After seven months in limbo, Produce Row (one of Portland’s most historic drinking dens) is reopening. The folks behind Circa 33, North 45 Pub, and The Station have taken up the reigns from restaurateur Alan Davis (Multnomah Whiskey Library) with plans to re-open sometime in May with a focus on beer and whiskey.
Smallwares chef Johanna Ware is opening a new satellite restaurant, lil’wares (4537 NE Fremont St), across the street from the original space. Lil’wares is the footloose version of its bigger sister: pink peppercorn vodka slushies, grill-heavy dishes alongside familiar bites like cob salad with kimchi Thousand island dressing, and a 30-seat patio. Lil’wares opens in late May, with tentative hours from 11am-5pm, Monday-Friday.
Swift and Union, a restaurant serving "seasonal tavern fare" from the owners of Tabor Tavern, is expected to open later this spring. S & U's main man in the kitchen will be chef Greg Newman (Ripe, Caffe Mingo, Pok Pok).
The upcoming “ham bar,” from Cathy Whims (Nostrana), ChefStable’s Kurt Huffman, and cocktail emissary Ryan Magarian (Oven & Shaker) at 232 NW 12th Ave., has a name: Hamlet. Projected opening: Early May.
A Sicilian restaurant, Bellino Trattoria Siciliana, will open on April 14 in the former Fratelli space on 1230 NW Hoyt St. The menu will focus on the food of Palermo, the capital of Sicily: caponata, seafood stews, pastas, and arancini. The dining room has space for 48, and will be open for lunch, dinner, and happy hour, Tuesday-Sunday.
All Around Town
Saveur announced its nominations for the 2015 Saveur Blog Awards. Local prospective winners include Brooke Bass (a former PoMo contributor) for her food blog, Chocolate + Marrow, full of vibrant photos and delicious recipes, and Michelle Lopez, for her baking blog, Hummingbird High. Voting is open through April 30.
Meanwhile, Food & Wine magazine announced the finalists for its 2015 People’s Choice award (not to be confused with F&W’s Best New Chef awards, which did not include any PDXers this year). Nominated chefs include Johanna Ware, Bonnie Morales (Kachka), Sarah Pliner (Aviary), Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene's), Ian Wilson (Fenrir), and Justin Woodward (Castagna). Voting ends April 8.