Italian Marketplace Cooperativa is in a soft open in the Pearl District.
Italian Marketplace Cooperativa is in a soft open in the Pearl District. Suzette Smith

Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer, but it's nowhere near time yet to break out your sweaters. Portland fall stays warm and mild through ding-dang November, so we still have plenty of outdoor time to enjoy—in fact we're bracing for 90-degree days this weekend and SCORCHER 100-degree highs next week.

I've been watching Portland's outdoor dining bloom for the past few months with wide-eyed awe. Can we keep these lovely spaces all year round? We may have to in the new coronavirus reality, and luckily Portland already had one foot on the patio already. So without further ado, here's all that new restaurant and patio news!

CLOSINGS

• After being closed since March, Ford Food and Drink announced this week that they will not reopen, saying via Facebook: "We had a good run. Thanks for everything, Portland. We love all y’all. Be kind to yourselves and to each other." Located on the bustling corner of SE Division and SE 11th, Ford was a dream cafe with a big, inviting floor plan and tables full of the Portland's bustling / brainy artists and writers. Add the regular music and comedy shows—like Earthquake Hurricane—which regularly graced Ford's humble corner stage, and it's easy to understand why they'll be sorely missed.

• There's a little bit of time until SE Wine Collective closes Oui! Wine Bar + Restaurant for an indefinite hiatus, on Saturday September 12. In 2018, Mercury's Andrea Damewood labeled them "the most solid $35 prix fixe feast in town," but also couldn't fail to note their super small, intimate kitchen. Such quarters do not thrive right now, so the restaurant will transition into a space for private tastings and—of course—annual fall harvest winemaking! During the hiatus, Oui's Chef Potter will focus on her subscription-based salad dressings and accoutrements company, Dress Up Salads.

OPENINGS AND SWITCHEROOS

• Drag brunch returns to Portland starting this Saturday—quite fittingly—at the city's iconic, longest running show, Darcelle's XV! Portland Monthly reports that the brunch's mastermind Kevin Cook, who performs as Portland drag treasure Poison Waters, couldn't help but notice that while many bars have reopened, none of the regular drag brunches had returned. Darcelle's will observe a few safety measures—tips go in crystal jars on your table, queens must refrain from walking through the crowd for those treasured up-close reads, and WEAR A MASK! Still sounds divine.

Cooperativa is a brand new Italian dining hall / marketplace in the Pearl District and it aims to be your single stop for handmade pasta—sold to go with the hopes that they may one day offer it to stay—Roman-style pizza, espresso, gelato, and even flowers. Portland Monthly writes that the vision of chef Sarah Schafer and business partner Anna Caporael somehow anticipated the grab-and-go moment we currently find ourselves in, as well as the way small businesses can band together in cooperation to thrive and survive.

• While SE Belmont's Circa 33 speakeasy remains closed for the moment, its open-air alley and back patio will host a pop-up bar called Gin Alley starting today. PDX Eater reports that John Paul Longenecker—former bardender at Rum Club and former manager of Bit House Saloon and Castagna—says Gin Alley's focus will be on its namesake booze, accented by locally sourced herbs like basil, thyme, and oregano. Former Nines banquet chef Justin Bayer formed a menu for Gin Alley with American-Chinese cuisine, with an interesting emphasis on duck confit.

• The people are running wild through the streets for a taste of Oma's Takeaway—the fusion barbecue concept which we briefly hipped you to in August. Originally an experiment that Gado Gado co-owner Thomas Pisha-Duffly tried in honor of his grandmother's recipes, Oma's Takeaway is now a full a brick and mortar in the old Whiskey Soda Lounge spot. That means it's no longer just for takeaway! There's some highly sought after patio space for dining in.

• The people are also lining up for Grind Wit Tryz the new Ouahu cuisine food cart at Park the Carts on NE MLK. The Oregonian's Michael Russell wrote a glowing review, with tons of interesting background on the cart's owner Tryzen Patricio, but don't miss the less conventional companion piece Russell also penned on what it was like to wait in line for an hour and 50-minutes to order Grind Wit Tryz—Spoiler: Worth it!

• For even more open patios, check out the
Mercury's Patio Pages
. We've also been rounding up all the info on restaurants offering dine-in and outdoor dining here.

NEWS AND GOSSIP

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Pix Pâtisserie added a second delight-filled vending machine recently.
Pix Pâtisserie added a second delight-filled vending machine recently. Suzette Smith

Pix Pâtisserie recently added a second Pix-O-Matic vending machine to their hidden-jewel-that-I-almost-don't-want-to-tell-anyone-about no contact dessert dispenser (that also may contain goat cheese tarts, sparklers, pocket-size US Constitutions, toilet paper, and so much more, depending on the day!) in the Pix / Bar Vivant entryway. In August, Pix's owner and chef Cheryl Wakerhauser also released her second cookbook Petite Pâtisserie: Bon Bons, Petits Fours, Macarons and Other Bite-Size Treats which can be ordered online.


• Hey, we love you! We want you to eat something. So make sure to send us all your food news and tips: food@portlandmercury.com.