The famous tin foil swan leftovers of the late, great Le Bistro Montage.
The famous tin foil swan leftovers of the late, great Le Bistro Montage. Minh Tran

Le Bistro Montage, the well-known and beloved late-night eatery famous for ooey-gooey mac 'n' cheese and wrapping their leftovers in tinfoil swans, announced via Facebook that they’re permanently closing and will not reopen. “We have been so honored to serve Portland for the past 27 years,” the statement read.

Located beneath the Morrison Bridge in the Southeast industrial area of Portland, Le Bistro long served Creole and Southern cuisine to countless locals, curious visitors, and wise souls carb-loading for a night out. Let's also never forget the Nacho-roni they made for the Mercury's 2019 Nacho Week (Juanitas chips with pulled chicken and Cajun nacho cheese macaroni on top)!

You could always count on Le Bistro if you had a large party hungry for catfish, alligator bites, and oyster shots. And in the wasteland that is late night Portland dining, they were a perfectly delicious refuge right up until 2 am.

Mercury Food Critic Patrick Alan Coleman reviewed them in 2009, and while they certainly never needed the help, his critique of Montage was an unabashed rave:

Then, a vision—the one dish I'd glanced at for years but had never ordered—widowed there at the bottom of the menu: green eggs and spam. How had I never experienced this? The dish is wanton culinary strangeness. It's the mélange every drunk would make if the spins didn't dampen their ability to wield a frying pan before passing out. Spam, eggs, pesto, and chicken gravy are wed into a mass of fatty goodness that rivals poutine in its ability to give sustenance, warmth, and some kind of anchor in times of inebriation. It is, in one word, delicious. And despite the whimsical "fuck you" attitude of the dish, it is also weirdly understated.

I realized, as I ate, that this dish encapsulates everything I love about Montage. It draws you in with its audacity, but manages to satisfy despite everything going on. It's comforting. It's strange. And it speaks to a certain Portland love of excess.

Despite anything I have to say about the place, Le Bistro Montage will continue to serve visitors, wide-eyed suburban kids, and Portlanders attached to the restaurant's mystique. Thank goodness. As a gateway into the totality of Portland's robust restaurant scene, sure, you could do better. But you probably wouldn't have half as much fun.

The social media announcement of Le Bistro’s closure is already well on its way to receiving thousands of testimonials and crying face emojis from mourning customers. This COVID-19-related restaurant casualty certainly hits hard. Wrap my tears in a tin foil sword for the road.

Here’s the full statement from Le Bistro Montage:

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that we are permanently closing Le Bistro Montage. We have been so honored to serve Portland for the past 27 years. We want to thank our city and everyone who has dined with us over the years. We are grateful to have been a part of your countless anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, and special occasions.

We depart with the special feeling that most Portlanders have a memorable Montage story—whether it was a first date or the last stop after a night on the town. We want to thank our outstanding and wonderful building owners at City Liquidators, as well as thank our vendors for their time, dedication, and partnership.

Above all else, we owe our greatest gratitude to our truly remarkable staff. We lost count, but we employed thousands during our many years in business. We have seen some of the best people come in and out of our doors. Each and every one of you has made an impact on what Montage became. It was our privilege to continue the legacy of comfort food, fine wine, and unforgettable people that our founders Jon Beckel and Daris Ray originally started. We love you all and can’t thank you enough.