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Portland’s Beloved 180 Xurros & Xocolata Gets a New Lease on Life, Literally

In February, Ataula’s Jose Chesa will reprise a mini-version of his seriously missed xurro and drinking chocolate shop inside downtown’s new Hyatt Centric hotel

By Karen Brooks January 8, 2020

180’s Xurro Relleno stuffed with Crema Catalana

In its too-short, two year run on NE Broadway, 180 Xurros and Xocalata was a stairway to heaven—a blissful taste of Barcelona’s famed cinnamon-sugar-dusted xurros, sided by playful dipping sauces and outrageous drinking chocolate. In 2016, the year it opened, both Bon Appetit and Portland Monthly proclaimed it “the dessert of the year.” By 2018, following a bruising snowstorm, it was toast, along with its Spanish-modern restaurant next door, Chesa.

How crushed were diners? Owners Jose Chesa and Cristina Baez, who helm Northwest’s acclaimed Ataula, said they never stopped getting emails, weeping emoji, and real estate scouting tips from fans. 

“Please come to Alabama,” said one. “We’ll never let you down.”

Jose Chesa and Cristina Báez

Now, as Portland Monthly has learned, a scaled-down version will be reborn inside the lobby of the soon-to-open 15-story Hyatt Centric hotel on the corner of SW Alder and 11th, tentatively scheduled for February. The new iteration of 180 Xurros and Xocalata will serve grab-and-go Spanish flauta sandwiches, smoky pimenton lattes, and hot xurros to order at its long tile and stone counter. It will stand as a super casual companion piece to the Chesa’s next project, Masia (pronounced “mah-seeya”), the hotel’s anchor restaurant (read our October 2019 news story here). Those xurros will make an appearance at Masia, too, during the rustic-refined Spanish breakfast and brunch. 

The idea is to create a comfy lobby-lounge hangout, featuring the kind of snacks not typically found at a hotel. The ready-to-go menu will include 180’s chocolate-covered bañados, a pre-dipped and cooled xurro with a choice of toppings, like homemade Oreos and sea salt, or chocolate/caramel/peanuts. Ataula’s famed custard-filled xuixo pastry (I call it the Catalan cronut) will also be on hand, and Chesa is creating a xoco-chip cookie (take note: he’s in the soft and chunky camp).

For coffee, the Chesas are collaborating with Portland’s Never Coffee Lab, known for colorful shops and creative lattes. Baez expects the Dulce de Leche latte to be the house signature, featuring Masia’s homemade caramel. 

As for those xurros: we won’t get to see them made right before our eyes as they were at the original 180. But they will be fresh-to-order from Masia’s kitchen, 45 feet away. A classic version will be on hand, sold by the half-dozen or dozen, as well as 180’s acclaimed stuffed relleno versions, plumped with dulce de leche (Bon Appetit’s favorite), Nutella (Portland’s favorite, of course) and caramel-roasted peanuts.

On the savory side, expect a handful of flautas—traditional, crispy-thin sandwiches that make room for things like potato tortillas, iberico choizo, confit tuna, and smoked peppers, or manchego cheese with quince paste and caramelized onions. The Chesas will import the crispy, bubbly bread from Barcelona, which he remembers from his youth. “Oh my goodness, it’s so good,” he exclaims. “It was the cause of my chubbiness as a child.”  

As 180 returns, we might all be gaining a few pounds in our future.  Hours will be 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Stay tuned for more details. 

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