Listen, Portland people. I don’t ever want to hear any of you complaining about not having anything to eat (accessibility issues aside, natch). Because this city cranks out piles of fanciful food options. Every. Single. Month. That is pretty remarkable. This month your new options include craft vodka, double-decker and vegan pizzas, locally-sourced menus, and, as always, meals and atmosphere with Euro-influence. Not to mention new options for bad-ass bicycles, guitars and spa treatments. Now go forth and live it up!
You just realized you need a beauty treatment, stat! But you don’t have time to make an appointment, and so many spas that take walk-ins are in strip malls or boast prices that are too low not to have scary results. In comes Helene Lawless, founder of Be Smooth who who sold spa products for 15 years after working as a cosmetic chemist in France. Be Smooth offers waxing, facials and body wraps sans appointments, all in a no-frills atmosphere. Lawless also sells beauty products in-house for skin and body care, plus accessories and diet supplements.
Be Smooth, 120 NW 13th Ave., 503.360.1178
Bull Run Distilling Co.
It’s probably safe to say that your standards for whiskey, vodka and rum will go way up once you try Bull Run. The new distilling company was crafted by Patrick Bernards and Lee Medoff. The latter used to work with House Spirits and created Medoyeff Vodka, reportedly the world’s only Russian-American vodka. The barrel-roofed, 7,000-square-foot distillery is primarily a production facility but also has tours, a tasting room and a retail shop.
Bull Run Distilling Co., 2259 NW Quimby St., 503.224.3483
Pro Guitar Shop
One of Tigard’s best-kept musical secrets has moved to the Pearl District in order to reach a broader customer base. The Tigard location will now be a shipping hub for online orders, while the Portland shop will offer custom guitars, used guitars, amplifiers, boutique effects equipment and help and advice from staffers who know what they’re talking about. With the move to Portland, Pro Guitar is now better equipped to handle more online orders in Tigard, and the shop’s website features a high-definition video catalog that lists just about every item in the store. Axe-grinders, commence drooling.
Pro Guitar Shop, 1100 NW Glisan St., 503.670.4949
Since it’s not every day that you get to visit Nice, France, let Caffe Nizza be your local alternative. French owner Lisa Valteriza is offering breakfast and lunch, plus light dinner options with beer and wine. Nizza is in the sweet little 450-square-foot space previously housed by Stems Floral.
Caffe Nizza, 820 SW 18th Ave., 971.279.2289
West End Bikes
West End Bikes opened on a rare sunny afternoon in the newly renovated 4,300-square-foot showroom formerly occupied by Django’s Records. The shop is run by Mark Ontiveros, ex-head buyer at River City Bicycles, and Mike France. California-based international bike manufacturer Specialized is an investor in the shop (its first such investment in Oregon), so much of its merchandise comes from Specialized. Other brands including Globe, Wilier, and Beloved are keeping mountain and city bikes in stock along with carefully-chosen urban gear and apparel.
West End Bikes, 1111 SW Stark St., 503.208.2933
The makers of “Portlandia” were right -- Portlanders love putting birds on things and meals made with local ingredients. So it’s not surprising that one of our newest dinner spots is called Aviary. But this place has more class than Portlandia quirk. Co-chefs Sarah Pliner, Jasper Shen, and Kat Whitehead have put together a $16-or-less menu with entrees such as seared rockfish and braised beef cheek with the likes of papaya slaw, blood oranges and green grapes. Current seasonal vegetarian options include tempura pumpkin, cauliflower veloute and maitaake mushrooms. Put a bird on it; call it delicious!
Aviary, 1733 NE Alberta St., 503.287.2400
Guild Public House ***CLOSED***
Within weeks, or even days, of its opening, the Guild Public House has created quite a bit of buzz. Its owners, Jesse Cornett and Molly Aleshire, aim for a night at their pub to feel like a night of beer and barbecue at their house—it’s a family atmosphere, but they’re not afraid to pour good beer with hearty meals. The menu includes cider-braised chorizo, a spicy nut-crusted chevre and beet salad, Southern-style sandwiches, and a macaroni offering of the day. Guild will regularly screen sports games as well as political debates and election results, and at least 5 percent of its earnings will go to nonprofits.
Guild Public House, 1101 East Burnside St., 503.236.6133
Qdoba Mexican Grill
I kid you not, this is Weidler’s fourth Mexi-chain restaurant within about three blocks. Are Lloyd-area developers trying to start a food district, or is there just a local surplus of beans? I don’t really want to know the answer, but I am glad to know that Lloyd residents shall never want for an enormous burrito. What’s fun about Qdoba is that it brings in a bit of Tex to its Mex, with offerings such as poblano pesto, ancho chile barbecue, Mexican Gumbo and mango salsa taco salad. Yee-haw and cha, cha, cha -- all at once.
Qdoba Mexican Grill, 825 NE Weidler St., 503.688.5551
Who wants breakfast pizza? Well, get in line right behind me! Sizzle Pie has opened at long last. With super-late hours, this place provides an affordable way to wind down after a show at the neighboring Doug Fir Lounge. The menu includes double-decker pizzas, hearty vegan and vegetarian options, wine, more than 35 beers, and pizzas with specialty sauces, and clever names such as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and Napalm Breath. The decor is unique, the patio seating is huge, and the location is ideal. Bring it!
Sizzle Pie, 624 East Burnside St., 503.234.7437
East Side Deli
Liz Lemon of “30 Rock” would love this -- a sandwich shop that’s open way after sundown. And Tracy Jordan would love the deli’s motto: “Big fat, f***in’ sandwiches. And on the serious cheap.” (You read that right.) East Side Deli’s newest location has a vaguely New York vibe and offers sandwiches made with local vegetables, Dave’s Killer Bread, Portland French bread and Boar’s Head meat, cheese, sauce and soups. Sides include soups, salads and chips -- the usual. Jack Donaghy might not approve of a menu that could so easily dirty his suits, but you know what? We can just keep this a Portland secret.
East Side Deli, 4823 North Lombard St.
Girasole Pizza Co.
Girasole is the little food cart that could. The pizza company expanded its street cart presence into the former Ladybug Cafe location Jan. 17, giving customers the chance to enjoy its wood-fired pies while sitting indoors, if you can imagine such a thing. Girasole (that’s Italian for “sunflower”) is known for artisan pizza with local and organic ingredients paired with wine and local beer from the likes of St. Helens-based Captured by Porches. The new location also offers catering, pasta, soup, wood-fired sandwiches, and salads for meat-eaters, vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free folks. The cafe has been renovated using recycled materials, and a second food cart is expected to hit the streets from late May through late October.
Girasole Pizza Co., 8438 North Lombard St., 503.954.1671
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