Big’s Chicken catches fire
The Oregonian reports that a three-alarm fire tore through the smoked chicken shack from the Laurelhurst Market team on July 13. Co-owner Ben Dyer says most of the restaurant was spared from the fire, though the apartments above were devastated. Dyer estimates that Big’s will be closed “for months.” It’s been a rough month for the team; just a week earlier, Willamette Week splashed a surprisingly brutal takedown of the new restaurant on rack cards (the teaser poster on newsboxes). While it undergoes reconstruction, you can find a recipe for the DIY smoked, grilled chicken right here.
Taylor Railworks to close
The industrial eastside restaurant from former Little Bird talent Erik Van Kley will close, pending new ownership. Van Kley’s “borderless” American cuisine had moments of greatness over its two year run, but was often scattered in its vision, with flavors, influences, and cuisines clashing at steep prices. No word yet on an exact closure date.
Biwa reverts to old format; closes Parasol Bar
In October 2016, after a decade of wild success, Portland Monthly broke the news that Biwa was splitting into two restaurants: a more upscale omakase experience at Biwa Izakaya, and a casual cafe and noodle bar at Parasol Bar. Now, the Oregonian reports that they're rolling the clock back, reinstating the menu and merging the space. "We're going back to a menu that's highly evocative of what we served in 2007, 2012, or 2015," says co-owner Gabe Rosen in his O interview.
Level Beer now open
The long-awaited Argay neighborhood brewery from PDX beer vets Geoff Phillips (Bailey’s Taproom), Jason Barbee (Ex Novo) and Shane Watterson (Laurelwood) is now open. Level promises a line of “balanced,” lighter craft beers on a sprawling two-acre space (hop field and playground included). Open every day, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. (and until 10 p.m. on weekends) at 5211 NE 148th Avenue.
Dana Frank leaves Dame
Celebrated natural wine advocate Dana Frank has separated from her opus, Dame, after only 10 months. Frank opened Dame last year with co-owner Jane Smith and notable Seattle chef Eli Dahlin (Walrus and the Carpenter, Damn the Weather), immersing both wine aficionados and novices in a totally new kind of experience. With Dahlin’s departure in in March 2017, followed by Frank, it’s unclear where Dame will land. Frank, meanwhile, has joined the team at Holdfast as wine director, and continues to work on her wine pairing book, Wine Food, with Portland author Andrea Slonecker, due fall 2018.
Smith Teamaker opens in Korea
Joining the wonderful world of Portland’s far-flung food exports (Blue Star, Navarre, and Voodoo, to name a few) Smith Teamaker has opened a café in Seoul, Korea. Thanks to Korean importer Orefarm, which specializes in Oregon goods, Smith Tea has become a staple in Korea, according to head teamaker Tony Tellin. The new Smith Teamaker Café, dubbed “Beat360,” offers all of the same sippable goodies as at the Portland tasting rooms, with the addition of tea smoothies.