Budding restaurateurs once again led the way in October, opening more businesses in Portland than entrepreneurs in any other service sector. The doors swung open on French, Italian, Thai, pie, and burger joints, as well as locales serving up Tex-Mex cuisine and Greek-style pizza as several restaurateurs-entrepreneurs looked to expand their brand and businesses' offerings with new storefronts and locations. Still, it wasn't all food. Health, beauty and haircut operations opened around town as well as shop where you can find a new screen-printed T-shirt. And while you're grooming and treating yourself to food and clothes, don't forget your pets, especially since they now have a new store created specifically with them in mind.
Bar Alla Bomba
Kerns, Burnside East
Longtime service industry veteran and Portland native Christopher Ashley says he wanted his first business to be the amalgamation of what he likes about bars in both Portland and Northern Italy, especially Venice. The idea, he says, is to come in, order a glass of wine, share two or three small plates with your friends, and repeat for as long as necessary. Dishes, prepared by chef Ethan Flom (previously of Broder and Savoy Tavern), include whipped, salted cod on toast, arugula salads with pine nuts and chèvre, baby octopus in a black ink sauce served on polenta, and a classic Italian charcuterie board. The full bar is comprised of mostly local spirits, glasses and bottles of Italian reds and whites, and a draft beer menu featuring one Italian beer, five rotating Oregon and Washington beers, and, because it's Portland, one tap devoted to PBR.
Bar Alla Bomba, 1101 E Burnside St., 971.266.8756
Bushel & Peck Bakeshop
After a three-month trial at local farmers' markets, Amanda Felt, the brains behind Black Sheep Bakery, just opened the doors to Bushel & Peck, her new bakeshop. The 15-seat spot serves up a weekly quiche as well as soup, salad and sandwich specials, but the stars are the pastries, which include homemade biscuits, blueberry-lavender muffins, and Felt's deceptively simple, but strangely exotic peanut butter curry cookies. Felt also offers a rotating roster of homemade jams, with flavors like fig and peach, with balsamic vinegar, and peach and bourbon, with vanilla bean.
Bushel & Peck Bakeshop, 3907 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503.206.8953
Fressen Artisan Bakery
Since 2004, Edgar Loesch has been baking bread and selling it to co-ops, restaurateurs, and around town at farmers’ markets. But now, the wholesale bakery has opened a café with a menu designed to center around all things bread, like cold cut sandwiches, and bread-pairing items, like cheeses, pickled eggs, and vegetarian and vegan soups. Of course, if you're in a hurry, you can always dart in to pick up some fresh-baked pretzels, a loaf of beer bread, or a rye baguette, or choose from an ample selection of pastries, like fruit danishes, lavender shortbread, and Bavarian croissants.
Fressen Artisan Bakery, 523 NE 19th Ave., 503.953.3222
The northern expansion of the SE Portland hot spot Slow Bar has arrived with the opening of Slowburger. The 24-seat burger and beer outlet is nestled into the Ocean, Kerns' micro-restaurant development, and while the food menu may be small—listing fewer than a dozen items—the burgers are anything but. Slowburger's half-pound burgers come in four meaty flavors as well as a vegetarian option. Order at the counter and pair your burger with one of four draft pints and a side of fries or large-cut, Trumer-battered onion rings. And you can always get your food to go, as well as your beer, because Slowburger sells and refills growlers.
Slowburger, 2319 NE Glisan St., 971.271.7756
Jenney Throngkam, who owns Portland's newest Thai spot with her husband Tommy, says lunch and dinner guests should expect a lot of choices: The menu boasts more than 50 items, including wontons, pot stickers, larb, drunken noodles, and as many as nine different varieties of curry, which Throngkam strongly recommends. The 50-plus seat spot also features beer and wine, offers carry-out, and is open every day of the year. Throngkam says Sunisa also serves up mango sticky rice for dessert, but says you've got to get it while it lasts, because it goes fast.
Sunisa Thai, 6852 NE Sandy Blvd., 503.208.2353
From the brains and brawn that brought us Bunk Sandwiches and Bunk Bar (Tommy Habertz, Matt Brown and Nick Wood) comes a brand-spanking-new restaurant in the space just beneath the Wonder Ballroom. At Trigger, Portland's aspiring cowboys and rodeo queens can get their fill of tequila and Tex-Mex cuisine, and according to the multiple-hat-wearing Heather McManis (manager on duty, server, slinger of drinks), Trigger was designed to offer diners a casual atmosphere where they can meet to dip tortilla chips in American cheese queso and share small plates (savory tacos and housemade choco tacos). Expect Mexican beer, signature margaritas on the rocks, and other inspired cocktails, like the Sidetype—a sort of reverse-boilermaker in which a full Coronita bottle is dropped into a tall, cold, slushy margarita.
Trigger, 128 NE Russell St., 503.327.8234
Lauretta Jean's East Side
"Remember," says the voice at the tail end of the Lauretta Jean's voicemail, "it's okay to have pie for breakfast." But, pie maker Katie McMillen is hoping that those who've just polished off a good meal at one of SE Division Street's many new restaurants will remember that pie makes a great dessert, too. That's why she plans to stay open late, offering not only sweet and savory pies but also beer, wine and cocktails. And if you do want pie for breakfast, the shop will be open early too, when you can pair your slice with a mimosa, Bloody Mary, or the more traditional cup of joe. As for the name? Lauretta Jean is McMillen's grandmother, who taught her how to bake when she was a little girl.
