It's never unusual for new eateries to dominate our monthly list of new businesses—of the 16 that opened in August, 15 of them were bars and restaurants. And while we all love to eat (and drink), it's a pleasant surprise to see retailers gathering some of that entrepreneurial steam. So while September brought us plenty of new culinary treats (tacos, sushi, Korean-style fried chicken wings), it also brought us several creative and retail options, like children's toys, used books, decorative jewelry, women's fashion, an architectural and design firm, and even a photographer's studio with some architectural set pieces of its own.
Streetcar Bistro & Taproom
Kathy Russo and Jim Conachan, born and raised Portlanders, first met in junior high, but they didn't get married until reconnecting at a high school reunion. By then, both had children—six in all. Russo says the kids are reason behind their new bistro—the business will give them not just a place to work, but a place to develop a strong work ethic. So what's in store? The menu, headed by executive chef Vito Crews, features items like house-baked macaroni and cheese, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, Scotch eggs, hand-cut pastas, lobster BLTs (with avocado tempura), and pastries. And as the name implies, the new spot is a tap room too, featuring a full bar (with an emphasis on the browner liquors) and 30 rotating taps, which pour a variety of beers from all over the world, although most will come from Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Too many choices? Try a choose-your-own, five-beer taster flight, and sample as many as you wish.
Streetcar Bistro & Taproom, 1101 NW Northrup St., 971.279.5634
If you've ever wanted to travel abroad to shoot photos of Paris or Rome, then look no further, because both cities are now in your own backyard. Portland photographer Julian James Wilde's 6,000-square-foot photographer's studio is a playground for mid-level and high-end commercial shooters looking for a rental space that gives them not just old European panoramas, but neutral backdrops on which to shoot their subjects. In addition, studio director (and Wilde's wife) Raven says the space displays Wilde's photographs and the works of those who have rented the space. Rental and tours by appointment only.
WildeVision Studio, 1301 NW 12th Ave., 503.349.4444
Downtown, West End
If it wasn't already official, it is now: Portland has a certified literary hub just off West Burnside. The building across the street from Powell's, which already houses Counter Media and Reading Frenzy, is now home to Division Leap, a "hybrid art gallery-bookstore," in the words of owners Adam Davis and Kate Schaefer. It hosts poetry readings and performance art pieces, and sells rare 20th-century avant-garde poetry and art. Looking for framed works by Yoko Ono or Patti Smith? Division Leap has a few. Davis says the store specializes in beat- and punk-inspired works that present a sort of "secret history of the 20th century," including zines and politically radical ephemera. And for good measure, the two even produce their own limited edition monthly magazine.
Division Leap, 211 SW 9th Ave., 503.206.7291
The folks behind Gypsy Chic might be packing up and saying goodbye to their space at the Portland Saturday Market—which they've called home for the last 13 years—but they're not moving far. In fact, they're staying downtown and opening a new brick and mortar at the corner of SW Morrison Street and 10th Avenue. General Manager Ellie Eaton says fans of owner Jamie White Jensen's curatorial style can expect to find many familiar goods at the new space—including frocks, shawls, dresses, scarves, shoes, purses, coats, and hats—as well as a few exclusive items, like cowboy boots and Christopher Reitmeier's pendants, which the designer hand cobbles together using found and recycled objects.
Gypsy Chic, 1031 SW Morrison St., 503.274.4422
Iconic chef Vitaly Paley's new downtown breakfast, lunch and dinner spot, once home to the old Imperial Hotel, sports many menus made up of European-inspired Pacific Northwest cuisine (croque madames, pastrami hash, fried rabbit, spit-roasted lamb, a Dungeness crab Reuben, and house-stuffed sausages that change daily). And everything is Northwest sourced, from the Caffe D’arte coffee and the Bee Local honey to the always-fresh and seasonal fish caught year-round by folks from the Quinault Indian Nation. And because it's connected to the Hotel Lucia, guests can even order room service.
