April may be the cruelest month for grouchy poets, but it shone an awful lot of sunlight on Portland upstarts last month. These scrappy entrepreneurs opened spots in five of the city's "quadrants," including, but not limited to, several retail outlets specializing in gifts, home design, new and used fashions, and one-of-a-kind rediscovered treasures, as well as a nursery, a pizzeria, three cafes, two bars, a barber shop that serves beer, and an acupuncture practice that encourages you to pay what you can for rendered services.
Atelier Exclusively Yours
Kathryn Hensley Matsuura began studying fashion design in earnest during her time as a manager for a corporate hotel chain. But it would be a while before she opened her own studio—she took a decades-long detour to work for the PGA as a golf pro. But now, she's finally settled into her own studio in Northwest Portland, where she sells customized handbags, scarves and accessories, as well as simple, yet elegant, one-size-fits-all clothes for women. When she's not in her studio working into the late evening hours, Matsuura is traveling to Kyoto, Japan, where she hunts for the fabrics that inspire her creations.
Atelier Exclusively Yours, 711 NW 11th Ave., 503.222.0050
Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub
Northwest District, Nob Hill
Plenty are the differences between the McAleese family's downtown's spot and its new brew pub. There's still lots of whiskey options, Irish-inspired dishes (Galway oysters and shepherd's pie), and lots of outdoor patio seating, but, as its name implies, Kells is brewing its own beer (expect lagers, ales and a seasonal stout recipe dreamt up with the help of “Timber Joey” Webber). Garrett McAleese, who helps his family run the pub, says the goal is let the area's residents and business owners gather and mingle. But if they want to be discreet, Kells also has a trio of mini-rooms called "snugs," complete with a table, banquette for 10, throw pillows, and handcrafted stained glass doors that you can close for maximum privacy.
Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub, 210 NW 21st Ave., 503.719.7175
Salt & Straw
Well, that didn't take long. Within a year of opening an ice cream cart in northeast Portland, this purveyor of inventive and adventurous ice cream flavors has opened its second brick-and-mortar shop—just in time for summer. Ice cream maker Tyler Malek says to expect the same quality ice cream you can find at the NE Alberta Street scoop shop, including local collaborations like honey lavender (made with Bee Local Honey) and the malty Sweet Heat (made with a Scotch-Bonnet-infused apricot wheat ale, courtesy of Burnside Brewing Co.). But he's quick to point out that the new scoop shop has hired on some of the industry's best baristas and bakers for those who might want to skip the frozen treats and opt instead for a cappuccino, a fresh-baked cookie, or a slice of Bundt cake. Malek also says that your feedback is important. That's why he encourages everyone standing in line to sample as many ice cream flavors as they can, so you can tell them what you love and what you'd love to see more of.
Salt & Straw, 838 NW 23rd Ave., 971.271.8168
Anna Bannanas Cafe
Concordia, Alberta Street
If you can't eat wheat, Sarah Anderson feels your pain, because neither can she. That's why the Anna Bannanas owner and cook has chosen to serve so many gluten-free items on her menu, including waffles, bagels, bread, and even beer. Starting out as a food cart 17 years ago, Anna Bannanas just opened its third brick-and-mortar, offering up lox, soups, salads, cold sandwiches, seven tap beers (all from the Pacific Northwest), and two Oregon Pinots (noir and gris). And because she and her husband (and business partner), Bryant, remember what it was like to struggle as undergrads, their food and drinks, she says, are affordably priced.
Anna Bannanas Cafe, 2403 NE Alberta St., 503.467.4656
Beam & Anchor
Eliot, Interstate Corridor
After years spent working jobs to which they weren't emotionally wedded, Robert and Jocelyn Rahm decided it was time to put their creative talents to better use and give other artists and craftspeople a venue to express themselves. Their new shop is a design collective with workshops upstairs and a 2,000-square-foot, ground-level showroom featuring the new, reclaimed and recycled creations of the collective's cabinetmakers, upholsterers, soap makers, leather workers, painters, and ceramists, as well as the works of more than 700 different local artists and crafty do-it-yourselfers.
Beam & Anchor, 2710 N Interstate Ave., 503.367.3230
Little kids grow quickly. So what do you do when your daughter outgrows the clothes you bought her just months ago? You visit Beanstalk, where you can choose to either consign or trade them in for new clothes that will fit your no-longer-little sprout. Devised for parents with children up to the age of six, Beanstalk offers mobiles, swinging chairs, wooden blocks, strollers, and locally made knit hats and silkscreened onesies. Owner Carmen Ripley Wilson says her shop even has a play area so your daughter (or son) can play while you shop, trade in old clothes, or discuss putting that stroller that you no longer need on consignment.
