Everybody Eats, a restaurant from Johnny Huff Jr. and Marcell Goss, is moving across the river this month. The business, which got its start in catering in 2016, recently moved into its first brick-and-mortar in May 2020 inside the Oriental Value Food market on SE Powell and 172nd, offering takeout, counter service restaurant, and catering (though orders have been limited due to the pandemic). But with no street-facing presence, limited seating, and no full liquor license, the duo decided to move elsewhere to open the restaurant of their dreams. In early March, they plan to open a brand-new restaurant on 10th Avenue in the Pearl, complete with indoor and outdoor seating, a full bar, brunch, lunch, and dinner service, and late-night hours (well, 11 p.m.—that’s relatively late for Portland, especially in a pandemic)—all in an atmosphere that’s welcoming, vibrant, and fun.
“[I was] born and raised in Portland. I dine out quite often. I haven’t seen nothing close to what we’re gonna do,” says Huff, who grew up in Northeast Portland. “I believe we’re one of the only Black-owned restaurants in the Pearl. We’re definitely going to be bringing a different kind of vibe to Portland and downtown.”
At Everybody Eats, Huff and Goss serve up their own flavor of Southern-meets-Pacific-Northwest cooking. Huff learned to cook from his family, who hail from various parts of the South including Houston and New Orleans. His grandfather, a former Navy chef, would cook massive amounts of food for family get-togethers.
What can we expect from the restaurant? Count on creative, cheffy twists on classics, says Huff, who attended Oregon Culinary Institute with Goss. At brunch, straightforward dishes like chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits will complement inventive dishes like peach cobbler chicken and waffles. For dinner: glazed lamb chops with sides like mashed potatoes and asparagus and Cajun pasta. The showstopper is the ultimate seafood mac and cheese—Tillamook cheese sauce mixed with crab, lobster, and shrimp, then topped with a Tillamook Mexican cheese blend, half a lobster tail, a half pound of king crab meat, and two prawns.
With capacity restrictions in place, the owners say the restaurant will seat about 40 people indoors and 20 people outdoors. There’ll be a full bar slinging Southern-inspired drinks like peach margaritas and daiquiris, plus a sound system with occasional guest DJs, TVs for watching sports, and a backdrop for taking photos. They also say weekly events like Taco Tuesdays are on the horizon, featuring specials like oxtail quesadillas.
Everybody Eats' mission is about more than food. As Portland Monthly reported back in June 2020, Huff and Goss partnered with former mayoral candidate Teressa Raiford to feed 200 Black Lives Matter supporters for free. In November, they gave away baskets of fish, shrimp, and chicken, and for Thanksgiving, they gave away turkeys to families in need. “The way I was brought up, it was like, if you got something, whether it's like food, money or whatever... you got to make sure everybody eat,” Huff says. “It is your duty to make sure that everyone else has it, whether you've given them a piece of yours, or you showing them how to get it.”
Huff and Goss also recently registered their new nonprofit, Black and Blue PDX. Ten percent of proceeds from Everybody Eats will support the nonprofit, which aims to keep Black youth out of the criminal justice system by forging positive connections between at-risk youth and police officers.
“We’re trying to separate the void, the tension that the Black community have toward police, basically over a meal. We teach them how to make a meal, and they make a meal together, and through the meal and their dialogue, they talk about where each other comes from,” Huff explains. “When they see each other in the community, if anything happens with the kids, like they get into a fight at school, the officers know the student before a situation occurs, so they don’t have to judge them off [that] interaction [alone]. It’s like, ‘I actually know this kid because we made ultimate seafood mac together, so I kinda understand what this kid is going through.’ It doesn’t have to immediately lead to charges. The cop can basically de-escalate the situation before it leads to a Black youth being [placed] into the system.”
Everybody Eats (138 NW 10th Avenue) will be open until 11 p.m. for takeout, dine-in, and delivery on all major platforms. Stay tuned on the restaurant’s Instagram page, @everybodyeats503.