You did it, Portland. You finally found room in your collective heart for a few new businesses that don’t serve food. Of the dozen indie spots that sprang up in June, only five of them were restaurants. Sure, we now have new places to get lobster, gelato and fried chicken, but we also gained an art gallery, a spa, a pair of retail design studios (where you can alternately get dresses or water-resistant backpacks), and a retail satellite space from Portland’s favorite coffee-roasting DIYers, Mr. Green Beans.
Rachelle M. Rustic House of Fashion
Rachelle Wilde knows fashion: She worked more than 20 years in the industry for Chico’s, Columbia and Ralph Lauren. But, like many corporateers, Wilde knew a change was due. Yet, she’s sticking with fashion, as you’ll undoubtedly surmise when you enter her new women’s boutique. Wilde says her collection of dresses, tops, jewelry, soaps, lotions, candles and handbags will attract discerning women of all ages, especially once they learn that her boutique is also home to lines that you can’t find anywhere else in Portland (like a collection of “fun, whimsical and colorful” Ilse Jacobsen boots that come in three different heights and 40 different colors). Expect Pendleton’s women’s wool line to follow. And if you catch yourself admiring her tables and displays, you have good taste: They’ve all been made by hand, as have the store’s dozen mannequins.
Rachelle M. Rustic House of Fashion, 132 NW 12th Ave., 971.319.6934
Skin Tight Spa
Andy Hillis studied—and, for six years, practiced—architecture, but at the same time, he was equally drawn to cosmetology. (He says he suffered from acne as a young man and learned the hard way that a little skin care goes a long way in bolstering a person’s confidence and self worth.) In his spare time, Hillis put himself through classes at the Bella Institute School of Cosmetology and earned an aesthetician’s certificate, which he’s now putting to work at his new Pearl District spa. From his one-room, 650-square-foot studio, Hillis pretties Portlanders up with eyelash extensions, waxings and eyebrow shapings, and uses an array of clinical facial techniques like chemical peels and microdermabrasion treatments to oxygenate the skin.
Skin Tight Spa, 1400 NW Marshall St., Ste. 106, 503.477.6377
Woodlawn, Woodlawn Triangle
Don Hill’s obsession with gelato had been simmering for years. For over a decade he’d travel for months at a time to Italy as an entertainment lighting consultant for the cruise ship industry. When he and his wife Angie decided to retire (she worked for the same company), they packed up Penny and Elvis, the couple’s two dachshunds (bassotti in Italian), and moved from San Diego to Portland to take advantage of the gelato training Don received while in Bologna in 2013. Their new 30-seater features a dozen gelato flavors (chocolate, pistachio and rotating experimental concoctions), as well as espresso-based drinks, pastries, panini, beer, wine, a few select cocktails and, as Don says, other “little somethings to fix you” throughout the day. And when the weather’s warm, you can take those treats outdoors because the space shares a large patio with Tamale Boy.
Bassotto Gelateria, 1760 NE Dekum St., 503.209.2399
Years ago, longtime Portland massage therapists Esther Bell and Tara Krupich invested in a whole body vibration (WBV) machine, the kind of solitary platforms on which cosmonauts used to train during the early days of the Space Race. Their clients liked this device—in fact, Bell says, they liked it too much and there was often a line to use it. It wasn’t long before Bell and Krupich decided to give their clients what they wanted, trading in their 225-square-foot studio for a 1,600-square-foot space that now accommodates eight WBVs. Here’s how they work: You stand on a platform that sends micro-vibrations through your body. Every 30 seconds, the machine changes speeds, forcing you to use different parts of your muscles to maintain your balance. (Don’t worry, they’re safe: You can even lift weights and perform squats during the process.) After 12 minutes, Bells says, you get off the machine feeling better—WBVs, she says, have been known to increase stamina, aid digestion and incontinence, and flush the body of toxins. The WBVs are the new draw, she adds, but she and Krupich will continue to offer massages as well as infrared sauna and Japanese foot bath sessions.
BodyQuirks, 3311 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Ste. 102, 503.233.9030
New Jersey native and painter Faye Cuneo earned her degree in apparel design from Colorado State University and, upon graduation, promptly set her sights on Portland. After working in the snowboarding apparel industry for a few years, Cuneo decided that what she really wanted to do was design her own clothes. Enter her new 600-square-foot sewing studio and showroom. Inside, you can try on Cuneo’s custom line of off-the-rack dresses or, if those don’t fit just right, have her personally fit one for you. But what makes Cuneo’s line truly stand out is the inspiration behind it. Rather than chase trends, Cuneo designs clothes worn by Candace, a recurring character that pops up in several of her personal paintings. Her boutique has limited hours, but she’ll open its doors if you book an appointment online.
Candace, 3552 NE Sandy Blvd.
Mr. Green Beans Southeast
Good news for DIY coffee roasters who live south of Burnside: Trevin and Ginny Miller have converted a portion of their southeast roasting warehouse into a small retail storefront. The Millers say the shop will be stocked with everything their North Mississippi Avenue shop carries, including all the essentials a coffee enthusiast needs—from roasting appliances, French presses and pour-overs to 40-plus varieties of raw coffee beans. The Millers also expect to resume teaching their DIY roasting classes in the large group space directly above the shop.