Beanstalk, 3527 NE 15th Ave., 503.477.7776
Vernon, Alberta Street
Opened by longtime friends Darcy Perry and Melissa Steenson, Bin 21 features a modern design—think roll-up garage doors that open up the space when it's warm—but a menu that has the feel of a European-style cafe, with an emphasis on savory Mediterranean flavors (salads, panini, and cheese and charcuterie plates). Plus, in addition to offering a few Oregon draught microbrews, they offer something a lot of places don't: three wines on tap. Perry adds, if you bring in your own bottles or growlers, they'll happily fill them up for you. Coming soon, she says you can expect a small specialty shop featuring olive oils, wine by the bottle, and locally roasted coffee, as well as classes on how to pair your favorite wines with chocolates and cheeses.
Bin 21, 5011 NE 21st Ave., 503.869.6246
Boise, Historic Mississippi
Holly Johnson, the operations manager for the local barber chain, says the idea behind Bishops, founded in 2001, was to "provide a cool place to hang out and meet your neighbors" while waiting for a trim. That's why they don't schedule appointments—it's a walk-in-only place. The new shop, Bishops' twelfth, offers the usual menu of barber and salon services, including cuts, colorings, weaves, and beard trims. And, in keeping it casual yet hip, they'll offer you a bottle of beer, in this case, “The Champagne of Beers,” Miller High Life, which you can sip while you wait for your turn.
Bishops Barbershop, 3705 N Mississippi Ave., 503.548.6388
Hogan's Goat Pizza
Rose City Park
This family-owned pizzeria began operating out of the Pearl District in 2001 before shutting in 2003. Now, nearly a decade later, owners Rebecca Elizabeth and John Burrowes have resurrected Hogan's Goat in NE Portland where you can either choose from nine specialty 12- and 18-inch house pies or decide to build your own. Plus, for a dollar more, you can ask that your pie be made with a gluten-free crust (12-inch only). Hogan's Goat also offers a handful of salads, wine and bottles of 22-ounce craft beers. Presently a take-out-only spot, Elizabeth says pizza lovers can soon expect a complete dine-in experience with a full bar and al fresco seating.
Hogan's Goat Pizza, 5222 NE Sacramento St., 503.281.9008
Kacrna Khut, who goes by Ron, used to own the Good Call Sports Bar & Grill in Powellhurst-Gilbert until the bank that foreclosed on the building declined to renew the leases of the building's tenants. So, he packed up and opened what he thinks is the only Cambodian brick-and-mortar restaurant in the state. The spot does have TVs, but fewer of them, as Khut wants to focus instead on the menu, which lists items like Cambodian beef jerky, banana leaf-wrapped steamed catfish, and deep-fried frog legs. Diners should also soon expect a full bar, the contents of which should make it easier to participate in occasional late-night karaoke jams.
Mekong Bistro, 8200 NE Siskiyou St., Ste. 107, 503.265.8972
Since the age of nine, chef Greg Denton has been working in kitchens all over the South, Midwest and West Coast, and most recently at the Pearl's Metrovino. But Ox, which serves "Argentine-inspired Portland food," is his first business, co-founded with Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, his wife and co-chef, and ChefStable's Kurt Huffman. Denton says his the menu has few set items, because the Dentons want you to customize your own dinner. You don't just choose from a variety of wood-fired meats (halibut, ribeye, beef short ribs), you actually can choose how large you want your portion to be, as well as which sides you want to accompany it. Of course, Ox has a full bar, too, featuring five rotating local tap beer, six local tap wines and cocktails like the Devil in a Red Dress (tequila, mezcal, orange Combier triple sec, lime juice and fresh red pepper juice).
Ox, 2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503.284.3366
Seven Bridges Winery
Kevin Ross, a patent attorney, says it started as a hobby in his garage, where he and his wife, Jill, would make their own wine. But when their friend—and now their new business partner—Bob Switzer suggested turning the hobby into a business, they did. In 2008, the trio started crushing grapes and, two years later, produced their first commercial batch of Bordeaux-style reds. Seven Bridges is now one of eight urban wineries and produces about 1,000 cases of wine each year, with varieties you can sample at Davis Street Tavern, Bent Brick and Carafe. Or, if you're in the neighborhood, you can swing by the new tasting room and sample some straight from the source every Saturday afternoon.
Seven Bridges Winery, 2303 N Harding Ave., 503.203.2583
Birds & Bees Nursery
Caitlin Gall and Amanda Lepley Simard met in high school (at Lincoln) before working together for years at Finnegan's Toys & Gifts. But the pair decided to quit their day jobs and open a neighborhood nursery after Gall, who keeps chickens and ducks at her home in Creston-Kenilworth, realized her neighborhood lacked a nearby nursery. The two opened the doors of their new nursery in mid-April for neighbors in search of soil, compost, seeds, vegetable starts, and berry-yielding bushes and trees, as well as locally made cards and gifts. Their focus, Gall says, is on decorative, Northwest-native gardening plants, but they carry feeds and supplies for your claw- and web-footed pets too.
