The latest food news in circulation doesn’t match the bright weather that has graced Portland these past couple of days. I am sorry to say that Lovely Hula Hands, the picturesque little eatery on N. Mississippi, will be closing New Year’s Eve after one final, locally-sourced and attentively crafted hurrah.
We’ve kept our eyes on this restaurant for quite some time (It’s graced our Top Restaurants list twice, in 2007 and 2008) – our hearts clinging to the wispy curtains, the enchantingly busy wallpaper, the creaky wood flooring just like home… The intrigue is as uncomplicated as the two delicate, yellow hands on their restaurant sign. It is a place, not just to taste seasonal fare served as it should be, unfussy and elevating, but to cozy into with a couple of close friends and a bottle of wine.
I had my first engagement with Lovely Hula Hands after a Friday night of restaurant tag. Every east side eatery (worth my occasional dining out splurge) was brimming – two hour waits, inattentive service, and over-crowded bar areas, making it a struggle to even order an aperitif. I was frantically driving down N. Mississippi, not feeling like Mexican, pizza, or Thai, when I saw those two floating hands.
If you haven’ t eaten here, please do before it closes just to feel that instantaneous calm when you step through the front door. Even on a Friday night, you’ll be carried to your table with promptness and ease. There aren’t many places like it visually, and detail-driven plates of potato crusted trout and ravioli stuffed with fresh pumpkin squash are just what this hectic winter season requires.
Fortunately, when one thing closes, another inevitably opens. In owners and sisters Sarah and Jane Minnick’s case, they will be debuting a wood-fired pizza restaurant, Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty in late January.