Imperial, 400 SW Broadway St., 503.228.7222
The numerals identifying Portland's latest bottle shop and tap room do not indicate an address but rather the year in which Louis Pasteur first figured out that yeast is what makes fermentation go 'round. Owned and operated by five service industry veterans (Adam Hobbs, Yeta Vorobik, Jane Arnold, Matt Genz and Sam Omeechevarria), 1856 sells all kinds of drinkables, including 300 beers, 200 wines, and 50-60 ciders, as well as an assortment of sakes, bitters and vermouths. There is no kitchen, but Hobbs says guests are welcome to order out and bring back food from neighboring eateries (Pok Pok Noi, Tiga or Grain & Gristle) to nosh on over a bottle of wine.
1856, 1465 NE Prescott St., 503.954.1104
John and Caprial Pence—Portland fine dining mainstays, teachers of cooking classes, writers of cookbooks, and public television personalities—have traded in their white table cloths for something simpler—fried chicken to be exact. After experimenting with several restaurant concepts, the pair decided that fried Korean-style chicken wings was the way to go. The plan, John Pence explains, is to offer a menu where you can eat for $10 or less, choosing from wings (with three different sauces), French fries, macaroni salad, and rice, all of which can be washed down with soda, beer, wine or sake. As for the name? John Pence points to the Basan, Korea's "mythical fire-breathing chicken monster," whose flapped wings make the sound basa basa as it swoops down to catch its prey.
Basa Basa, 2333 NE Glisan St., 971.271.8260
Sullivan's Gulch, NE Broadway
Jewelry designer Rachael Donaldson says that while her new store may be small, it is large enough to showcase not only her own line of earrings and necklaces, but also handcrafted jewelry made by other local artisans (Sword and Fern, Julia Barbee, Laura Irwin Flores, Upper Metal Class). In addition, Donaldson says she'll be able to work from her in-store studio while keeping an eye on the retail side of her business, where shoppers can find handbags, candles, handmade soaps, gift cards, and an impressive collection of vintage jewelry Donaldson has collected over the years.
Demimonde, 2428 NE Broadway St., 971.270.0428
Award-winning chef Oswaldo Bibiano, the culinary force behind Mexican restaurants Autentica and Mextiza, says he's always wanted to open a taco joint—the menus at both Autentica and Mextiza offer only one taco dish each—and now, he finally has. And unless you count the eight to 12 homemade salsas, Uno Mas, Bibiano says, serves "just tacos"— 22 styles in all—reflecting flavors found across Mexico's many regions. Served in handmade tortillas, taco lovers can choose from several main ingredients, including chorizo, tongue, octopus, tripe, tilapia, shrimp, and, for vegans and vegetarians, tacos made with meat from the cactus plant.
Uno Mas, 2337 NE Glisan St., 503.208.2764
Laurelwood SE Public House
Laurelwood owner Mike DeKalb says guests at his newest public house—his fifth in Portland—can enjoy many of the same things they've come to enjoy at the other four, including burgers, sandwiches, sides of Walla Walla onion rings, craft beer-inspired housemade dressings and dipping sauces, and a dozen Laurelwood beers on tap. However, this time, DeKalb says, Laurelwood is also focusing on pizza. Diners can build their own or order from one of six signature pies, including gluten-free and vegan options. And, of course, in keeping with what's now a tradition, the new pub also features a play area to occupy the little ones while mom and dad share a pint.
Laurelwood SE Public House, 6716 SE Milwaukie Ave., 503.894.8267
Oodles 4 Kids
Carolyn Miye says the age of her average customer is somewhere between 2 and 6 years old. But, her new toy store isn't just a place to pick the right princess costume or find that perfect stuffed animal;
Miye says she wants her store to be a resource for children and their parents. That's why the shop also sells "retro" toys (marbles, jacks and jump ropes), hosts story hours and arts and crafts workshops, welcomes musical guests, and stocks a number of award-winning children's books enjoyed by Miye and her now-grown son when he was a boy.
