When it comes down to it, Portland is such an enjoyable place to live because of the simple pleasures that it offers. Sure, it may be a bastion of weirdness and creative energy, but it’s also a place to find a good book and an old record, or eat a thoughtfully crafted sandwich…with gluten free bread. Perhaps as a way to ease us into the wet, dark months ahead, the businesses that opened in August exude comfort and relaxation. There are new places to indulge in ice cream, tea, and of course, microbrews. The summer clock is ticking, folks, so find a new favorite spot and finish yours off right.
Providing a happy medium between aimless coffee shop working and cubicle dwelling, Collective Agency is a dynamic office space for groups or individuals to get things done. During the week, the space is free for smaller groups, and can be rented out by folks who want to hold a meeting in one of the conference rooms or shoot a video. The space itself is warm and inviting, with brick walls and a modern feel. Those who pay the $157.50/month membership fee have 24/7 access to the space as well as their own storage area. The goal of the space is for people to be inspired by those around them, even if they are working on completely different tasks. In a town where traditional office life is not the norm, Collective Agency is a perfect fit.
Collective Agency, 322 NW 6th Avenue, Suite 200
Dr. Sushi & BBQ
Northwest District, Nob Hill
The Dr. is in. This new NW 23rd spot is just the prescription for folks in need of their Asian culinary medicine. Borrowing favorites primarily from Korea and Japan, Dr. Sushi has a full sushi selection and boasts tables with their very own BBQs in them for some family style grilling. Those not in the mood for bulgogi and pork belly can take on traditional Japanese fare like udon and donburi, or opt for something a bit more ambitious like oyster shooters with sea urchin and ponzu sauce. Nearby NW lunchers can take advantage of the reasonably priced platters and bento boxes. The large, sleek space, however, is more befitting a celebratory dinner of some sort. Doctor’s orders.
Dr. Sushi & BBQ, 333 NW 23rd Avenue, 503.279.4022
Fringe Salon Studio
What was formerly Modish Salon Studio has undergone a makeover and is now Fringe Salon Studio. The popular stylist team from Modish remains intact, while the space has been gussied up a little bit.
Fringe Salon Studio, 406 NW 12th Avenue, 503.222.5333
Red Robe Tea House & Cafe
It is common knowledge that Portland has risen to the top of the heap when it comes to locally crafted beer and coffee. Perhaps the next frontier is tea. Red Robe Tea House offers an extremely large selection of teas with intriguing names like Hangzhou West Lake Dragon Well and Superior Phoenix Yunnan Gold. The exotic selections provide a welcome counterpoint to the relatively bland tea offerings at the nearby Chinatown restaurants (with the exception of Lan Su Chinese Garden, natch). The teas are complemented by a straightforward Chinese food menu, with offerings such as BBQ pork and mixed vegetables served with rice or noodles.
Red Robe Tea House & Cafe, 310 NW Davis Street, Suite A, 503.227.8855
Three Pigs Deli ***CLOSED***
Northwest District, Nob Hill
Three Pigs is a sandwich shop for everyone. The small menu features sandwiches that are straightforward but gourmet, hearty but subtle. There are, not surprisingly, many pork options to be had, including the Cubano and the ham and cheddar. Those with pickier palates may opt for the bacon-cheddar-rhubarb, which comes in at $7; that’s reasonable even if you live in a house made of straw. The specials board at Three Pigs provides a couple of salad and soup options for non- pork-seekers, who can also go with the broccoli-ricotta sandwich.
Three Pigs, 10 NW 16th Avenue, 503.227.3575
15th Avenue Hophouse
After a little dust up with the Irvington Community Association, the 15th Avenue Hophouse now has a liquor license and is ready for action. Sibling of the Hawthorne Hophouse, the NE Brazee location will offer 33 taps of beer, cider and wine. The Hophouse’s food menu boasts pub grub options with a gourmet twist, like poutine and a Mediterranean chicken sandwich. The dish sure to be star, however, is the grilled mac and cheese sandwich, which features Gorgonzola cheese and tomato. Add one of the few dozen craft beer offerings, and you’ve got the makings of a new neighborhood hotspot. Just make sure to keep your voices down.
15th Avenue Hophouse, 1517 NE Brazee
Beacon Sound is the latest addition to an area that has become one of the hippest around when it comes to eats and tunes. Sandwiched between Extracto Coffee and Tiga, with Pok Pok Noi and Grain & Gristle right around the corner, Beacon is a bastion of sweet vinyl, both new and old. The store is small but it packs a creative punch: records by the likes of Adele and Radiohead coexist with classic albums from artists like John Coltrane and Curtis Mayfield. The record collection is complemented by a solid selection of indie magazines and old school Portland postcards. Those trying to get a better sense of Beacon’s wares should check its website, which conveniently lists new arrivals.
Beacon Sound, 1465 NE Prescott Street, Suite D, 503.360.1268
Concordia, Alberta Street
Entering the Alberta icy dessert battle is Kush Café, a pleasant little spot that offers coffee standards, some baked goods, and most important, a nice selection of gelato. There are nearly 20 flavors available, including more traditional fare like Almond Joy, and exotic offerings like bourbon and bacon. Even vegans can get in on the fun–six of the current flavors are dairy-free sorbets. To make matters even more delicious, the gelato is made by Gelato Maestro, a Portland-based company. Located on such an up-and-coming street, Kush has its work cut out for it. It has become successful, however, by taking advantage of its culinary surroundings. “We have a lot of people come after dinner because there are so many restaurants,” says employee Kelly Bauman.
