Category: Bar

Dzô Opens on NE Glisan

This month, Dzô Bar and Grill opened at 7907 NE Glisan Street, offering a lineup of Asian-inspired cocktails and Vietnamese food. This Vietnamese American sports bar blends classic pub menu items with dishes like Phở and fried rice. The full bar offers a wide range of cocktails, imported beers, and microbrews. Patrons can watch a variety of games playing on four large-screen televisions while enjoying their drink or meal.

Owner, Sam Nguyen, explained that the bar’s name originates from a customary expression of celebration. “Dzô is pronounced yo in Vietnamese, and it just means cheers. It’s a tradition in Vietnam where they count 1-2-3-Dzô” before drinking. It represents the communal and friendly environment that Nguyen wants to cultivate inside her establishment.

Nguyen and her husband, Hao Le, started this bar as an enjoyable way to shift away from their demanding careers. Nguyen is a working physician assistant (PA), and the recent trend in her workplace has made it less fulfilling. “I just feel burnt out from my job, especially during COVID,” said Nguyen. Packed hospitals and heightened patient demands caused her to reconsider how she wanted to spend her workdays. Sam Nguyen found this space thanks to her sister, who owns the Thanh Billiards club next door. The building’s owner completely renovated the storefronts in 2020, leaving all but the billiards location vacant. This location, with built-in customers from the neighboring business, was just the opportunity Nguyen and Le were looking for.

The bar’s owners did not anticipate how long the City’s permitting process would take when starting the build-out process nearly two years ago. Fortunately, the landlord helped with the rent while they waited for permit approvals. The extended spin-up time allowed the owners to gradually create a well-finished interior. The newly built-out space features a modern rustic design with wainscoting wrapping the dinning-room and white subway tile framing the full kitchen. Colorful LED light strips highlight details throughout the bar, and directional overhead lighting creates a visual definition around each table.

Nguyen and Le are adjusting the drink and food menus over the next few months based on customer demand and feedback. However, some items are already a hit. Nguyen is particularly proud of their Lychee Lime Fizz cocktail and Phở. The owners have two staff helping them run the location, and they are open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Wednesdays. Stop by with some friends and toast with a “cheers” or “Dzô” as you see fit.


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Montavilla’s Saturday Winter Celebration

Two events will attract visitors to Montavilla’s commercial corridors this Saturday evening. Winter Wassail along NE Glisan Street features festive beverages, snacks, carolers, and holiday lighting. Participating stores and restaurants between 82nd and 68th Avenues will remain open for last-minute holiday gifts and festivities. People are invited to Wassail (Go from location to location caroling and/or drinking in merriment) on Glisan from 4 to 8 p.m. this December 17th.

Promotional image provide by event coordinators

That same night, SE Stark Street businesses will host the Montavilla Soiree & Pub Crawl from 6 to 9 p.m. The Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) organized this winter celebration in the historic downtown to support neighborhood businesses as they enjoy the best parts of the colder months.

Promotional image provide by event coordinators

Drinkers, shoppers, and anyone looking for a fun Saturday night can explore the collection of holiday-themed cocktails, food specials, live music, and late-night last-minute shopping in one big evening event. No matter where you reside, some part of Montavilla will have an activity to warm your spirit on a cold night.


These are some of the participating businesses on Glisan Street:

These are some of the participating businesses on Stark Street:

Rahabs Sisters will be collecting gloves, hats, jackets, blankets, and tents. Drop off locations will be Union Rose and Wink Vintage.


Disclosure: The author if this article serves on the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) board. METBA sponsors some of these events.

Montavilla Street Fair Returns Sunday

After a two-year hiatus, the Montavilla Street Fair returns this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with family-friendly entertainment. Event organizers will block automotive access to SE Stark Street from 82nd Avenue to 76th Avenue on July 31st, making way for the expected 10,000 visitors. Attendees can eat, drink, and shop at 122 vendor booths. Nine music acts span two stages, and a pair of beer gardens offer adult beverages.

Since 2011, the street fair has welcomed Portlanders from all over the city to the historic Montavilla Downtown. Organized by theMontavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA), this yearly event highlights the unique businesses and groups in the neighborhood. This year’s Montavilla Street Fair is presented by Adventist Health Portland and Mr. Plywood, with sponsorship by over a dozen other businesses.