Lauretta Jean's East Side, 3402 SE Division St., 503.235.3119
The Modern Man Hawthorne
Look at old photos of barber shops, Chris Espinoza says, and you'll notice that many barbers kept a small bar, not just to occupy those waiting for a trim, but because they also practiced "bloodletting and minor dentistry," thus offering bracers to help those who needed to dull their pain. Espinoza's new barber shop, his second, provides the same services as his first (trims, hot towel shaves, specialty cuts and shoeshines), as well as the hard stuff, with an emphasis on whiskey. But while the decor of his other shop resembles a "Wild West hunting lodge for alpha males," his new shop, with its 700 antique books, fireplace and jarred specimens, will appeal to those pledging the Royal Society. In the near future, he adds, expect the barber shop to become a full-on lounge between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.
The Modern Man Hawthorne, 4538 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503.858.3219
Suzy Karagounis says her husband Tony, a native of Greece, got his start in the service industry in 1978 when he and his brother opened an Italian restaurant in Alaska. They sold it and moved south, successfully running another restaurant in Bend before finally settling in Portland in mid-2012. Their newest venture blends Italian and Greek cuisines, and includes hand-tossed pizza and "football-sized" calzones, dolmas, gyros, Italian grinders, Greek bread (stuffed with mozzarella and feta cheese before baking), and baklava for dessert. Karagounis says the 30-seat spot also features a 42-inch flat-screen for sports fans, wine and draught beers, a kids’ menu, and specialty gluten-free beer and pizza offerings.
Opa Pizzaria, 8000 SE 13th Ave., 503.238.7255
Samui Thai Kitchen
Joy Potrawiak and her family are from the south of Thailand where dishes tend to be spicy. The kitchen crew has "toned down" the heat at this 40-seat, lunch-and-dinner spot, but "If you like heat, we can kick it up,” she adds. The menu—which spans no fewer than eight pages—includes dishes like coconut soup, nom tok, wok stir-fries, eight curries, five fried rice dishes, and an almost endless selection of noodle plates. Potrawiak also says the restaurant stocks local and Thai beers, as well as bottles of gluten-free suds. Too many choices? Potrawiak says first-time diners should consider ordering the koong ma-kham—a house specialty made with grilled prawns and shallots in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce—before enjoying a southern Thai delicacy: rice paper-wrapped, deep-fried Snickers bars, served with a scoop of housemade coconut ice cream.
Samui Thai Kitchen, 3616 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503.231.9898
Since 1998, Kelli Thomsen has been beautifying Portlanders by applying their makeup as well as working at medical spas to learn how to make healthy skin glow. Now, she's got her own space where she performs a variety of services to make beautiful faces even prettier, including facials, peels, waxings, and tintings. And Thomsen also offers a specialty service unique to her industry: She observes your skin, asks you to describe it, and then blends a complimentary juice for you made with fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, all designed to make your skin healthier and happier.
Elixir Beauty, 2535 NW Upshur St., 503.890.5355
Michael Hosking is a scientist, a recreational bicycle racer, and, now, an entrepreneur. But his new cycling studio, he says, is not a fitness center, but more of a conceptual "health and happiness" center. We know that aerobic exercise is good for our bodies and emotions, but he says new discoveries in neuroplasticity indicate that exercise results in the brain actually creating and building its own new nerve cells, something previously unknown. That's why he's dedicating his 24-bike studio not just to exercise, but to personal and shared growth, in essence, creating a community of classmates pedaling to an eclectic mix of music, from 120 bpm pop songs to meditative selections from Philip Glass' Einstein on the Beach.
Revocycle, 1218 NW Marshall St., 503.241.2920
Cheryl's on 12th
Downtown, West End
Cheryl and Ed Casey met in the service industry when they were just kids. (In the late 1970s, they helped open one of Oregon's first T.G.I. Friday's.) Before long, they were hitched and spent the next several years working in the industry as executives and franchisees. When one of their businesses, Portland's As Good As It Gets Catering, outgrew its digs, they went looking for new ones, finally settling into a 3,000-square-foot kitchen in a basement in Portland's West End. But it's what's happening above ground that has West Enders talking, because the Casey’s new street-level market and cafe offers local and imported gourmet goods, grab-and-go sandwiches, and breakfast, brunch and lunch items like omelets, huevos rancheros, roast beef bánh mìs, bowls of meaty and vegan chili, fresh-baked cookies, and tarts and cakes, as well as rotating dinner specials and wine by the glass.
Cheryl's on 12th, 1135 SW Washington St., 503.575.9968
Fang & Feather
Nancy Fedelem and her husband, Matt, have a full house: four dogs, two cats and a pair of lovebirds. So it makes sense that within six months of moving to Portland eight years ago, Fedelem bought her first retail business, Salty's Dog & Cat Shop, in Boise. She's parlayed her experience and now opened a new pet shop specializing in food and bedding for dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and, this being Portland, chickens. Think of it like a candy shop, but for your furriest (or feathered) friends. Also, in addition to carrying the usual canned foods and kibble for pups, Fedelem also carries a line of raw food for dogs with special diets.
Fang & Feather, 1926 N Kilpatrick St., 503.972.5822
Little Red Press
If you've ever worn a Decemberists T-shirt, chances are it was made by Portland's McPherson sisters, Lisa and Kerry. The sisters, Los Angeles transplants with extensive arts backgrounds, have been mass-producing your ideas via screen-printed T-shirts from their homes since 2007, but now they've got a new storefront. According to Lisa, they still do mostly T-shirts, mostly for bands, but they also design posters and ephemera, like bumper stickers and totes. Their most famous idea started as a lark when the two made themselves "The library is cool" totes, which, during one of their visits, caught the eye of a local librarian. She liked them, Lisa says, and suggested they sell them in the library's gift shop. They soon did, and the idea quickly caught on—the sisters are now shipping "cool" T-shirts and totes to libraries up and down the West Coast.
Little Red Press, 8124 N Denver Ave., 503.449.5526