It seems the downturn in the economy is seperating the chaff from the wheat in the Portland food scene. The latest victim is Mercato.

It's sad to see so many people losing their jobs. Mercato was a fairly big place and had a good number of employees who must now wander the streets, looking for work in an over-saturated job market.

Still, I'm not surprised to see the place go: It was a mess. Not to mention that it seemed as if the owners of Mercato had no idea what the city was all about. Mercato was attempting to be all things to all people, which I think alienated patrons who wanted something more specific. It may have worked as just a gelato shop, or just an Italian date place, or deli, or lunch spot. But, all those things? Nope. It seems that focus is key. Portlanders have no problem offering loyalty to a business, just as long as that business is speaking directly to them.

At any rate, I feel for the workers who are left in the cold. Here's hoping you find a better paying gig, somewhere with heart, real soon.