This was a tough year for the food industry. After two years of pandemic fatigue, rising costs of food, and labor shortages, 2022 wore on many restaurant and food cart owners' spirits, not to mention their finances. These are the restaurants and food carts that closed this year that we'll remember most.
For years, through several owners, this NE Fremont storefront paid tribute to New Orleans, flying in gulf shrimp and turtle meat, busting out bananas Foster to spoon over pain perdue, making house andouille, and nailing a proper Sazerac. In January 2022, after 20 years and recent pandemic trials for the restaurant, chef Seamus Foran posted a simple, heartfelt goodbye note, thanking diners and staffers “for helping make this place feel like home.”
Bark City BBQ
Shortly after making Food & Wine’s list of “The Best Barbecue in Every State” and PoMo’s list of best spots for Southern-style barbecue, Bark City announced its closure this September. Chef and owner Michael Keskin, an alum of Podnah’s Pit, moved to Arizona earlier this year to be closer to family, closing his barbecue cart that brought together Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, and Kansas City styles.
In 2021, veteran chef Ian Munzert, an alum of one-Michelin-starred Commonweath, gambled that Portland's food scene was not dead, but ready to welcome fresh faces and ideas, including his live-fire ode to Spanish cooking in a historic North Portland home. The star of the menu may have been tocinillo de cielo, a flanner-than-flan Spanish custard known as “bacon from heaven.” The timing didn't work out, a committed customer base never arrived, and Munzert, for now, has left the restaurant business after closing Brasa Haya in June. We hope he will reconsider.
When it opened in 2008, Nate Tilden’s restaurant-bar was the epitome of the New Portland, with its communal tables, chic bar, edgy menu, and Ace Hotel and Stumptown neighbors in downtown's West End. You think Kann is loud? You were never at Clyde Common in the day. Bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler's barrel-aged cocktails were part of the mystique. The pandemic hit hard, and despite a few stop-gap pivots, Clyde Common closed in January with a sobering message from Tilden about “the ongoing decline in our downtown city” and the difficulty of operating in a high-rent district without tourists and office workers.
Plans to open this 2,000-square-foot Italian food hall kicked off prepandemic, but it opened in September 2020 in an uncertain world. Helmed by former Irving Street Kitchen owners Sarah Schafer and Anna Caporael, the restaurant-market-bar hybrid served house-made pasta and pizza, plus Spella coffee, Pinolo gelato, and imported Italian goods. It closed in September 2022.
We were so excited about Fills' Berliner-style doughnuts in 2021 that we ate them all and ranked them to boot. Los Angeles bakery alum Katherine Benvenuti broke out during the pandemic as a serious talent at the now-closed Bakery at Bar King. The shop, a member of the ChefStable group, relocated from downtown Portland to Lake Oswego's Mercado Grove apartment and retail complex, and then closed in October due to low sales this year. LO, how could you do this to us?
Handsome Pizza and Seastar Bakery
Restaurant industry burnout is a real thing, and in August, it happened to co-owners Katia Bezerra-Clark, Will Fain, and Annie Moss, who opened the Killingsworth Street restaurant back in 2015. We’ll remember them for pastries including the turmeric Zena cakes, cinnamon rolls, and apricot-cardamom tarts, while pizza toppings ranged from ricotta to za’atar, plus pay-what-you-can cheese pies.
Hissyfit lasted only a month, between July and August 2022, but it was the end of a complicated and storied run from one of Portland’s most-talked-about chefs of the past few years, who ultimately decided to leave the industry. In 2015, Maya Lovelace's pop-up, Mae, served a prix fixe menu inspired by her grandmother’s North Carolina soul food. She famously told stories of childhood and served mythical, heirloom fried chicken. The jump to a two-part brick-and-mortar in 2019 (Mae and an adjoining casual concept, Yonder) never quite found its footing, since the pandemic hit shortly after. In summer 2020, Lovelace made waves when she anonymously reposted direct messages she received on Instagram from employees at other local restaurants alleging chefs’ toxic behavior in the workplace. But Lovelace eventually found herself among the accused, with employees describing their own experiences of toxic work culture at Yonder. Yonder operated through most of the pandemic serving fried chicken and biscuits in a fast-casual setting. Hissyfit was a reinvention of the space, with a menu and setting meant for lavish post-lockdown dinners.
