Back in April, Bridgetown Bites blogger Meg Cotner noticed a sign at 105th and Sandy advertising a new restaurant called “Sandy-O’s.” The restaurant would offer “sandwiches, subs and burgers;” a records search revealed the space would become a “commissary kitchen, offices, [and] warehouse for [a] restaurant group.”
The restaurant group in question is Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the team behind Reverend’s BBQ, Ate-Oh-Ate Hawaiian Restaurant, Big’s Chicken, and, perhaps most notably, Laurelhurst Market — the nationally celebrated Burnside steakhouse and deli. Laurelhurst Market is already a destination for its lunchtime sandwiches, made with house-butchered, cured, and smoked meats. Sandy O’s would be more than a commissary kitchen — it’d be another deli within the restaurant group’s roster, more casual than Laurelhurst but with the same emphasis on house-smoked and cured meats.
Although the names behind the restaurant are a big deal, news about Sandy-O’s has been slim. However, now that the deli is open, we’ve compiled the basics for those curious, especially within the neighborhood. This story will be updated with more information.
What is it?
Sandy-O’s appears to be going for a neighborhood deli vibe, with a handful of burgers plus hot and cold sandwiches. The shop itself has a sort of country family restaurant feel — wood panel walls, a vintage portrait of the Trail Blazers, an old-school Olympia Beer sign. Co-owner Ben Bettinger says the team sought out a new space for their commissary kitchen and warehouses after outgrowing the former La Luna space, and moved into the new building in June. The Northeast Sandy kitchen is now where Laurelhurst Market’s ham brines, pastrami smokes, and turkey roasts. After setting aside space for the kitchen, restaurant group offices, and warehouse, the team had room left over, and decided to utilize it for a new restaurant. “We said, ‘We already have all this product here, let’s make some sandwiches,’” Bettinger says.
What does it serve?
The shop offers three smash burgers; the apparent highlight is the Holy Smokes Smash, a ground beef-smoked brisket patty topped with fries, pimento cheese, and barbecue sauce. The hot sandwich menu includes things like braised pork shoulder with pickled jalapeños and gochujang sauce, a house-smoked pastrami sandwich with both sauerkraut and giardiniera, and a shaved roasted pork loin sandwich with romesco and roasted broccolini. As for cold sandwiches, the restaurant serves a take on an Italian cold cuts, with chopped ham, capicola, and beef salami as well as Provolone. The La Luna, a reference to a now-closed restaurant from the same owners, pairs roasted turkey and Laurelhurst Market bacon with apple butter and cheddar.
Beyond sandwiches, the restaurant offers a pretty basic salad; an egg, hash brown, and cheese breakfast sandwich with a choice of Laurelhurst Market bacon or a breakfast sausage patty; or a breakfast burrito with chorizo or bacon, hash browns, and scrambled egg.
What’s special about it?
Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group is one of Portland’s stronger and more consistent restaurant groups, from an A-team of talented local chefs and restaurateurs. Butcher Benjamin Dyer opened Simpatica Dining Hall in 2004, running the restaurant with David Kreifels and Jason Owens; the restaurant became one of the early destination spots during Portland’s early-21st century culinary renaissance. “It would be difficult to overstate the influence Simpatica’s subterranean supper had on Portland’s food scene,” Oregonian reporter Michael Russell wrote in 2018. “Over the past decade-plus, meals served at Simpatica led directly or indirectly to more than a dozen important Portland restaurants.” In 2008, the group opened Laurelhurst Market; years later, Bettinger — formerly of Paley’s Place — became the restaurant’s chef. Now, all four oversee the restaurant group, which operates five concepts throughout the greater Portland area.
But perhaps even more significant than the people behind Sandy-O’s is the restaurant’s location. Very few Portland restaurant groups have eyed expansion east of I-205, excluding the Japanese bakery Tanaka opening in Gresham this winter. Parkrose is home to some special restaurants and carts, of course — Filipino stalwart Fork and Spoon Food House, Mexican cart El Yucateco — but in terms of significant private investment in the area, food-wise, options have been historically limited. “The outpouring of support from the neighborhood has just been unreal,” Bettinger says. “From all the industrial workers in the area, the other restaurants in the area, the neighbors, everyone has just been psyched.”
What are people saying?
So far, Sandy-O’s reception has been positive, considering the fact it remains relatively under the radar in its few days open. Gary Okazaki, also known as the diner-about-town (or globe) Gary the Foodie, calls the restaurant a “very nice addition to the Parkrose neighborhood.” Instagrammer Mrs. MFTasty says that Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group is “known for quality burgers and this one definitely stood out.” So far, the restaurant only has a few Yelp reviews, but they’re glowing: “Parkrose is finally starting to transform into a *destination*,” writes user Jason V. “Places like Sandy O’s are one of the most important factors in effecting that positive change.”
What’s the story behind the name?
The restaurant is on Sandy. People call sandwiches sand-os. Sandy-O’s.
Where is it?
Sandy-O’s is located at 10505 NE Sandy Blvd.
Updated Monday, August 21, 2023 at 2:38 p.m.: This story has been updated to include comments from Ben Bettinger.