Restaurant veterans (and road trip fans) Jenny Nickolaus and Chris Whaley—who put in time at Michelin-starred Las Vegas palaces, celebrated barbecue joints, and pop-up dinners under the New York High Line—are ready to put their travels on hold to settle into their latest venture, The American Local. Inspired by izakaya-style afterwork watering holes in Japan and patriotic union halls of the early 20th century, The American Local offers an eclectic mix of regional American drinking food accented by Asian ingredients and melting-pot preparations—like a bowl of poached chicken and noodles that lands halfway between ramen and the soup your mom makes during flu season, Netarts Bay oysters with togarashi and cara cara oranges, and pork belly skewers with sriracha and maple. It's east-meets-west bar food (with a strong emphasis on the west) that makes you thirsty in the best of ways, mashing up ingredients like crab cakes, foie gras-laden poutine, beignets, Parker house rolls, burgers, and brisket with Oregon-grown wasabi, Portland-made tofu, miso, and kimchi-style fermented turnips. "It's a playful intertwining of our multicultural society," says Nickolaus. "We're having fun with the flavors we like, and the ingredients we're proud of."
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