Birds & Bees Nursery, 3709 SE Gladstone St., 503.788.6088
Last year, Justin Machus closed down his Hawthorne store, Local35, to open a new venture closer to the river. But his old store got a new makeover, and is now known as Communion. Owned by two Local35 vets (Mary Luczycki, who used to manage the shop, and Marcy Landolso, who once assisted Machus on buying trips), Communion carries casual and affordable men's and women's fashion, including T-shirts, shorts, button-downs, dresses, and coats, as well as accessories like socks, belts and women's jewelry. Keep your eyes on the inventory too, because it will change with the weather—Communion is always planning for the next season's fashion a season or two in advance.
Communion, 3556 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503.208.3008
It's a Gift
Montavilla, Montavilla East Tabor
After working a dozen years for Providence Health and Services, where she managed a business office and a special projects team, Chelain Damron was ready for a change. Noticing the steady commercial growth in the Montavilla neighborhood, Damron decided to open up a shop specializing in the one thing the neighborhood didn't have: gifts. Damron's new 900-square-foot gift shop specializes in independently produced cards, stationery, home decorations, candles, soaps, handcrafted leather clutches, belts and wristbands, and it even consigns the works of a local craft jeweler.
It's a Gift, 7910 SE Stark St., 503.254.7616
Mt. Scott-Arleta, Foster
You know a neighborhood has arrived when someone opens a proper, sit-down coffee shop where neighbors can gather. Kelsey Denogeon worked for a dozen years in the coffee industry, but says she decided to open her shop, just four blocks from her home, because her neighborhood lacked one. Now, her neighbors can swing by for daily doses of espresso drinks, bagels, donuts, sweet and savory panini, and cheese and hummus platters before enjoying a game of pinball in the pinball room. Pinball’s not your thing? Then have a seat at the two-person Centipede arcade table and give that a go instead.
Pieper Cafe, 6504 SE Foster Rd., 971.271.7471
Richard Rolfe, who founded Boys' Fort with Jake Frances in late 2001, describes his business as "Manthropologie," or, an Anthropologie for men. It's also a lot like a retail art installation made from new, salvaged and vintage materials that are decorative, functional, or both, including candles, postcards, prints, bow ties, cigar-box guitars, custom-built furniture, handmade wallets and jewelry, and one-of-a-kind found objects, crafted by a collective of 60 to 70 artists and craftspeople. Perhaps most unique, though, is the collaborative and symbiotic business practice it shares with Salvage Works and Solabee Flowers and Botanicals. Because all three now share one space, they also share customers too, making for a much more dynamic shopping experience for their guests.
Boys' Fort, 2030 N Willis St., 503.886.9077
Arbor Lodge, Interstate Corridor
Liz Brooks says her new 700-square-foot consignment shop carries lightly used, quality clothing for women and girls who embody what she calls a “North Portland style”—threads that run stylishly casual to mildly formal. She also carries necklaces and earrings designed and crafted by locals. But when you shop there, you aren't limited to being her customer. Bring in your old clothes and partner with her. If she can sell what you bring her, she'll split the profits with you. Or, you can use your cut as in-store credit and continue shopping from her ever-changing inventory.
Button, 6517 N Interstate Ave., 503.724.9922
All in One
Barber shops have always been a place to catch up with your friends and neighbors while waiting for a trim. But as a place to design your own T-shirt or browse through the latest CDs? Not until now. Barber Daniel Parks has just opened such a collaborative venture called All in One. In addition to getting a trim, he says, you can purchase a T-shirt from designer Jeffery Ta's "Blazergonian" line, or even design your own shirt, as well as check out the newest sounds at the adjacent PacFresh Music shop, owned and operated by Reggie Valin and Ash Wendt. Parks says the idea for the venture was divinely inspired and says that, ultimately, it’s the joint venture of four hardworking men who aim to create not just a one-stop shop for various services, but a positive place that can anchor the community as a whole.
All in One Styles, 10410 NE Sandy Blvd., 503.729.7651
All in One Boutique, 10410 NE Sandy Blvd., 503.290.6790
PacFresh Music, 10416 NE Sandy Blvd., 503.740.7961 0r 971.533.9680
Working Class Acupuncture
To celebrate their business' 10th birthday, Working Class Acupuncture owners Lisa Rohleder and Skip Van Meter have added a third location in the Lents neighborhood. "If we bring acupuncture to people at affordable prices, they're for it," manager Shauna McCuaig says. Rohleder says that in 2011, more than 35,000 treatments were delivered to patients, treating ailments ranging from chronic back pain to insomnia and depression. But what makes the practice unique, she adds, is that even though their patients determine what they'll pay for a treatment, the practice still pays its acupuncturists a living wage. And to celebrate those patient-client relationships, Working Class offers a full day of free treatments every year on its adopted holiday, May 1.
Working Class Acupuncture, 5814 SE 92nd Ave., 503.477.7115