While many of us spent the last month scrambling to complete our holiday shopping and darting from one holiday party to the next, there were plenty of industrious Portlanders setting up shop all over town. Last month, no fewer than 16 local business owners opened their doors to the public, including a handful of apparel designers, a luthier and a hypnotist, as well as a collective of local artists hoping to inspire consumers with their work. Plus, as always, many new entrepreneurs focused their talents and energy on the food and drink that make this town gastronomically peerless, including traders in craft beer, spirits and Peruvian and French cuisines.
Bull Run Distilling Co.
Bull Run Distilling Co.
Northwest District, Slabtown
Last year, Patrick Bernards and Lee Medoff, formerly of House Spirits, incorporated Bull Run Distilling Co., which has become the newest addition to the city's craft spirits scene. At present, Bernards says their spirits are still fermenting, but the first batch, a light rum, is expected in March. The whiskey is "gonna tell us when it's ready," he says, and that means it may not be bottled until 2015. Still, the pair decided it was time to open their doors to the public. Open in the afternoons, Wednesday through Sunday, tasters can stop by and sample Medoff's Medoyeff vodka as well as rotating batches of Kentucky bourbons and ryes marketed under Bull Run's Temperance Trader label. Bernards says the distillery is also a great place to find gifts, offering a selection of flasks and apparel as well as a collection of antique barware (shakers, shot glasses, spoons, cocktail books, and die-cut, antique books in which to hide that flask).
Bull Run Distilling Co., 2259 NW Quimby St., 503.224.3483
The Float Shoppe
Northwest District, Slabtown
A year ago, Dylan Schmidt and Sandra Calm took their first floats at a local float center in SE Portland. Schmidt says floating, primarily comprised of just water, darkness and one's own thoughts, is "almost like a hidden technology" that replenishes the body and the mind. The two were so inspired by spending 90 minutes in the calm blackness of sensory-deprivation tanks that they decided to open up their own float center along NW 23rd Avenue's holistic corridor. Prospective floaters can schedule 60 to 90-minute floats in one of the shop's two tanks—they're also in the process of building an uncovered float pool for claustrophobics—and relax after with tea and fruit while they "melt into the sofas" with renewed senses. They're currently open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
The Float Shoppe, 1515 NW 23rd Ave., 503.719.4743
Northwest District, Slabtown
After spending time in the kitchens of Portland and his native New York, Chef Anthony Demes, who years ago made a splash [years ago] with Goose Hollow's now-defunct Couvron, returns to the City of Roses with Noisette, his newest venture in Northwest Portland. Noisette, French for hazelnut, provides its guest options,—lots of options. In addition to offering small plates, both hot (duck liver) and cold (smoked trout mousse), Demes' restaurant also features a multi-course tasting menu that changes when[as] the seasons do. And if the menu didn't already suggest fine dining, the white tablecloths and the chandeliers certainly will.
Noisette, 1937 NW 23rd Pl., 503.719.4599
Serious Business Pastries
Northwest District, Slabtown
Everything at Serious Business Parties is made, daily, from scratch, and the snickerdoodles, soft pretzels, seasonal pies, and, those indisputable pastry staples, chocolate chip cookies, are baked using natural and, when possible, organic, locally sourced ingredients. Owner and baker Lindsay Yousey, also eases up a little on all things sweet by offering up a savory, New Orleans-inspired muffuletta, which is a large, sourdough muffin baked with olive salad, smoked provolone and a trio of spicy, cured Italian meats. Yousey says her bakery's is open Thursday through Sunday and that pastry orders can, for now, be made either online or by phone. But she soon hopes that soon orders can also be made by foot, too, once she settles in and builds out a retail counter. Orders can be picked up, she adds, but, they'll also delivers them, too, so long as you order $25 or more worth of goodies.
Serious Business Pastries, 1902 NW 24th Ave., Ste. B, 503.208.5794
Morgan Oxley, Hypnotist
Anchorage, Ala.-native Morgan Oxley reached an existential impasse in his life several years ago. He'd done many adventurous things—he'd been a bike messenger, a volcano guide, and had traveled all over the world—but in the middle of the last decade, he found himself the owner of a bar in Guatemala, where he felt he was providing people a disservice by "feeding them bad food and getting them drunk." Around that time he remembered the enthusiasm he had felt in 2000 when he first encountered hypnotism. Skip ahead a half-dozen years and Oxley, now a certified hypnotherapist, has settled in Portland and is eager to help us advance our lists of "dos" (learning new languages or bettering our musical and athletic skills) while beating back our list of "don'ts" (smoking, eating poorly, spending too much time with our gadgets). Plus, he just joined the Supportland network, which means he'll offer you a free session with every 300 points you earn. Sessions are by appointment, so call ahead if you have a habit you're hoping to kick.
