Mirisata, Portland’s only Sri Lankan restaurant, has found a brick-and-mortar location at 2420 SE Belmont St, Eater PDX announced yesterday. Its preview dinner service will take place Thursday, October 1, and the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner starting this Friday.
This year has been a series of starts and stops for Mirisata, which is also a BIPOC worker-owned cooperative. The idea came from its first member, Alex (the Mirisata team asked us to refer to members of the collective by first name only, to emphasize the collective over the individual), who grew up eating Sri Lankan dishes prepared by his father. Mirisata started in March as a pop-up, sit-down dinner series that harnessed the expertise of its second member, Simar, who had worked in vegan restaurants for years—only to close after the first dinner due to the pandemic. In June, the cooperative began popping up in Northeast Portland for takeout only, and it soon welcomed its third member, Rochelle. Within about three months, it had gained a sizable following in the local Sri Lankan community and beyond, serving more than a thousand plates of rice and curry. But in mid-September, the cooperative got word it would have to leave its pop-up location. Less than a month later, the group is opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
The restaurant, which will be open for lunch and dinner Thursday through Sunday, will serve an all-day menu that includes kottu, Sri Lanka’s most popular street food, parippu vade (pigeon fritters), and lovecake (a dessert made with coconut treacle, cashews, and melon candy), along with curry and rice plates for dinner. The new location offers limited outdoor seating; orders are also available for takeout and delivery. Keep an eye out for new menu items, which will be added as soon as the cooperative hires and trains new members and waits for special equipment to arrive from Sri Lanka. By the end of October, the restaurant plans to expand its hours to at least six days a week.