Kush Café, 2624 NE Alberta Street, 503.384.2077
Salt and Straw
Vernon, Alberta Street
Having already developed a strong following from its food cart, Salt and Straw’s new brick and mortar location promises to bring farm-to-cone ice cream to the masses. Lest you think its locally sourced ingredients are merely a ploy to bring in dessert-seeking locavores, consider some of the gourmet flavors that Salt and Straw has to offer. Brown ale bacon goes head to head with lemon basil sorbet in the competition for flavors that sound like they belong on a gastropub menu, with pear and blue cheese close behind. There are also flavors that actually sound like ice cream, such as chocolate with gooey brownies and cinnamon snickerdoodle. There would be a place like this on Alberta.
Salt and Straw, 2035 NE Alberta Street, 503.208.3867
Tula Gluten Free Baking Co.
As gluten free menus become more prevalent around the city, Tula has entered the fray with a selection of goodies that is exclusively gluten free. The bakery recently moved its whole operation from Bend and now has a space that offers the basics like bread and granola, as well as less common gluten free items like pizza and paninis. “We’re really an allergy sensitive baker,” says Mieke Johnson, who owns Tula with her husband Caleb. Johnson says that Portland was an attractive market because while it might have a number of decent gluten free options, there aren’t many businesses that cater exclusively to people with food allergies. “I think there’s definitely a need for it,” she says.
Tula Gluten Free Baking Co., 4943 NE MLK Boulevard, 503.306.1250
East Side Deli
The little deli that could just keeps on chugging along. This time it has opened a downtown location to combat the Westside’s alarming dearth of affordable sandwich options. East Side Deli’s make-your-own sandwich model remains intact, with order sheets that allow customers to choose everything from corned beef to vegan field roast. You can also build your own salad or hot dog, or choose from one of East Side’s signature options like the pit bull, a hot dog topped with pulled pork and cheddar. As if its wide range of options weren’t enough, East Side keeps things local by using Dave’s Killer Bread for many of its offerings.
East Side Deli, 1348 SW Park Avenue, 503.243.3354
New to the downtown food scene comes Mucca Osteria, a cute little space with exposed brick walls and photos of famous Italian landmarks on the wall. The menu boasts usual suspects such as gnocchi with tomato basil and risotto with seafood, but also offers less standard items like egg tagliatelle with oxtail ragu and seared duck breast with balsamic vinegar and honey. Nothing on the lunch menu tops $20, but if you’re going for dinner, be prepared to drop some serious euros. But hey, for a night of homemade pasta and free flowing red wine, some splurging may be in order.
Mucca Osteria, 1022 SW Morrison Street, 503.227.5521
Combining three of Portland’s favorite culinary pastimes - locally sourced ingredients, small plates, and delicious cocktails—2nd story is a formal but unpretentious space for light, gourmet snacking. The restaurant, above Cellar Door coffee roasters, has a menu of small dishes like a braised pork cheek sandwich with peach-onion chutney, and a buckwheat crepe with fennel, veggies, and chevre. The small plates, which are made with local, sustainable ingredients, are complemented by a drool-inducing cocktail list that includes offerings like the garden lemonade, with house-made elderflower liqueur, and the Twice-Smitten, with gin, Aperol, lemon and mint.
2nd Story, 2005 SE 11th Avenue, 503.209.6346
Buckman, Burnside East
Portland’s myriad cool kids have another store geared towards them. This time it’s in the form of Static, a men’s and women’s clothing and accessory store that specializes in the following looks: rock, goth, glam and punk. Simply put, says owner Simone Walti, “It’s a lot of black clothes.” Walti adds that her store includes “a lot of things with skulls, some unique things that aren’t anywhere else in Portland.” The arrival of Static is especially well timed, Walti says, because of a new look that’s emerging in our fair city: hipster goth. “It’s like the hipster look but all in black,” she says.
Static, 2400 E Burnside Street, 971.255.0795
Just down the street from Portland heavyweight champion Pok Pok comes Wafu. Chef Trent Pierce, whose former post was the now closed Fin, will head the restaurant, which will focus on Japanese-influenced noodle dishes. Staying open from 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Sunday, Wafu will also offer an assortment of Asian beers on tap and cocktails that are “meticulously prepared via Japanese-style bartending.” The food menu will include various noodle dishes like ramen and the already popular dandan noodles. And, perhaps as a signal to its media darling neighbor, Wafu will offer its own take on game hen—a fried version that will be available on the late night menu. It may not cause a restaurant power shift, but it will surely taste pretty darn good.
Wafu, 3113 SE Division Street, 503.236.0205
St. Johns, North Portland
Etcetera offers gifts and home furnishings that are locally made or repurposed. The result is a store with a wide array of offerings, from the funky to the cutesy. Need some homemade soap to go with some new jewelry, or perhaps a wardrobe for a new baby? Etcetera is your place. “It’s just a great place to buy a little gift for someone,” says Brie Wissler, who owns the store with her mom, Sherry. Wissler says that Etcetera focuses on providing products made locally with eco-friendliness in mind. “We just try to do things that are natural,” she says.
Etcetera, 7373 N Burlington Avenue, 971.279.2473
Correction 9/6/11: The article initially stated that Wafu is open until 2 a.m. every night and will offer its own take on chicken wings. Wafu is open 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Sunday, and will offer fried game hen on its late night menu.