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A musician dances onstage at Pickathon.
Soul Glo at a previous Pickathon.
Liz Devine

Your Dining Guide for Pickathon 2023

The Happy Valley music festival will host high-profile Portland chefs and restaurants this year, from Kachka Lavka to Pasture’s Kei Ohdera

Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

What started as a fundraiser for a local independent radio station has become a nationally celebrated music festival. Pickathon, tucked into the forests of Happy Valley at Pendarvis Farm, often catches up-and-coming musicians before they hit the radar of other festivals; people like Lucy Dacus, Courtney Barnett, Big Thief, and Leon Bridges have all played past Pickathons. But it’s about more than just music: This year’s festival — which runs from Thursday, August 3 through Sunday, August 6 — will offer not only a wide range of Portland talent in the form of food vendors, but also offer a meal series pairing chefs with Pickathon musicians. Below, we break down what you need to know about eating your way through Pickathon this year, including the must-hit food vendors and the Curation series. Learn more about the festival itself via the website.

Food Vendors to Watch

Pickathon will host a number of talented chefs and food vendors throughout the grounds of the festival, primarily within the Market neighborhood. However, a few specific brands stand out in terms of high-profile dining options:

Kachka Lavka

Chef Bonnie Morales has developed a reputation for her thoughtful approach to the cuisines of the former Soviet Republics. Her deli and market, Kachka Lavka, will have a presence at Pickathon this year. Expect fun dumplings like Italian sausage pelmeni with giardiniera and potato cheese poutine vareniki, as well as salads like Moldovan eggplant with prunes or Russian vinagret. For dessert, keep an eye out for fried cherry sundae dumplings.

Location: Market Neighborhood


The food cart-turned-restaurant-turned-food cart will roll into Pickathon this year slinging burgers and fries. Anyone who knows chef Anthony Brown knows that these guys won’t be your typical double deluxes — options will include things like Cajun kimchi burgers and lemon pepper fries. Now that Nacheaux is a mobile food cart, tracking them down can be harder than it was in the past; it’s best to get your maximalist burgers while you can.

Location: Orchard Neighborhood

Smoke & Brine

While Portland is home to a good number of Texas-style barbecue spots, Smoke & Brine is really going for a more Portland-esque approach: smoked and marinated meats paired with cool pickles and ferments. The culinary palate is often comfortably eclectic, using everything from bulgogi marinades to pastrami cures.

Location: Market Neighborhood

Obon Shokudo

This Japanese cafe specializes in comfort foods like curry udon and korokke, as well as a wide range of onigiri, rice balls stuffed with tofu misozuke and complemented by inventive misos. At Pickathon, Obon will offer giant tots, curried korokke, kakiage, onigiri, and kimchi okonomiyaki. Obon Shokudo is also entirely vegan, for the meat-free music fans at the festival.

Location: Market Neighborhood


There’s nothing like a plate lunch in the dead heat of summer, and this Portland-based chain of Hawaiian restaurants often delivers. A part of the Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group — also behind Laurelhurst Market and Big’s Chicken — Ate-Oh-Ate’s approach to island cuisine often incorporates grilled meats with a nice layer of char. At Pickathon, diners can pick from proteins like teriyaki chicken, Kalua pig, and teriyaki tofu, with big green salads as well as the traditional mac salad accompaniment.

Location: Market Neighborhood

Find the full list of food vendors here.

Chef Luna Contreras puts finishing touches on a plate for a Pickathon dinner in 2022.
Dishes from last year’s Curation dinner with chef Luna Contreras and Rosali.
Heather Binns

The Curation Series

Think of Curation as a food festival within a music festival. In a specific neighborhood on the festival grounds, chefs will partner with musicians and DJs for combination meals and concerts. Curation meals start with cocktails and a DJ, followed by an intimate performance by the chosen band or musician. When the music ends, the chefs begin. Tickets are $95 each, available online.

Friday Night Dinner: Chef Carlo Lamagna of Magna Kusina with Say She She

When: August 4 at 7:30 p.m.

The music: Say She She is a Brooklyn-based indie band reliant on dreamy harmonies and mellow synths.

The chef: Carlo Lamagna is the Filipino chef known for Magna, the Eater 38 stalwart on Southeast Clinton. We wont tempt you too much here; this dinner is sold out.

Saturday Brunch: Chef Maylin Chávez of Nácar with Ocie Elliott

When: August 5 at 10 a.m.

The music: This Canadian folk duo pairs stripped down, gentle harmonies with acoustic guitar.

The chef: Maylin Chávez was a Portland culinary rockstar during the days of her now-closed seafood destination Olympia Oyster Bar. These days, she runs her pop-up Nácar, a seafood-centric series in Oregon wine country.

Saturday Happy Hour: Chef Cindy Tran of Yoonique Phở & Grill with W.I.T.C.H.

When: August 5 at 4 p.m.

The music: Zambian psych rock band W.I.T.C.H. has a sound straight out of the late ’60s or early ’70s, with intricate drums and gnarly guitar riffs. The band — or, perhaps more specifically, singer Jagari Chanda — was a trailblazer within the larger Zamrock movement.

The chef: Cindy Tran opened Yoonique Pho & Grill earlier this year, with a menu of cool, hard-to-find Vietnamese dishes reliant on family recipes — think: bún nem chua, or cured beef, and com chiên dồ biển, seafood roe fried rice.

Saturday Dinner: Chef Jimmy Askren of Bellwether Bar with Andrew Marlin

When: August 5 at 7 p.m.

The music: Americana act and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marlin leans on evocative strings, with an impressive range of styles represented.

The chef: Chef Jimmy Askren runs the underrated food program at Mt. Tabor neighborhood bar Bellwether, following a career working for lauded chefs like Vitaly Paley and Ben Bettinger. His food balances Pacific Northwestern seasonality with neighborhood haunt consistency.

Sunday Brunch: Chefs Kei Ohdera & HJ Schaible of Pasture PDX with Butcher Brown

When: August 6 at 10 a.m.

The music: Butcher Brown genre-bends in a fun way, blending funk, soul, R&B, hip hop and jazz in a genre they call “solar music.”

The chef: The duo behind Alberta butcher shop and deli Pasture have a storied professional history, focusing now on sourcing whole animals and produce from regenerative farms for cool house-cured and cut meats. The shop is best known for its sandwiches, but the occasional dinner service here is a treat; brunch is an absolute rarity from them.

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