While new restaurants and bars ruled the business landscape of early and midwinter, late winter in Portland belonged to consignors, refurbishers and providers of vintage threads. While February brought new businesses specializing in baked sweets, cotton candy, authentic Iraqi cuisine, and chicken and waffles (plus fitness classes to work it all off), it also brought retailers of jewelry made from found fossils, resellers of gently used designer men's clothes, and a renter of a fleet of vintage bicycles that you can take for a spin while yours is in the shop.
Northwest District, Slabtown
Besides spending four years at school in Southern California, Christine Wilborn has called Portland home since the day she was born. After earning a psychology degree from Whittier College, she worked in the corporate furniture industry, and, despite being a lifelong athlete, was working herself into the ground. "I didn't really think you could make a living doing something you love," she says, but after she was certified as a fitness trainer and coach, her mind changed. Her new fitness studio offers personalized programs designed to strengthen your body through movements that come to it naturally. Whether you need to rehabilitate muscles and joints or you're looking to drop some extra weight, Wilborn will work with you during individual or small group sessions. She also has a life coach on staff who she says will guide you from where you currently are to where you ultimately want to be. In September, her studio will also be home to a "jean challenge," a training regimen open to members and the public, which, she says, will empower its participants to lose two to four pant sizes in just eight weeks. Hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
Aleda Fitness, 2321 NW Thurman St., 503.906.4144
Women, in general, and Portland women, in particular, may consider themselves lucky because it often seems new retailers of women's fashion are opening shops in this city. Fashionable gents looking for classy threads have been far less lucky, until now. Occupying the space recently vacated by Recycled Chic Boutique (which moved a block south), Todd Everett Kinner's Haberdashery is a men's consignment boutique that carries all kinds of like-new men's trousers, shoes, boots, ties, vests, sport coats, sweaters, scarves, shirts, and, soon, suits. The former musician, DJ and occasional photographer and video editor, who got into the businesses by selling clothes on eBay, says he's always looking for fellow consignors who want to showcase and sell their goods in his space. Hours are Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
The Haberdashery, 744 NW 12th Ave., 503.764.9243
The Specialty Store
Northwest District, Nob Hill
Reynolds Optical's Gary Piehl, the fashion-forward owner of the city's 100-year-old eyewear designer and retailer, has teamed up with the young men behind Sticks & Stones Accessories, fabricators of artisan jewelry crafted from exotic woods, fossils and fine metals, going so far as to rebrand and share his NW Portland eyewear shop. Now called The Specialty Store, shoppers can find clothes and accessories among the spectacles, as well as jewelry designs by Sticks & Stones principals Benjamin Posin, Marc Ishida and Stephan Payne. The trio and their production designers also plan to let shoppers inspect objects from their materials library in order to special request custom-made jewelry and accessories. While Reynolds Optical will maintain its regular store hours, The Specialty Store will be open for business from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.
The Specialty Store, 524 NW 23rd Ave.
If you make lemonade when life give you lemons, what are you supposed to do when you can't find any lemons? You just look harder, says Tom Erickson. There was once a surplus of vintage, quality men's threads all over the Northwest, but as options dwindled, Erickson says that it became common for a man to "[spend] a week driving all over the region just trying to find a shirt that fits." Spotting an unfilled niche, he decided to bring those shirts to the gents, and, while he was at it, some ladies too, and in late 2009, he opened Animal Traffic on Mississippi Avenue. Now, he's opened a second shop downtown in a space made from reclaimed wood, which features the same sartorial staples that made his first shop a success. Mingled in with the quality vintage Levi's, Pendleton shirts and 1950s dresses are new purses, blankets, wallets and footwear. Erickson is also quick to point out that his shops are the only two in Portland where you can find White's Boots and Duluth Packs. Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m., every day.
