Portland News to Chew

Ya Hala launches brunch, Bamboo Izakaya reverts to Bamboo Sushi, and Ristretto Roasters is Google’s favorite coffee.

By Benjamin Tepler March 23, 2015

Grilled mackerel at the now-shuttered Bamboo Izakaya on Northeast Alberta St.


Ya Hala, widely considered one of the city’s best Middle Eastern restaurants, has launched a Lebanese brunch program (Sat and Sun, 9am – 2pm.) The menu includes breakfast cocktails (including a bloody “Miriam” with cured meat), pastries (pecan brioche to sfoof cake with turmeric, anise, and cardamom icing), and a pile of Mid-East-inspired breakfast dishes, from Moroccan fried chicken to shakshuka.

The five-year-old Water Avenue Coffee Co. is expanding into a 4000 square-foot roasting facility on Southeast 8th and Main St. The flagship will undergo a remodel and expansion in the near future.

As previously reported, the environmental nonprofit Ecotrust plans to turn a cavernous Central Eastside space into “The Redd,” an incubator for artisan food businesses. Ecotrust announced this month that they had purchased an additional 26,000 square-foot warehouse and showroom adjacent to the upcoming incubator for “last mile logistics” (aggregation, warehousing, and distribution).


After only five months at Northeast Alberta, Bamboo Izakaya, the Japanese drinking-house from Bamboo Sushi’s Kristofor Lofgren, is shuttering. In its place, Lofgren will open a third Bamboo Sushi location. “Each evening since we've opened, we receive countless requests for sushi,” explains Lofgren in a recent press release. “Overall, the Izakaya, while a fun and delicious concept, does not carry to same appeal that sushi does. Sushi has had over 65 years in the United States to take hold of the American psyche.” Bamboo Sushi Alberta is expected to open on April 2.


Blue Star Donuts, the wildly popular brioche-doughnut chain from serial franchiser Micah Camden, now has a fourth location at 921 NW 23rd. Blue Star is Camden’s second-largest franchise next to Little Big Burger, which has eight locations.

Bend-based 10 Barrel Brewing (recently acquired by Anheuser-Busch) has opened its first Portland location in the Pearl, at 1411 NW Flanders St. 10 Barrel also recently hired Whitney Burnside as the company’s—and the city’s—first female head brewer.

Beyond the Willamette

A little bit of coffee gossip: Portland’s lauded Ristretto Roasters is now the official coffee of Google. After taste-testing the best roasters in the country, Google chose Ristretto to caffeinate its Seattle and Kirkland campuses.

Voodoo Doughnuts, the mega tourist attraction, is opening up shop in Austin, Texas “some time in 2015.” Late last year, Voodoo announced its plans for a total takeover of Japan and Taiwan, with 12-20 outposts slotted to open over the next three years.

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