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Portland Star Chef Lauro Romero Is Joining the Ritz-Carlton’s Luxe 20th-Floor Restaurant

Romero will work under chef Pedro Almeida at Bellpine, serving dishes like rabbit with truffles and mushroom ice cream

Chef Lauro Romero stands outside Republica in Portland, Oregon.
Chef Lauro Romero.
Molly J. Smith/Eater Portland
Janey Wong is Eater Portland's reporter.

At the end of 2022, Instagram personality Gary Okazaki (Gary the Foodie) broke the news that Pedro Almeida — the former executive chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Midori in Portugal — would run the flagship restaurant of the Ritz-Carlton Portland. Information has been scarce otherwise; for months, even the restaurant’s name has been under wraps. Now, as its late-summer opening approaches, the Ritz-Carlton’s team has revealed new details for its forthcoming restaurant and lounge, including who will assist Almeida. Lauro Romero, the owner of Mexican pop-up Clandestino and former executive chef of República, will run the kitchen of the restaurant — Bellpine.

Bellpine is situated on the 20th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Portland, which includes a hotel and residential units within Block 216, a mixed-use building. Multiple facets of Bellpine, helmed by Almeida, are inspired by Oregon’s natural features. The restaurant takes its name from Bellpine soil, a volcanic soil found in Oregon vineyards, while its interior design draws inspiration from the Oregon Coast and Haystack Rock.

On the menu, Almeida will build dishes with ingredients indigenous to Oregon, grown from local farms, and harvested from the coast. For instance, diners might start with purple Oregon uni served with potatoes and egg before continuing to Bellpine specialty dishes such as sockeye salmon roasted on alder planks with rose water or farm rabbit with truffles. For dessert, candied mushrooms will perch on top of brownies and mushroom ice cream.

“It was important that the culinary concepts for the Ritz-Carlton Portland reflect and highlight the incredible diversity in ingredients and culture found throughout the Pacific Northwest,” Almeida says in a press release. “All of our dishes will incorporate at least one element indigenous to the area, such as rose water, wild mushrooms, or Oregon Bay mussels, along with the cultural influences and background of our incredibly talented team.”

Romero, a member of that team, has similarly incorporated native Pacific Northwestern ingredients into his dishes at previous restaurants — for instance, a rice and bean dish at Republica used Oregon chanterelles in both an adobo and as a pickled accoutrement, and at King Tide, Pacific rockfish appeared in ceviche. It’ll be interesting to see how his voice as a chef emerges within the menu at Bellpine.

The restaurant and hotel are expected to open later this summer at 900 SW Washington Street.