Mr. Green Beans Southeast, 3647 SE 21st Ave., 971.407.3140
Nebraska Art Gallery
Concordia, Alberta Street
Just weeks after shuttering her massage therapy practice, Nicci Driscoll curated her first exhibition at her newly minted art gallery just off the Alberta Arts District’s main stem. The 260-square-foot space, named after her favorite Bruce Springsteen record, will feature monthly solo and group exhibitions by local artists who express themselves through oil painting, sculpture, other mixed media and even performance. Driscoll says gazers and collectors alike should expect the unexpected: Think portraits of insects playing poker with humans and headdresses made from cured-at-home roadkill.
Nebraska Art Gallery, 5001 NE 30th Ave., 503.282.6552
Hosford-Abernethy, Central Eastside Industrial
Jeremy Neal and Paul Johnson’s bike-friendly backpack-making operation has new digs after opening up shop in a 1,600-square-foot space in SE Portland’s Ford Building. The new space is evenly divided: The front is reserved for retail while the back half is the duo’s workshop. In addition to offering water-resistant backpacks and messenger bags, Neal and Johnson also make panniers, cargo bike canopies and pedal straps. Stopped by the store and seen the bag you want but not the color you’d hoped for? Don’t worry. The pair will custom build you the bag you want at no extra cost. And don't forget: Their packs and bags are guaranteed for life.
BlaqPaks, 1100 SE Division, 503.730.9519
Hawthorne Lobster House
Portland is home to lots of restaurants, explains Rodney Scott, but it has a dearth of lobster spots outside of a food cart and Red Lobster. That’s why he, his wife Vicki, and their friends Roger Mumm, April Garstin and Shelly Riesgaard decided to open the doors to their 115-seat seafood house where Stumptowners can get the full lobster experience—from scanning the tank and picking out their own crustacean (they can weigh as much as 13 pounds), to surf and turfing their Piedmontese sirloin, ribeye or tomahawk steaks by pairing it with a lobster tail (which, if you choose, can be wrapped in bacon, natch). Expect lobster cocktails, hot seafood platters, chilled seafood towers, Lobster Newburg, lobster pescatore, 14 local draft beers and ciders, and specialty cocktails, like the Lobster Claw Bloody Mary (with a salad that includes that claw and a prawn). Lobster not your thing? In addition to steak, you can get salmon, chicken or pork chops. Plus, there’s a shell-free menu available for the little ones.
Hawthorne Lobster House, 2422 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503.231.8245
Son of a Biscuit
Micah Camden and Katie Poppe have struck again. Just a month after opening their seventh Little Big Burger and their second Blue Star Donuts, the couple have opened the doors to their newest concept venture: fast, affordable, Southern-style fried chicken. The 25-seat lunch and dinner spot focuses on fried birds (whole and half), chicken sandwiches and homemade biscuits, which you can pair with a quartet of sides: slaw, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes or French fries. To wash it down, Camden and Poppe have stocked their bar with cider and beer, which you can also take with you when picking up your takeout order. Expect online ordering available in the near future.
Son of a Biscuit, 2045 SE Division St., 971.888.5933
Fast on the heels of opening the doors to the Italian comfort food spot Nonna, Dayna McErlean (Yakuza Lounge, DOC) has turned her attention to downtown diner fare. Dime Store, with its 49 seats, serves farm-to-table diner classics like granola, flapjacks, biscuits and gravy, green goddess salads, a burger with lots of add-on options, meatloaf, and from-scratch daily soups. Breakfast is served all day long, and you should expect a dinner and small cocktail menu sometime soon too (the latter of which will feature items like a boozy Moscow mule milkshake). McErlean says the diner’s also home to a newsstand curated by The City Reader for solo diners who like to enjoy pie and coffee the old-fashioned way: by thumbing through a periodical rather than a smartphone.
Dime Store, 837 SW 11th Ave., 503.228.1866
Swank Restaurant and Swine Moonshine & Whiskey Bar
Portland foodies have yet another reason to let their cartoon hearts spring forth and eyeballs pop from their sockets: Chef Daniel Mondok (Genoa, Carlyle) is back in town and he’s dreamt up a large menu of Pacific Northwest cuisine inspired by French and pan-Asian cooking techniques. The 90-seat Swank Restaurant, located on the ground floor of the Paramount Hotel, features lamb shank, bavette steak and, for dessert, a cold, sweet rhubarb and rosewater soup. On the Swine side, expect infused liquors and craft cocktails like the Gun Smoke Martini (whiskey and gin), margaritas made with grilled and smoked lemons, and snacks like Mondok’s fabled salt-and-pepper calamari, plus lockers for those interested in keeping a bottle of precious spirits on-site.
Swank Restaurant and Swine Moonshine & Whiskey Bar, 808 SW Taylor St., 503.943.5844