5 Reasons Portland Restaurants Stall

We’ve all seen it: a new restaurant sets an opening date and...nothing happens. What gives?

By Julia Raymond January 2, 2014 Published in the January 2014 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Nick Stokes

1. the inspector visited!

New restaurants must pass muster for a city-issued Certificate of Occupancy, which dictates number of seats, fire safety measures, and other requirements. For bistro St. Jack’s planned second location on NW 23rd Avenue, it had to get city approval to double the space’s previous capacity. 
Delay: 5 weeks

2. the building needs repairs 

Remodels open a can of permitting worms. When Levant added seating before opening its East Burnside digs, the changes triggered requirements for a new sprinkler system and additional bike racks outside—over $80,000 in upgrade expenses.
Delay: 5 weeks 

3. the neighborhood needs repairs 

The city charges new businesses to upgrade sewers, transportation, and parks. When Bollywood Theater opened on NE Alberta Street, the city required the restaurant to pay about $13,000. 
Delay: The improvement charges didn’t slow Bollywood—but do stall many projects.

4. they want cool new machines

The N Williams Avenue bakery planned by the ChefStable Group ordered a $91,000 custom oven from Germany. Owners wired the deposit on October 1, but the oven wasn’t finished until December. Then it went on a boat for 2-4 weeks.
Delay: 3 weeks from originally scheduled date

5. they have to get rid of old machines

At the Richmond Bar on SE Division Street, Nate Tilden replaced some refrigeration systems and hired specialists to install wiring and replace sales software. Out with the old and in with the slow-downs and bills! $20,000 worth, to be precise. 
Delay: 4 weeks

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