Portland News to Chew: January 2016

Le Vieux to shutter, elite Tokyo Ramen comes to Portland, and Park Kitchen eliminates tipping.

By Alex Keith January 18, 2016

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Brunch at Le Vieux

Lincoln’s Jenn Louis to Open an Israeli Restaurant in Los Angeles

Jenn Louis, Food & Wine favorite and chef-owner of Southeast’s Sunshine Tavern and North Portland’s Lincoln restaurant has plans to open a comfort-driven Israeli restaurant in downtown Los Angeles later this year. She will continue to manage her two Portland restaurants while building her Israeli project. Louis is the latest in a growing number of Portland restaurants, including Pok Pok and Salt & Straw, making the Southern migration. 

A Top Tokyo Ramen Shop Is Coming to Portland

The first American outpost of popular Tokyo ramen shop Afuri looks to land right here in Portland, inside a refurbished Southeast warehouse (if the ramen rumors are true). An OLCC license for 921 SE 7th Avenue reveals plans for a large, 92-seat restaurant with an additional 13 bar seats, promising plenty of space for noodle slurping. The ten-year-old Tokyo ramen house is known for lines around the block and signature seafood flavors. Afuri joins a wave of Japanese ramen colonization, with Shigezo, Kukai, and soon, Marukin ramen, all staking their claim in PDX soil.  

Park Kitchen and Bent Brick To Eliminate Tipping

The national debate over tipping inequality in restaurants and rising minimum wages has chef-owner Scott Dolich (Park Kitchen, The Bent Brick) changing his business model. Dolich hopes to merge “front-of-house” (servers, bussers, hostesses) and “back-of-house” (cooks, dishwashers) positions at his two restaurants in favor of a “One House” model that will result in a no-tipping policy and an 18% increase in menu prices. Can you teach a server to master haute cuisine in a few months? Can you convince a behind-the-scenes cook to cope with demanding customers? We'll find out!

Le Vieux Throws in the Towel

It’s out with le vieux and in with the new for the one-year-old European-inspired Northwest Portland eatery. “The old” in French, Le Vieux stuck to their old-school guns—from braised rabbit to cassoulet—but never quite reached the required Proustian yum-factor to bring diners back for more. According to Eater PDX, owners Annette Yang and Brian Leitner are in the process of selling their restaurant to a San Francisco buyer, and could close as early as March 2016.

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