Animal Traffic, 429 SW 10th Ave., 503.241.5427
Blue Collar Baking Company
Until four years ago, Warren Becker was busy saving the world, spending much of his adult life working for various nonprofits. When he'd saved as much of it as he could, he decided to follow a dream that had gradually gathered steam over the last 20 years. That dream: to bake cookies, for you. So, he got certified by the state, opened a commercial kitchen in his home, and baked sweets that he'd then deliver to your house. That dream is still alive but it’s got a new home downtown, where office workers and passersby can stop in for cookies, cakes, scones, and granola. Names like the Mocha Mud Flap (a chocolate-coffee-walnut cookie) and the Gearbox (a chocolate chip-banana Bundt cake) reflect the Wisconsin native's blue-collar upbringing and Midwestern work ethic. Your orders can be carried out or delivered (if you live or work downtown), but you might want to grab a seat, relax and order a shot of espresso or a glass of milk to dip your cookies in. Hours are 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday.
Blue Collar Baking Company, 319 SW Pine St., 503.227.3249
King, Alberta Street
At the end of 2011, confectioner Amani Greer started spinning sugar into cotton candy at schools across the city, as well as on the streets of Alberta during Last Thursdays. Then, in February, she opened the doors to Candy Babel, a candy store dedicated to sweets from around the globe. Her goal, she says, is to provide those obscure treats that so many travelers have enjoyed on their sojourns abroad but couldn't, until now, find stateside. Specializing in artisanal sweets (think chipotle-candied bacon strips or a Moroccan mint tea lollipop) and European confections, Greer plans to expand her candy scope and bring the city's Vietnamese and Somali communities the candies they once enjoyed as children before resettling here. Greer also says she still plans on spinning clouds of Candy Babel's more than 135 flavors of organic, kosher cotton candy. Current hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily, except on Tuesday when the store is dark.
Candy Babel, 1237 NE Alberta St., 503.867.0591
Concordia, Alberta Street
Meeting in Amsterdam in a youth hostel, he (Ghaith) had been gravely wounded in a bombing and thus had left his home in Baghdad, traveling from country to country seeking asylum. She (Tiffany) was working for a nonprofit aiming to empower women to leave the world of prostitution. When they met, he spoke little English and she knew not a word of Arabic. Skip ahead a few years, and he and she moved to Portland, got hitched (now the Sahibs), and, in mid-2010, opened up Aladdin's Castle Cafe, the city's only Iraqi food cart beloved for its gluten-free and vegan options. Now, just over a year later, the Sahibs have opened a second food cart, only this time, it comes with an old carriage house, which serves as a 45-seat dining room. While much of DarSalam's menu matches Aladdin's, the Sahibs' new spot has a barbecue (for grilled chicken kabobs), a bar (to serve beer and wine), and space to host, on occasional Saturday nights, musicians. Tiffany says that, in the summer months, she and Ghaith also plan on offering hookah services for guests. Hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday to Thursday, except Monday when the kitchen's closed.
DarSalam, 2921 NE Alberta St., 503.206.6148
Mack & Dub's Excellent Chicken & Waffles/Mack & Dub's Breakfast Club
William Travis, III (the “Dub” of Mac & Dub's) describes himself and his business partner, James "Mack" McClendon, as just a couple of guys from Portland. Pioneers in the city's hip-hop community (Travis has produced records for years and McClendon was a member of Portland's U-Krew), the two longtime friends formed a catering company a couple of years back before deciding their food needed a space of its own in the neighborhood where they grew up. Actually, they decided it needed two spaces, which they opened on the same day. The first one specializes in, as its name implies, waffles and fried chicken (prepared according to the principles of halal) and seats 60 (plus more, once their patio opens), features a stage for performers, and stays open late on weekends (till 4 a.m.). The breakfast club seats 27 and serves up the day's most important meal with a Southern twist: They serve grits, plus Angus burgers and hand-cut French fries. And for those in need of a bacon reprieve, neither spot uses pork. Hours for Mack & Dub's Excellent Chicken & Waffles are 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 11 a.m.-4 a.m., Friday and Saturday (although Travis says to expect Sunday soul food brunches soon). Mack & Dub's Breakfast Club is open from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
Mack & Dub's Excellent Chicken & Waffles, 3601 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., 714.603.5644; Mack & Dub's Breakfast Club, 4400 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., 714.603.5644
After earning her degree in literature from the University of Oregon, Chicago native Johanna Ware packed her bags and moved to New York City to work in the kitchens of the Big Apple. But she always planned to return to Oregon, and to Portland in particular, to open her own spot. After spending over a year as a sous chef at Nostrana, Ware has made good with a 1,500-square-foot, 40-seat restaurant specializing in small, meant-to-be-shared plates of what of she unapologetically calls "inauthentic Asian cuisine." Think Americanized versions of pan-Asian noodle bowls, sandwiches, chicken lollipops, and kimchi, plus specialty cocktails like a rum punch made with pineapple juice, Thai chiles and grated nutmeg, or a handy drink list comprised of wines, beers and sakes clustered not by their region or classification, but by their innate characteristics, like floral, fizzy and funky. Ware says plans are also in place to open Barwares, an adjacent cocktail lounge featuring playful and more adventurous plates that will keep proper bar hours (5 p.m.-2 a.m.). For now, you can share plates at Smallwares from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday to Saturday, and from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sunday.