Morgan Oxley, Hypnotist, 732 SW 3rd Ave., Ste. 609, 503.919.1418
Fire on the Mountain
Rose City Park, Beaumont
For several years, Fire On The Mountain has been filling up Portlanders with three things they love: pizza, beer by the pitcher and wings. And now they're expanding, opening a third location where eaters can continue to enjoy the good things they've come to expect. But the new location features some things the others don't: a full bar, a small brewing operation, and brewmaster Ben Nehrling, formerly of the McMenamins’ brewing family, who just completed his first batches of FOTM pale ale, stout and IPA. Of course, the beer will not be limited to only the northeast store, but will be distributed and tapped at its sister stores, too.
Fire on the Mountain, 3443 NE 57th Ave., 503.894.8973
Frocky Jack Morgan
Kerns, Burnside East
During summers spent with her family in Union County, North Carolina, Portlander Julia Barbee was often regaled with tales of a local eccentric named Frocky Jack Morgan, who was characterized by his suspicion of others, but who was nonetheless considered peaceful and kind. He also chose to wear dresses by, pointing out that Jesus wore one, too, and he carried with him at all times a loaded pistol. The man, Barbee says, mystified and enchanted Union County residents, and his story struck a chord with her, too. After years spent designing women's clothes and selling them in shops around town, Barbee has opened her own studio-showroom, christening it after the man who who captured her childhood imagination. Frocky Jack Morgan's sometimes simple, often imaginative, pieces are made with nearly 100 percent recycled materials. With creations inspired by architecture, nature and literature, the former sculptor says "I try to keep the palate simple, so that I don't have to be driven too much by trend." She points out that this is perhaps understandable coming from a studio art graduate who used to compose performance pieces comprised of text, live moths, pheromones and perfume. And speaking of perfume, she designs and sells that, too.
Frocky Jack Morgan, 811 E Burnside, Ste. 122, 503.567.2143
Boise, Historic Mississippi
After a brief setback (a small fire, in fact, which caused minor damage to its second floor dining room), chef John Gorham's (Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons) and Dan Hart's (Prost) Interurban is officially open for business. With a dozen draught beers on tap (13, if you consider a rotating cask brew) and a menu offering well-made comfort food (fish 'n' chips, shepherd's pie, gastropub burgers), this place caters to Portland's foodie crowd looking to nosh on good eats in a relaxed saloon environment.
Interurban, 4057 N Mississippi Ave., 503.284.6669
Las Primas Peruvian Kitchen
In 2004, Catalina Acuña left her native city of Lima to settle in Portland where she teamed up with her cousin, Sadie Morrison. The pair spent the next several years working together at the same New Seasons Market, but in the last week of December, they opened the doors to their first-ever enterprise, a kitchen specializing in Peruvian street food. Morrison says the menu features plenty of salads and sandwiches, most of which are heavy on the meat (although there are vegetarian and vegan options), as well as other snacks like wontons, chicken wings and baked empanadas. They also serve churros (topped with a homemade goat's milk caramel), gelato, fresh juices (including one made from purple corn), rotating draught beers, and traditional cocktails like the Pisco Sour. And if the food and drink aren't fun enough, they also have games to play like foosball and Sapo, a game in which you try to score points by tossing coins into the mouth of a small toad statue.
Las Primas Peruvian Kitchen, 3971 N Williams Ave., 503.206.5790
Vernon, Alberta Street
After nine years of operating an online storefront and taking their show on the road for trunk shows all over the country, Jill Golden and Samantha Becker, the women behind Tinctoria Designs, have opened their first showroom in Portland inside the Alberta Studios complex in the Alberta Arts District. At the new shop, Golden says shoppers can expect the same locally designed and locally manufactured fashion lines to which they've grown accustomed. The women's tops, pants, skirts and dresses are all made with sustainable materials, like hemp, and, once they've been manufactured, are hand-dyed (dyes include indigo and madder root) in their nearby studio.
