Portland is on the map right now for the nearly 60 consecutive days of protest in and around the Justice Center downtown, as well as other locations throughout the city. If you're like me, your extended relatives are sending you texts like "Portland looks like a warzone." But as the city's beloved comedy son Ian Karmel pointed out recently, "The city is not a warzone... YOU CAN BUY A FLAT WHITE THREE BLOCKS FROM THE 'BATTLEGROUND.'"
Now is an important time to stay strong and practice self care: Get sleep. Drink water. And don't forget to EAT, perhaps while on a socially-distanced outdoor patio. To help you do just that, here's the run down of recent Portland restaurant closings, openings, switcheroos, and news. Let's dig in!
• This past Saturday July 18 was the last day fans of Cultured Caveman could enjoy their paleo treats—RIP the bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed dates and Brussels sprouts fried in beef tallow. The longstanding bone broth purveyor announced via social media that they were shuttering their restaurant in Kenton, fondly looking back on their first food cart on NE Alberta and teasing the potential for a cook book or mail order bone broth service.
• SW Portland's downtown farm-to-table restaurant Higgins—as in the James Beard-award-winning chef Greg Higgins—will venture into the patio realm starting tomorrow July 25, with their new outdoor bistro Higgins Piggins. Piggins will make use of the elevated 4,000-square-foot plaza outside the Oregon Historical Society at the corner of SW Park and Madison. They'll offer lunch, dinner, and a very healthy-looking wine and cocktail menu.
• For years the two buildings that housed Portland's longstanding Original Taco House (OTH) restaurants stood empty. But now the Oregonian reports that Portlanders can enjoy Mexican and Tex Mex family style dining at the former OTH location on NE 82nd. El Palenque is the third Mexican restaurant and cantina from Juana and Hugo Mendoza, who also have two other El Palenque locations in Albany and Corvalis.
• Meanwhile on SE Powell, a second location for the beer and bottle shop John’s Marketplace recently opened where the Creston-Kenilworth OTH once lay. John’s Marketplace boasts a massive bottle selection, a beer garden, and an onsite food cart pod that includes Holy Trinity BBQ and Jojo Food Cart Truck.
• Willamette Week has the story of Montavilla neighborhood restaurant Lazy Susan and their struggles and creative efforts to open up their family friendly charcoal grill spot during the pandemic. They reopen once more tonight offering outdoor-only dining from the old Country Cat location on SE Stark.
• Two weeks ago, PDX Eater reported that Portland City Council unanimously passed a cap on commission fees collected by third party delivery apps (Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates, etc.) from the restaurants themselves. This made it illegal for delivery apps to cut into the restaurant's share of the bill past a set amount of ten percent. In response, UberEats added a three dollar surcharge for customers ordering from restaurants inside Portland city limits. DoorDash likewise added a two dollar “Portland City Mandate” fee.
Portland's Restaurant Alliance (PRA) called for a boycott of Grubhub and Postmates after the two apps continued to charge commissions that exceeded ten percent. The PRA alleges that Grubhub charges 30 percent commissions. Yesterday the Oregonian reported that Postmates informed one of their clients they were "not following the [ten percent cap]."
• Do you know about Riot Ribs, the free food and resources tent in Lownsdale Park that recently survived a forceful property seizure and the arrest of its volunteers by Portland police? This week they got a shoutout from Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenaer when he decried the "needless damage that Trump’s secret police did" to the stand, after federal officers pepper-sprayed Riot Ribs' medical supplies and inside their grills early Tuesday morning. By that evening, the indomitable Riot Ribs already had several new grills and a long line of hungry fans.
If you haven't had a chance yet, check out this incredible photo essay which documentary and editorial photographer Celeste Noche made for the Mercury about the stand. Still curious? Here's a nice long background piece from PDX Eater about the origin of Riot Ribs.
• Hey, we love you! We want you to eat something. So make sure to send us all your food news and tips: firstname.lastname@example.org.