Lac St. Jack
The Lake Oswego iteration of the bistro that opened in 2010 on SE Clinton and moved to Northwest Portland (and continues to evolve, maintaining its well-deserved relevance) was part of a wave of suburban outposts from the ChefStable group; it closed in October. A statement from the restaurant said simply that the location didn’t drum up enough business. While this venture didn’t pan out, its siblings St. Jack NW and La Moule seem to be thriving, as well as the recently-opened wine bar in partnership with chef-owner Aaron Barnett, Heavenly Creatures.
Mitate, one of the original food carts at the CORE pod, won over the hearts of vegans and seafood lovers alike with rolls that combined the likes of cauliflower, apple, and artichoke heart to create a crab-like roll, or nigiri featuring prime avocado with silky olive oil. The cart closed in April, its owners citing the heavy workload of running it.
Cheryl Wakerhauser's Franco-pastry haven is still turning out classics like its signature Amélie (a chocolate mousse and orange crème brûlée mashup, named for the film) but only by way of special orders and a pair of the famed Pix-O-Matics: regularly stocked patisserie vending machines. In July, Wakerhauser closed down her storefront, as well as the adjoining tapas bar, Bar Vivant, and put an end to her two-decade stint as host to one of Portland’s late-night pastry destinations.
Ripe Cooperative was a stab at a new kind of restaurant, made over from what was Naomi Pomeroy’s James Beard Award–winning Northeast Portland prix fixe spot, Beast. In its year of operation, Ripe grew from a marketplace to a hybrid café to a Europhile’s dream of a sidewalk restaurant, as COVID regulations waned. All the while, prices reflected the actual cost of production—and they weren’t cheap. Pomeroy’s goal: to craft a slice of Europe in Portland, and to use her stature as a celebrated chef to change the perception of what high-quality, local food costs in a restaurant setting. In October, 15 years after Pomeroy first opened Beast in the same space, she ended the lease and moved on. “Ripe is simply not cut out to make the necessary compromises and still be what we want it to be,” she wrote in a public letter. Pomeroy and husband Kyle Linden Webster continue to run the escapist bar Expatriate across the street, and the couple are continuing work on their years-in-the-making project of opening a restaurant in the Ace Hotel’s Kyoto outpost.
Chef Diane Lam’s personal, playful take on contemporary Cambodian cuisine made a splash in its multiple forms, from a pop-up at Psychic Bar to a Slabtown restaurant, which closed in December. We’ll greatly miss Lam’s lime pepper chicken wings and Phnom Penh noodle soup as she heads off to San Francisco for a few years to focus on the craft of cooking.
Tails and Trotters
Pork, once worshipped in Portland like the Buddha, waved one of its biggest flags this year with the July closure of this famed butchery-meets-deli, launched in 2007. Unlike in Spain, where pigs are fed acorns, Tails and Trotters’ point of pride was pigs fed like the rest of us, on Northwest hazelnuts. Even the Food Network’s Guy Fieri fell under its spell, calling it a “smorgasbord of pork.” The shop was getting its legs again after 2017's costly fire when the pandemic hit along with rising costs.
The beloved English football pub was a boon for local soccer fans, serving proper English breakfasts and broadcasting countless matches in the wee hours, including an epic World Cup viewing party to end their tenure in December. Looking ahead, the owners are focusing attention toward Away Days Brewing Co, their English brewery and taproom next door (1516 SE 10th Ave).
Before YaYa, shops selling Cantonese roast meats were concentrated in the Jade District, plus longtime favorite Chen’s Good Taste in Chinatown. In June 2021, Peking-duck-obsessed former journalist Steve Chin opened this spot on NE Alberta Street selling barbecue pork, roast duck, and soy sauce chicken with the backing of prolific restaurateur Micah Camden, but it closed in August, with Chin citing issues including staffing shortages, supply chain issues, and rising food costs.