Smallwares, 4605 NE Fremont St., 971.229.0995
Sellwood-Moreland, Sellwood Westmoreland
Killer Burger, home to the Peanut-Butter-Pickle-Bacon Burger, seems ascendant. Its owners, friends Mark McCrary and TJ Southard, opened their first location in the Hollywood neighborhood in late 2010. A year later, they opened a second in Washington, and now they've just opened their third in Sellwood. Roomier that their first location (this one seats 55), the latest outpost features the same menu of familiar burgers and fries. Besides the veggie patty, each burger comes with bacon, unless, of course, you request they hold it. (And they'll still offer to garnish your veggie burger with bacon, because you never know.) Like the others, this Killer Burger features the Marine, a burger so spicy they're betting you can't finish it in under 20 minutes. Infused with ghost chiles and garnished with habaneros (for show and to add some color), the Marine challenge has so far been attempted by nearly 500, only eight of whom have conquered it. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 11a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
Killer Burger, 8728 SE 17th Ave., 503.841.5906
Little Big Burger
The day before officially opening their doors to the public on March 5, the folks at Little Big Burger treated their new Richmond neighbors not only to a sneak peek of their newest digs, but they fed them too, giving away about 400 hamburgers. The new spot, the fourth since late 2010 and the third in Portland, seats about 30 and sticks to the same simple menu of quarter-pound sliders topped with lettuce, onions and ketchup, plus French fries spritzed with white truffle oil. Jacob Wells, who manages the Richmond spot, says lovers of Little Big Burger should expect more in the near future, adding that plans are in place to open a fourth Portland location downtown as early as this summer. He also says diners should soon be able to take home squeeze bottles of co-owner Micah Camden's specialty ketchup. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m., daily.
Little Big Burger, 3810 SE Division St., 503.841.6456
Montavilla, Montavilla-East Tabor
A love of old things, Jacklyn Arvin says, is probably wound up in her family's DNA. The Indiana native's grandparents operated a general store and her father ran an antique shop. Arvin says she put herself through school, earning a literature degree from the University of Oregon, by dealing antiques. Until recently, Arvin owned and ran Mamas N' Papas, a consignment shop for women and their children in Buckman. Now, she's opened Maven, a vintage shop in southeast that she hopes will feel like a stroll through "an old flea market where you spend hours digging through records and books and maybe find a vintage dress along the way." With a collection of eclectic men's and women's fashions dating back to the 1940s, the new shop also features jewelry, vintage furniture, books, and vinyl LPs from the 1970s. When she's not at the shop, Arvin is traveling the state in search of inventory and trying to recruit visual artists interested in exhibiting their work on her store's walls. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday, and noon-5 p.m on Sundays.
