Earlier this month, we noted the relatively low body count for Portland’s restaurant scene in 2018. We might’ve spoken too soon. As the new year kicks off, we look at three important last-minute closures.
The Emerald City export—its tart, lemony ginger elixir amassed a cult following in Seattle—closed its Portland location on December 31 after less than two years in business. The ginger-beer bar, across from the Bagdad Theater at 3646 SE Hawthorne Blvd, never quite piqued Portland’s interest in the same way it did for our neighbors to the north. Says owner Rachel Marshall: “We have a big project coming up in Seattle, and all the back and forth between here and Portland has stretched us too thin ... we have every intention of [re]opening down the road.”
Back in 2014, we declared Israeli-born Yair Maidan’s food cart falafel some of the best in the city. A year later, he opened up a micro-restaurant in NE Sandy’s the Zipper with inspired dips, bowls, salads, and the main attraction: fluffy, fresh-ground Washington chickpeas fried to achieve a thick lusciously textured shell. Chickpeadx closed for good on December 30, according to a Facebook announcement. It also hints at a new project: “On a positive note, we will be back with a new name and great (we hope) new menu for y’all in February.” Stay tuned.
EaterPDX reports that one of Portland’s O.G. food carts is no more: Southeast Hawthorne’s Cartopia lynchpin from owner Dustin Knox closed up shop on December 31. Here’s an excerpt from PoMo food critic Karen Brooks on its opening a decade ago: “Knox ... had a vision: a theatrical crepe cart with renegade combos that could be folded like obsessive laundry into large-format, paper-wrapped packets right before your eyes. He found a relic food wagon at a fairground in Seattle and remodeled it with copper-lined details. Three weeks later, he pulled up his shiny white vehicle next to Potato Champion, filled it with music and gauzy light, and gave it a fancy name, 'Perierra Creperie.' From the open storefront-sized window, steam from humongous cast-iron griddles rose like a fog machine; the Notorious B.I.G. rapped so emphatically, the wagon swayed like a hula dancer.” The cart is slated to reopen as “Wild Mountain Honey” in February. No word yet on a concept or menu.