METBA invites everyone to stop by throughout the day and take in all that Montavilla has to offer. Organizers will provide public portable restrooms in mutable places along SE Stark street, and food vendors will offer many options to eat at the event. Drivers should expect detours starting at 6 a.m. on July 31st and continue through the evening up to 8:30 p.m. Anticipate crowded street parking in the surrounding area and plan for extended walking to and through the event.

Plaza Stage Music Schedule:

  • 10:00 AM – Tallulah’s Daddy (for kids!) – Matt Lynch (Tallulah’s Daddy) is a children’s music entertainer active in the Kindie Music scene in PDX.
  • 11:30 AM – Mo Phillips (for kids!) – Mo Phillips is a teaching artist and a fun time maker who teaches songwriting in schools and shreds ukulele for the people.
  • 1:00 PM – Norwester Sky – Original tunes that feel timeless while making the Americana songbook feel new again. These fellas take great pride in their craft and love to jam.
  • 2:30 PM – Jermaine – Hailing from gospel choirs in the midwest, Jermaine’s charismatic energy and passion for music is reflected in all of his solo and group efforts.
  • 4:00 PM – Friends of Noise – Friends of Noise provides resources, support and mentorship to youth that have something to say.

Main Stage Music Schedule:

  • 11:00 AM – Hiroki – Hiroki is a force of friends focused solely on grooves, vibes, the result is something smooth; something tasty.
  • 12:30 PM – Five Letter Word – Mix three singer-songwriters, several stringed instruments, and a variety of percussive techniques, and you get Five Letter Word.
  • 2:00 PM – Reb & the Good News – Rebecca Conner’s heart-centered, velvet vocals are delivered with a vulnerability that unravels listeners down to their core.
  • 3:30 PM – Moorea Masa & Friends – “Irresistible and staggeringly beautiful, Masa displays a delicate balance of restraint and raw power.”- The Oh Es Tee

Disclosure: The author of this article servers on the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association, 82nd Avenue Business Association, and Montavilla Neighborhood Association Boards. All three groups have booths at this year’s street fair.

Thai Me Drunken Noodle at Growler’s Taproom

After an unexpected delay, Thai Me Drunken Noodle will officially open at 803 SE 82nd Avenue this Wednesday, July 13th. Cart operator Tyler Pathammavong has quietly served guests from this location over the last few days. Now, he is ready to welcome the full volume of customers looking for his Northern Thai-style fried chicken and noodle dishes. The food cart follows Growler’s Taproom operating hours of 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Wednesday through Friday, and 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Weekends.


Article first published May 18th, 2022.

Later this month, Thai Me Drunken Noodle will open a food cart connected to Growler’s Taproom at 803 SE 82nd Avenue. The new eatery fills the space left vacant by Erica’s Soul Food, which relocated to 120 NE Russell Street earlier this year. Unlike previous carts working from this location, the food and beer businesses will partner to offer a unified dining destination and operate as a single location.

Tyler Pathammavong has operated the original Thai Me Drunken Noodle cart at 2810 NE Glisan Street for the past six months. That location started after Pathammavong sold his other businesses to new owners and focused on a Northern Thai-style fried chicken and noodle-centric menu. He has seventeen years of experience cooking Thai and Laotian dishes, a passion that began after his younger brother immigrated from Laos and started working in the industry. A natural hard worker, Pathammavong’s food service career paralleled his 25 years at the United States Postal Service (USPS). Now retired from the USPS, Tyler Pathammavong and his wife Leng are refocusing all efforts on their food creations.

Thai Me Drunken Noodle at NE 28th Ave and Glisan Street

The Thai Me Drunken Noodle menu takes inspiration from the owner’s appetites and the foods his mother taught him to prepare. “I just cook whatever I [would] wanna eat at home,” explained Tyler Pathammavong. The cart’s specialty is a Laotian-style fried chicken served over sticky rice with a sauce made from a family recipe. Embracing the shared culinary history of Laos and Northern Thailand, Pathammavong transforms the traditional recipes with a personal adaptation that creates a one-of-a-kind menu. Outside of the chicken, most dishes forgo the traditional white rice and instead feature noodles. “My [dishes] might not be exactly like most Thai food, ’cause I use everything noodle, even in my Curry.” Said Pathammavong.

