Whether it's intended or not, Portland's newest indie business owners seem to be collectively trying to tell us something: Get fit, eat right and choose the right threads to show it all off. March brought with it the opening of a new yoga studio, a roller sport store, a bicycle repair and parts shop, and an athletic shoe store. Also opened were a new juice and smoothie bar, an urban farm and garden store, as well as a few shops specializing in locally designed clothes. Of course, once we've worked it off and kept it off, we can indulge at least a little, can't we? The answer, in the form of a bar that serves pork liver mousse and coffee shop that serves homemade custard-filled pastries, can only be yes.
NW District, Nob Hill
Along a small stretch of NW 23rd Avenue, among a cluster of up-to-the-minute fashion and consignment storefronts, stands a new, spacious boutique, naturally lit by several floor-to-ceiling windows, that caters to Portland's fashion-forward women. Owner Rami Bargoti, who first joined the business as a buyer for his uncle's Jordanian boutique at the age of 13, has traveled the world (Italy, Turkey, Dubai) in search of fashion, and plans on mingling internationally and locally designed products into an ever-expanding collection of women's shirts, skirts, dresses, shoes, purses, and pocketbooks.
Beyond 23rd, 725 NW 23rd Ave., 503.841.6682
Greenleaf Juicing Company
Matt Trenkle and Garret Flynn used to be financial consultants for a large firm in Chicago, but, after a while, their work no longer inspired them. ("We felt we weren't really helping people," Trenkle says.) So they left the industry, left the Midwest, and landed in Portland, where they opened a juice and smoothie shack at the corner of NW 23rd and Glisan in mid-2011. Less than a year later, they've got a brick-and-mortar in the Pearl, across the street from PNCA and 24 Hour Fitness, where the pair squeezes, chops and blends a variety of fruits and vegetables to produce 100 percent organic, vegan treats like the "Morning After"—a juice made from strawberries, kiwis, carrots, beets, kale, celery, and wheatgrass, which is exactly what one needs (besides lots of sleep and water) after a long night of too much fun.
Greenleaf Juicing Company, 810 NW 12th Ave.
Vernon, Alberta Street
After graduating from the U of O, Katie Freedle moved back to Portland and began designing and selling her line of RillRill jewelry online and, with the help of her friend and college classmate Elissa Hall, at pop-up boutiques around the city. A year later, the pair decided to collaborate and opened Backtalk, a new shop featuring RillRill designs and clothes from Hall's online men's and women's clothier, Bearded Lady Vintage, which specializes in boots, hats, scarves, and belts for both sexes, as well as women's dresses.
Backtalk, 1609 NE Alberta St., 503.913.0819
Vernon, Alberta Street
Troy MacLarty says he wanted to open a spot that serves Indian cuisine because, quite simply, that's what he wanted to eat. After a three-week tasting tour of the subcontinent took him through Mumbai, Calcutta and Goa, MacLarty returned to the States and, within just a few months, built out what's now the Bollywood Theater. Specializing in Indian-style street cuisine, Bollywood serves up pork vindaloo, sides of beets, okra and dal, as well as pav bhaji (potatoes, tomatoes, vegetables and spices), which the menu calls a favorite of Indian mill workers, all of which you can wash down with an Indian Kingfisher beer, a PBR, or one of three housemade specialty cocktails. And, as its name may imply, Bollywood also has an entire wall dedicated to images of India's most beloved actors, some of whom are also enshrined on-screen courtesy of an overhead projector. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday, with plans to stay open seven days a week.
Bollywood Theater, 2039 NE Alberta St.
Flywheel Skate & Style
Vernon, Alberta Street
Ryan Rogers, owner and creative director of Portland's newest roller sport store, says, “If it's on small wheels, we have it." In addition to stocking locally and independently designed apparel and accessories, Flywheel carries skateboards, longboards, roller skates, and foot scooters, as well as roller derby and roller hockey gear. They even carry experimental skateboards, including one with an extra gear fasted to its undercarriage that allows a downhill rider to pivot and change the board's direction from straight to sideways, or perpendicular to the hill; it’s said to be difficult to master and dangerous until you do. Ultimately, Rogers says he sees Flywheel as a gathering place for all kinds of roller sport enthusiasts, and says that Flywheel plans on organizing skating tours of the city for both die-hard skaters and out-of-town novices.
Flywheel Skate & Style, 2032 NE Alberta St., 971.229.1542
When Eric Moore heard that the the owner of the old Free House was looking to sell his space, he was interested. He'd always liked the bar and its location. So, he partnered with Olympic Provisions' Martin Schwartz, purchased the space, installed a kitchen, covered and cleaned up an underutilized patio, and redesigned the interior to give it the feel of a European cafe (that screens Blazers games). The food menu relies heavily on Olympic Provisions specialties (charcuterie, frankfurters and pork liver mousse), while the full bar features six draught beers and a list of cordial-inspired cocktails.
