Top Chef: Portland alum Gabriel Pascuzzi’s Slabtown restaurant Mama Bird is switching up its format, transitioning from a counter service spot to Mama Bird Wood Fire Grill, with table service and an expanded menu.
Mama Bird’s wood fire-grilled chicken, served with sauces such as vadouvan curry and smoked garlic miso, is still at the heart of the menu, but the restaurant will add proteins like smoked St. Louis ribs, rotating cuts of steak, and fish in addition to shoring up its cocktail menu. “We have been kicking around the idea for some time,” Pascuzzi writes in a press release to Eater Portland. “We opened six months before COVID and have been pivoting ever since, never really having the opportunity to examine the business and truly decide what we are.” Pascuzzi also cites rising costs of materials like wood and charcoal and a lack of funds from the Paycheck Protection Program and Restaurant Revitalization Fund as reasons for the change. The restaurant will be closed July 31 and August 1 to transition.
Long-running Italian restaurant Caro Amico will reopen imminently
The old-school Barbur Boulevard Italian restaurant Caro Amico is set to reopen in early August, Willamette Week reports. The restaurant, which first opened in 1949, closed temporarily in September 2020 after its building suffered a fire. Returning customers can be reassured that the restaurant’s dining room has been renovated to retain its original characteristics, including its sweeping views of the South Waterfront neighborhood.
Phin Caphe & Boba introduces a Viet Snack Night
Powellhurst-Gilbert bubble tea shop Phin Caphe is introducing Ăn Vặt, a Vietnamese snack night that will recur monthly through the end of summer. The cafe aims to recreate Vietnam’s street food culture during extended hours with dishes like shrimp dumplings, tamarind balut, and tofu pudding that customers will enjoy while perched on the small plastic stools characteristic of the Southeast Asian country. The first two snack nights are scheduled for July 28 and 29.