Although the Northeast Portland cart will remain open for a while, the partnership with Growler’s Taproom is the long-term focus for the cart operator. The taproom’s owner, Joe Rodgers, explained that the new cart is an extension of his business. “It’s more of a brick and mortar kind of feel, but we are adjusting it where the kitchen is in the cart.” The food and bar service will maintain the same hours and offer a combined food and beer menu. Currently, Growler’s is open Wednesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to Midnight. Rodgers plans to expand the hours to feature an earlier 2 p.m. start and a seven-day-a-week schedule when the food service begins.

Joe Rodgers and Tyler Pathammavong are actively working on an updated menu to pair with the beer selections. The partners are also working to integrate food service into Growler’s popular Star Trek trivia, live music, movies, and comedy nights. Look for schedules and updates at the Growler’s Taproom website. For those who want to preview some of the creations coming later this May, consider stopping by the Thai Me Drunken Noodle cart at 2810 NE Glisan Street.

SE 79th Ave Plaza Reopens July 1st

Tomorrow, July 1st, the Montavilla Public Plaza reopens for its second year at SE 79th Avenue and Stark Street. The public gathering space will feature outdoor furniture and event space for community use. Last year, the space coordinators provided musical-themed programming to activate the area. This time, in a partnership with Montavilla Farmers Market, the Plaza will feature an evening min-market on Thursday nights.

Starting on Thursday, July 7th, five farm and food vendors will set up in the Plaza from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Moorish RootsKulfiSebastiano’s, and Threshold Brewing & Blending are some of the confirmed participants making an appearance. An assortment of vendors will return each Thursday this summer, with the final evening market held on September 29th.

This mid-week market is possible through a Vibrant Spaces Community Events Activation Fund grant from the City of Portland, in conjunction with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Public Street Plaza Program. As with last year, the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) is hosting this public space to encourage outdoor recreation in the center of the neighborhood’s historic downtown area. All people, families, dogs, and outside food are welcome in the Plaza.

The Thursday evening Montavilla Farmers Market is in addition to its weekly market on Sundays at 7700 SE Stark Street. The Plaza will also feature live music and other entertainment events throughout the summer. Plaza organizers will post updated information on the METBA events calendar

Drivers who use SE 79th Avenue should plan an alternate path, as the roadway is closed to through traffic from SE Stark Street to SE Pine Street. Local vehicle access to homes and businesses on the Street is permitted. This year, METBA staff expect the Montavilla Public Plaza to repeat last year’s success, attracting residents and visitors to the area during the warm season. Look for activities to begin in the space next week and continue through September.

Update: Thursday Night Montavilla Market Opens

Sign from March 2022 PBOT event renewing Street Plazas

Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the METBA Board.

Rabbit Hole Sweetshop

Last month, Rabbit Hole Market and Sweets quietly opened in Montavilla town at 414 SE 80th Ave. The shop occupies the former Hungry Heart Bakery space, made available after the restaurant relocated to SE Stark Street. Both businesses are the creation of Jax Hart, and the two locations work together to meet the varied appetites of customers throughout the day.

Hart quietly reopened the SE 80th shopfront on April 15th. Although covered in Bridgetown Bites, the opening was unpublicized, allowing staff time to work out the kinks in the shop’s operation and perfect the menu options. The first few weeks primarily focused on mastering the soft-serve ice cream machines that require an expert’s hand to operate. Rabbit Hole is now ready for customers but will continue to add products and features to the shop over the coming months.

Rabbit Hole staff are preparing for an expected busy summer season with more people out in the neighborhood looking for treats. “We’re [open] Thursday through Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and that’ll probably extend as we get into summer and see what time people are looking for the ice cream and sweets.” Said Hart. The two shops have a short overlap in operating hours but essentially split the day. Hungry Heart operates from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., serving the morning and lunchtime crowd. Rabbit Hole’s hours catch the afternoon and evening dessert seekers. That schedule allows Hart to balance their attention between the two establishments. “I kind of just go where I’m needed,” explained Hart.

