Old Salt Marketplace, the ambitious bar/butcher shop/supper house, and a key anchor for the boom of quality restaurants on NE 42nd Ave, will officially close July 31. Lunch service has already halted, but the restaurant will remain open for weekend brunch and dinner.
A neighborhood fixture since 2013, Old Salt boasts a truly impressive house butchery program that percolates into nearly everything the restaurant and deli turn out. It's also home to the “Let Us Cook for You” dinner special—an omakase-style smorgasbord of meat and produce—and an array of standout cocktails like the sultry Gin Blossom.
Though it may come as a surprise for Old Salt regulars and neighborhood diners, cofounder Ben Meyer tells Eat Beat he's been mulling the closure for a while. Running three operations (including Grain & Gristle and Revel Meat) has been taxing for Meyer and co-owners Marcus Hoover and Alex Ganum. Meyer recently rehabilitated a slaughterhouse in Canby for his Revel Meat Company (read the full story and find his recipe for smoked holiday ham right here). Ganum has become more involved in the day-to-day operations of his other business, Upright Brewing, and Hoover has his hands full running operations for Sherwood bakery, Love Bites.
“We’ve got families and kids and other responsibilities," Meyer says. "It’s just been difficult to find the time that the business requires and deserves. I’m proud to have proved the model actually works. If we could be there every day, there’s no doubt that Old Salt could keep going for another 25 years.”
What’s next for the team and that dizzying display of local meat? Among other Old Salt favorites, Meyer’s signature ham hocks will migrate to Grain & Gristle, the NE Prescott institution the trio founded in 2010, three years before they broke ground at Old Salt. (Grain & Gristle is also home to what may very well be Portland's best burger, which you can make at home with these tips, straight from Meyer himself.) A few of Old Salt’s butchers will migrate to Revel Meat, while some bartenders and servers will transition to Grain & Gristle.
Meanwhile, the team is hunting for a buyer for Old Salt’s 6,000 square feet of repurposed wood. Miss Zumstein Coffee Shop and Bakery, a tenant in the same building, will remain open with the new ownership.
You’ve still got two weeks to celebrate the Old Salt era, and Meyer would love to see you: “I want to urge the regulars and the people who love Old Salt to come down and take care of the staff before the 31st.” You can count on it.