Tinctoria, 1627 NE Alberta St., 503.810.9232
The Commons Brewery
Hosford-Abernethy, Central Eastside Industrial
About a year ago, Mike Wright, an IT project manager, started up a nanobrewery in his garage, selling what few barrels he produced to local restaurants and bars. Now, he's operating a small microbrewery in a little, slightly tricky-to-find spot in southeast that doubles, on weekends in the late afternoons and early evenings, as a taproom. (The Commons' entry is on SE Stephens between 10th and 11th Avenues.) Among the eight rotating draughts, designed by Wright and his fellow tasters, advocates and enthusiasts Sean Burke and Josh Grgas, available for sampling are The Commons' well-known Urban Farmhouse Ale and its Flemish Kiss—a pale ale that matures in wine barrels. Wright says that beer lovers can expect a microbrewed pilsner soon pouring from one of those taps, and he adds that he and his colleagues plan to continue the nanobrewing method as a laboratory for small, adventurous and experimental batches of beer.
The Commons Brewery, 1810 SE 10th Ave., 503.819.0758
The Crafty Underdog
For the last year, the folks behind Noelle Labrousse's LGA Creative, marketers and consultants for small business owners and advocates of "the little guys," have been holding monthly craft fairs known as The Crafty Underdog fairs every second Sunday at the Mission Theater. The one-days shows featured the works of craft brewers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, potters, and the makers of jewelry, hats and children's clothing. But, as LGA's Stacy Vickery puts it, why celebrate the works of local artists and artisans just once a month when we can celebrate them every day. That's why they're announcing that the The Crafty Underdog now has a daily abode in LGA's home office. Vickery says TCU is currently presenting, and selling, the works of about 15 local artists, all which can been seen, and purchased, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.
The Crafty Underdog, 6004 SE Foster Rd., 503.384.2693
Mi Mero Mole
After months in the making, many of which were spent researching the urban cuisine of Mexico City, Nick Zukin, local food blogger and the Zuke in Kenny & Zuke's, has finally opened Mi Mero Mole (My Favorite Mole), his valentine to traditional Mexican cuisine, in the space once occupied by the recently relocated Blue Pig Café. The lunch-and-dinner restaurant's menu features familiar staples, like tacos, burritos and quesadillas, but a majority of it is comprised of a wide variety of guisados (Mexican stews). In addition to offering several Mexican and local beers, Mi Mero Mole also features some signatures cocktails made with rum, tequila and mezcal.
Mi Mero Mole, 5026 SE Division St., 503.555.TACO
Peghead Guitar Repair
Buckman, Central Eastside Industrial
If it has strings, I.J. Booth can most likely repair it. A graduate of the Roberto-Venn School, the luthier says he began playing all things stringed as a child. Focusing primarily on fixing guitars, Booth can even build you a custom guitar, plus he says he can repair other stringed instruments, like your zither. Peghead also sells locally made pedals, amps and cabinets, and features a small roster of guitars for sale, including inexpensive wooden starters and full-priced electric guitars, some of which Booth says are unique and hard-to-find. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1-9 p.m. To find Peghead, located in the cellar of the East End music club, use the entrance on Ash Street, prior to 4 p.m., or enter directly through the bar once it opens.
Peghead Guitar Repair, 203 SE Grand St., 503.729.5938
Buckman, Central Eastside Industrial
For a few years, Brook "a.k.a Arise" Stein and his friends were vendors, selling clothes of their own design at street fairs, but now Stein has opened up shop at Salmon Street Studios in the inner Southeast. STEELO (Latino slang for style) features hip-hop and graffiti-inspired locally designed dresses, hats, jewelry, scarves and bandanas, as well as limited-run silkscreen tee-shirts. In addition, Shoppers can also choose from plenty of custom-printed artwork and listen in on what's happening in Portland's underground music scene. They're open Tuesdays through Thursdays, but Stein says they'll be open each and every First Friday for Salmon Street Studios' monthly hip-hop community event.
STEELO, 109 SE Salmon St., Ste. D, 541.221.8769
Adjacent to the recently opened Woodsman Tavern, the Woodsman Market is your go-to when you're in the mood for an artisan treat. Among the treasures lining the shelves are handpicked cheeses, fine wines, sophisticated olive oils, fresh-cut flowers, and charcuterie cuts curated by a team of local experts like Steve Jones from Cheese Bar, Megan Arambul from Fieldwork Floral, bakers at Little T, and butchers at Chop and Fino in Fondo. And they're open daily, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday.
Woodsman Market, 4537 SE Division St., 971.373.8267
Correction 1/4/2012: The article initially stated that the four new businesses in Northwest District are located in the Nob Hill business district. They are located in Slabtown.
Thanks to Mike Ryerson at NW Examiner for providing us with the correct boundary information:
Nob Hill: West Burnside to NW Lovejoy, NW 16th to NW 25th
Slabtown: NW Lovejoy to NW Vaughn, NW 16th to the base of the West Hills