dining in a series we call Year in Eater. We reach out to Portland food writers and influencers for their perspectives on major trends, impressive newcomers, and standout meals, and share their responses in a single package.

It’s odd — normally, around this time of year, Portlanders have a laundry list of restaurant openings to look forward to in 2024. However, news has been slim this year, and our list of anticipated openings is currently quite short. That being said, when asked about the restaurant debuts they’re looking forward to in 2024, Portland restaurant writers and content creators have a tiny sliver of intel to share. Know of a 2024 restaurant opening you’re looking forward to? Let us know via the tip line.

“I am very excited about what 2024 could bring. We shall see if what I have been told comes to fruition. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Actually there is one opening I can talk about — Le Clown Bar PDX from Cache Cache’s John Denison. The pop-up is an homage to Sota Atsumi’s food at Clown Bar in Paris. I have had chef Atsumi’s food, so it is an understatement to say I am looking forward to Le Clown Bar PDX.”

Gary Okazaki (@garythefoodie), renowned globe-trotting eater

I think I’m most excited for La Leñadora, the incoming Adán Fausto restaurant opening in the old Woodsman Tavern space. When I interviewed him, he mentioned a bunch of things that got me really excited, like “octopus fajitas” and “lamb shank birria” and “whole hog carnitas.” In a restaurant scenario, I just really love to build my own thing, you know? Like, ssam or tacos or handrolls. Give me a bunch of pickles and condiments and sauces, a vehicle, and a large-format protein, and I’m sold.”

Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor

I’m really excited for the handful of new restaurants and businesses opening in the PDX airport. Our airport is already the best in the country, these additions only make it better.”

— Nori de Vega (@nomnom_nori), Instagram personality

Ota Tofu announced a second location in the works that would potentially host a luncheonette for on-site bites. I’m excited for that to hopefully come to fruition!”

Lauren Yoshiko, Eater Portland contributor and freelancer

Since Flock has yet to open on the ground floor of the Ritz-Carlton, I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of impact the food hall will have — will Portlanders venture to the ultra-luxe hotel just for a bite or will it just be a place to expose tourists to our food scene?”

— Meira Gebel, Axios reporter and freelancer

“I’m really excited for Badlands in Old Town to reactivate the old Embers building on a landmark corner. I think it will be a significant boost for the neighborhood and the community to have that corner open again as a vibrant queer dance club. I don’t want to add to any speculation, but I hear that 2024 could be the year it opens.”

— Andrew Jankowski, Eater Portland contributor and freelancer

Badlands, the queer bar that’s supposed to be taking over the Embers space. We had a number of queer-centered spaces close this year, so it’d be a real win to get something that could be another hub in Old Town-Chinatown.”

Janey Wong, Eater Portland reporter

“While at this years Portland Greek Festival, we asked one of the volunteers where to go for good old school Greek food. She let us in on a new restaurant called Tréla (set to open in 2024) that’s started by members of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral community. We are excited for this one, especially since the food at the Greek Fest is always so good!”

Vicki and Vanessa Ng (@foodbellypdx), Instagram personalities

“I’m excited for Unwind to open their cart at Company. After my recent visits to NY and LA, where I experienced mind-blowing vegan pasta dishes, I’m ready to see Portland step up its game even further. Also, I look forward to eating more massive huitlacoche and nopales quesadillas from Machetes next year.”

Waz Wu, Eater Portland vegan correspondent

I have very little information about what new restaurants are coming in 2024 but I can say for sure that I am excited about the new Popeyes that is going to open on SE Grand in 2024 in the spot where that abandoned, dilapidated Burger King has stood for so long.”

— Bill Oakley (@thatbilloakley), former Simpsons showrunner and Instagram personality