Maven, 7819 SE Stark St., 503.808.9442
Portland Urban Cottage
Sellwood-Moreland, Sellwood Westmoreland
Judi Yamada is an aromatherapist, a master gardener and a teacher of seasonal cooking classes. Now, she's also the operator of the environmentally friendly bed and breakfast adjacent to her home. Amenities include bamboo floors, maple cabinetry, sustainable finishes, a skylight, and, if you're interested in taking a spin, a pair of bicycles to use whenever you wish. Yamada says the 525-square foot space sleeps four adults (no kids), and is the perfect alternative for visitors who need a place of their own for more than a few days, such as out-of-towners visiting nearby relatives. Rentals, she says, can last anywhere from two days up to a month, and she'll make, bake and bring you healthy, locally sourced breakfasts every morning for up to two weeks.
Portland Urban Cottage, 5716 SE 21st Ave., 503.901.6545
Jehnee Rains, the taste buds, hands and brains behind the Suzette crêperie, is leaving behind the world of food carts and settling into a 45-seat brick-and-mortar space in southeast, where crêpe lovers can stretch their legs and choose from a variety of crêpes made from batters both sweet and savory. Rains has also, against the odds, mastered a gluten-free, vegan batter (after all, crêpes are little more than eggs, butter and flour, she laughs). Suzette also offers one seasonal sorbet and no fewer than a trio of handmade ice creams made with seasonal ingredients designed to complement Suzette's rotating seasonal desserts. In addition, Suzette serves wine, draft beer, coffee, cocoa, tea, and even has a signature cocktail list designed by Kask's Tommy Klus. Suzette also offers happy hour specials, Wednesday to Saturday, and hosts brunches on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight on Fridays, 8 a.m.-midnight on Saturdays, and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sundays.
Suzette, 3342 SE Belmont St., 503.546.0892
Buckman, Central Eastside Industrial
Ryan Pawley and Bob Jones, who've spent a combined 30 years slinging drinks at many a Portland bar, just opened what they're calling a high-end dive bar in SE Portland. The idea, Pawley says, was to create an "grown-up" environment that promotes conversation between his guests by eliminating unnecessary distractions. To wit: There will be no video poker and only one television that will be turned on only when the Blazers, Timbers, Ducks or Beavers are playing. Their menu, at only five items, may be small, but that's because he and Jones are promoting the food from the pods that make up the Cartopia corral down the block. Order out and bring it all back to the High Dive where you can eat, drink, be merry and, occasionally, watch a game. Hours are 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m., seven days a week.
The High Dive, 1406 SE 12th Ave., 503.384.2285
Everybody's Bike Rentals
Shortly after moving to Portland, Chicagoan Dan Sloan discovered that he might have a knack when it came to bikes, specifically rebuilding them. He let the folks at the Community Cycling Center mentor him as he asked a lot of questions, and before he knew it, he was rebuilding bicycles at home. When he noticed the dearth of bike renters in northeast, he decided to take his collection of 20-plus vintage, 1980s American and Japanese bikes that he'd amassed and turn it into a fleet of rentals. If your bike is in the shop or you just need a bike for a visiting friend, you can, as long as you're 21 years old, have a credit card (for deposits), and $25-30, rent one of Sloan's bikes for the day, each of which comes with lights, a lock and a helmet. Arrangements can be made by calling Sloan and reserving a rental between 10 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week.
Everybody's Bike Rentals, 503.893.4519
Dog House Saloon
Mill Park, Gateway
Urban Restaurants, the group behind NW Portland's Brix Tavern, Bartini and Urban Fondue, have brought a modern sport bar to the residents of SE Portland who can now play arcade games, challenge one another to shuffleboard or pool, or watch the latest big games on one of nearly a dozen televisions. Mike Pifher, the saloon's general manager, says the menu, dreamt up by the group's executive chef, Kevin Kennedy, features a modern twist on Southern comfort food, with breakfast options on Saturdays and Sundays. The saloon also offers plenty of drink specials too, from summery cocktails served in Mason jars to domestic and craft beers served from the tap or in a can. As for the name? Pifher says that one of his colleagues recently suggested that they were all going to be in the dog house because they were out too late planning the venture rather than being at home with their wives. It stuck. Hours are 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-1 a.m., on Saturday and 9:30 a.m.-midnight on Sunday.
Dog House Saloon, 620 SE 122nd Ave., 503.719.4320
Have you checked out any of these new businesses? Dish, please!