Oodles 4 Kids, 7727 SE 13th Ave., 503.719.7670
Shut Up and Eat
After 18 successful months at the À La Carts Food Pavilion on SE Division Street and 50th Avenue, Shut Up and Eat's John Fimmano and Glen Hollenbeck have moved their sandwich-making operation indoors. The new space seats 25 at the shop's counter and features the same 12-inch hoagies that made their food cart a destination, including meatball, eggplant-parmesan, and sardine subs, as well as their signature Broadstreet Bomber (beef, cheese and grilled onions). The duo also offers rotating salads, makes their applesauce by hand, and fries up potato chips to order. Because everything's made fresh daily (including the Pearl Bakery hoagie rolls), the only caveat, Fimmano says, is that "Once it's gone, it's gone." The new space also serves wine by the glass and beer by the bottle, can or pint.
Shut Up and Eat, 3848 SE Gladstone St.,
Southeast Wine Collective
A few years ago, Tom and Kate Monroe started plotting to find the best spot to open a tasting room where wines from their urban winery, Division Winemaking Company, could be sampled. Over time, other urban winemakers expressed an interest in joining them, ultimately leading to the creation of a modern, spacious, joint tasting room where you can sample vintages from four local winemakers. Monroe says visitors can get a tour of the winery, purchase bottles to drink on-site or take away, or try flights of samples from his and each of the collective's other three wineries (Bow & Arrow, Helioterra, and Vincent Wine Company). Monroe says food is also on hand to pair with each glass, including cheeses courtesy of Cheese Bar and butchered meats from Olympic Provisions.
Southeast Wine Collective, 2425 SE 35th Place, 503.208.2061
Another Read Through
Elisa Saphier said she'd always planned on owning a bookstore, but wanted to wait until she retired. Then she asked herself, "Why should I wait? I want to do this now." Her new bookstore stocks mostly used fiction titles, featuring plenty of gamut-running genres (mystery, western, sci-fi, historical fiction, young adult, and biography), as well as a $1 shelf of deeply discounted reads. And while used bookstores are traditionally full of bargains, Saphier says she takes pains to keep her stock of 16,000-plus titles (and growing) affordable for both casual and avid readers alike.
Another Read Through, 1435 N Killingsworth St., 503.208.2729
Since 2009, the people behind Convergence Architecture have been quietly planning and designing projects from a home office in St. Johns. But now, they've opened a new brick-and-mortar office in the same neighborhood, where prospective builders can visit and inquire about planning, design and interior design services. Principal Joseph Purkey says that even though the firm, which he co-owns with Eli Elder, has a recent history of designing several physical therapy clinics, Convergence is also known for designing plans for residential, commercial (including the recently opened Korean-style Baowry restaurant), and public spaces, such as the children's playground at James John Elementary School.
Convergence Architecture, 7433 N Leavitt Ave., 503.308.1028
Eagle Eye Tavern
Riley's Pub, the Lents watering hole, may have recently shuttered, but the space didn't remain vacant for long. In fact, it's been made over and re-opened by the same woman, Erin Wagner, who brought Lents the Lion's Eye Tavern. The idea, Wagner says, is to provide not only a "friendly neighborhood tavern," but, with the help of the nearby MAX line, attract other Portlanders to a fun spot where they can listen to live music, sing karaoke, and outsmart one another on trivia nights. Drinks include local craft beers on tap and cocktails mixed with local spirits. As for the food, Wagner says to expect standard pub fare (fries, tots, mini-pizzas, onions rings), but adds that she's soon hoping to renovate an unused space in the back of the bar into a full kitchen capable of putting out a greater variety of food.
Eagle Eye Tavern, 5836 SE 92nd Ave., 503.774.2141
Fujiyama Sushi Bar & Grill
Timmy Nguyen, formerly of the metro area's Fuji’s sushi restaurants, has partnered up with two former Fuji’s employees, Eres Briones and Andy Thai, to bring the Lents neighborhood a "cozy but contemporary" sushi bar, where patrons can grab plated rolls from a conveyor belt, or experience the art of table-side grilling with the kitchen's teppanyaki grill. The space seats about 70, Nguyen says, but it can also accommodate an additional 30 in the private upstairs dining area. Nguyen is also happy to say that the new space will also be home to his much-craved, creamy, 48-secret-ingredient "Timmy Sauce" that's been a proven smash for decades with the city's sushi lovers.
Fujiyama Sushi Bar & Grill, 4124 SE 82nd St., 503.775.2019