Free House, 1325 NE Fremont St., 503.946.8161
Concordia, Fox Chase
Kate Fulford has always loved the idea of opening her mailbox and finding in it, among the bills, a well-designed invitation or a hand-written note expressing thanks. In a time of texts, tweets and Facebook updates, even an "old-fashioned" email can seem obsolete. That's why Fulford opened Troolie, which specializes in the art of crafting well-designed sentiments for recent graduates, brides-to-be and expectant mothers. Her inventory, she says, includes of cards and stationery designed by independent graphic artists, as well as a few local designers (whom she wants to champion). In addition, Troolie also sells party accoutrements and will consult with party-throwers to provide them with the custom invitations and thank-you cards that best suit their needs. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.
Troolie, 5501 NE 30th Ave., 503.335.3030
For several years, Sky Boyer owned and operated Velo Cult, a bicycle repair shop and cultural gathering space in San Diego, which he thought of as a Portland bike shop in the wrong city. When he decided to move to Portland, Boyer was able to really put the "cult" in Velo Cult—all four of his employees, and their girlfriends, quit their jobs to jump at the chance to live this bicycle-friendly city. The new shop boasts 10,000 square feet, including a finished basement and a 5,000-square-foot showroom where cyclists can belly up to mechanic's bar, order a coffee or a locally crafted draft beer, and shoot the breeze with the fellow repairing their bike. "Most bike shops hide the mechanics in the back," Boyer says, explaining why he put them front and center. Boyer says he's built out the new space in order to hold musical events, screen cult classics, and, coming soon, host a kitchen where his pal, Anthony Bareno, will dream up a menu of authentic Mexican cuisine.
Velo Cult, 1969 NE 42nd Ave., 503.922.2012
For more than a decade, Oregon's three "running and walking stores" have focused on fitting you with the right shoe for the right purpose. Now they've opened a fourth shop in southeast where you can choose the running, walking hiking shoe that's right for you, as well as apparel and accessories to aid you on your journeys. Like the other locations, Sellwood store manager Kelli Taylor says the southeast store offers students discounts and promotes Foot Traffic University, a series of track, cross-country, 10K and half-marathon training classes for the city's youth and adults.
Foot Traffic, 7718 SE 13th Ave., 971.271.7264
Six years ago, Rhonda Spencer left San Francisco to pursue a career in massage therapy. She's since graduated from NE Portland’s East-West College of the Healing Arts and has now opened her own practice, where she specializes in Swedish and deep tissue massage and offers treatments like hot stone massages, as well as myofascial treatments that help alleviate chronic pain. First-time clients, she notes, receive $15 off their initial treatment. Catalyst is open every day except Monday.
Catalyst Massage, 5819 N Greeley St., Ste. B, 971.258.2241
Spokanite Nik Hahn says her home farming and gardening center, located in a former North Portland mechanic shop, aims to carry locally sourced and sustainably grown goods. Green thumbs can get their hands on all kinds of local and seasonal shoots, starts and shrubs that will flower and bear fruits, vegetables and medicinal herbs. You can even invest in future breakfasts by taking home chicks, which will eventually lay your family's eggs. There's also a coffee cart on-site featuring espresso drinks, pastries and herbal teas blended by Hahn herself.
City Farm, 7636 N Lombard St., 503.285.0855
Give & Take Resale
Chelsea Swanda's new consignment store is 2,000 square feet of pretty much everything you need to decorate your home and yourself. The store carries furniture, rugs, art, kitchenware, home and garden gear, and plenty of clothes and jewelry for men, women and children. It's an ideal shop, she says, for transplants settling in Portland who are furnishing their first apartments. She also points out that her shop is also a great way for people who are moving to a new apartment or city to get rid of the things they no longer need. Swanda says such folks can either choose to sell their things on consignment or trade it all in for store credit. And to make it easier, there's a loading zone behind the shop to unload those heavy or decorative objects.
Give & Take Resale, 8128 N Denver Ave., 503.954.2221
Heart Fire Yoga
A couple of native Midwesterners recently purchased and re-opened the studio space once home to North Portland's People's Yoga. While owners Tony Howard and Michael Faith have taken on nearly a dozen instructors who each have their own unique approaches to practicing yoga, he says that Heart Fire's main focus is on vinyasa krama, a style designed to help people practice poses best suited to their bodies and levels of experience. Howard also says that Heart Fire focuses on centering the energy of the heart, and adds that they'll soon be offering classes in non-violent conflict resolution, detailed in Faith's book, Heart Fire: Practices to Awaken, Expand and Engage Your Heart, which was published in February. Financial assistance is available to those who may not, at present, have the funds to enroll in classes. Classes can start as early as 6:45 a.m. and often run throughout the day, going as late as 8:30 p.m.
Heart Fire Yoga, 7334 N Chicago Ave., 503.201.1614
Do you miss Po'cart, the Po'shines food cart, on Lombard? Well, it didn't really shutter, it's just changed its identity and moved indoors—now located inside the nearby Heaven's Archives antique shop. Poshette’s, which charcuterie chef Antjuan Tolbert affectionately calls "Po'shines' lost sister," is a morning-afternoon tea and coffee spot that offers up bagels, soup, grilled tempeh sandwiches, vegan wraps, a blackened catfish wrap, pochettes (or "little pocket" pastries filled with custard or berries), and other goodies you normally won't find at Po'shines. In the days ahead, Tolbert says diners can also expect to nosh on other treats like beignets and hush puppies.
Poshette's, 7810 N Lombard St., 971.266.0032