The second location is more than a way to expand operations. Hart wants the Rabbit Hole to offer a different customer experience than the busy restaurant on Stark Street. Reopening in the original location is a way to reconnect with the roots of the business. “When we started, the intention was to just be a small neighborhood dessert shop and be a little bit more slower paced and low key. So our hope for this space was to have a little bit more time to engage with people,” said Hart. “It’s really been nice to welcome people into this space again.”

Hart moved the customer-pleasing Hungry Heart cupcakes and the macarons to the Rabbit Hole location. Over time, they expect to expand the confectionary options. However, Hart knew that the cold treats needed to be part of the new shop from day one. “We’re also doing soft serve ice cream because we had previously done Heartbreaker [ice cream shop], and people loved having ice cream in the neighborhood.”

Rabbit Hole features two soft serve machines, one of which is a dedicated non-dairy use. “So currently that machine has Oatly vegan vanilla and dole whip, which is a pineapple soft-serve,” explained Hart. As they settle in, Rabbit Hole staff will rotate flavors and begin to offer dipped cones with various toppings and sundaes.

Beyond Rabbit Hole’s display cases, staff have stocked shelves with a collection of packaged food items, books, and plants. Hart is working with suppliers from the area to provide a variety of market items to compliment the sweet shop. Hart explains that many people stopping in are picking up supplies for a celebration. “When people come in for cupcakes, it’s for a party, it’s for a gift, or it’s for a friend who just graduated.” The plants and other gift-able items make the shop a one-stop location for those looking to arrive at a party prepared. Soon the store will stock cards from local letterpress companies to complete the present giving collection that Rabbit Hole provides.

Hart expects to enhance the shop’s offerings beyond its products and menu. The indoor seating area will soon support a flexible teaching space for vendors who want to offer cooking classes. “We’ll be able to do these small, intimate neighborhood cooking classes and kids cooking classes.” Hart also explained the shop would soon gain outdoor seating. “We have an application in for a Healthy Business permit, which would be one of those seating areas that take up a parking spot, so we’re going to wait and see if we can either get a 20 foot or a 40 foot [space].”

Recently, staff have focused on setting the right environment for the shop and opening the doors to customers. After they complete the physical storefront, Hart said they will next work to open the website to the public. “We’ll have the menus on the website, and we’ll have an ordering page. [People can] order cupcakes online, and we’ll have an online store for all of the Market items.”

Christening the new location Rabbit Hole Market and Sweets is part of a larger project that began years ago but put on hold by the pandemic. Jax Hart revealed that the Stark street location would eventually change names in alignment with the original intention for the space. “We’re working on rebranding Hungry Heart to White Rabbit,” said Hart. However, they don’t expect to make that change soon, as the cost is not insignificant. Regardless of the timing, the relationship between the two shops will be unmistakable when they complete the rebranding process.

The public is encouraged to pop in and see what sweets or plants Rabbit Hole offers. Look for new items and events later this year and know that a cool sweet treat is just down the street on the coming warm days of summer.


PBOT Extends On-Street Seating and Public Plazas

At a press conference Monday, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) announced plans to extend two pandemic relief programs and work to make them permanent. PBOT Director Chris Warner joined Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty to highlight the successes of the Healthy Businesses permits and Portland Public Street Plazas program. The free Healthy Businesses permits will extend through August 31st and then require businesses to pay a fee for parking space seating.

At this week’s event, Neil Mattson spoke about Montavilla’s successful Street Plaza and how both programs supported the neighborhood during difficult times. As president of the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association, Mattson led the development of the community plaza on SE 79th Avenue. PBOT staff recognized this public gathering space as one of the program’s success stories and welcomed its return this season. Mattson confirmed the plaza’s restorative influence on the area. “It really showed that when we take back the street and we use it as a place for coming together, that it does build community.”

Neil Mattson, president of the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association

Mattson further explained the essential service provided to the community through PBOT’s free permits for parking lane dining areas. “In Montavilla, we have 24 businesses currently offering outdoor seating. If we hadn’t had the ability to have the Healthy Businesses permits, those businesses, I’m pretty confident [they] would all be gone today.” The success of these fresh-air extensions of restaurants and bars is evident through how they transformed over time. What began as roped-off parking spaces soon grew into three-sided sheds dotting curbs throughout the neighborhood.

When PBOT first rolled out the program, they envisioned umbrellas and tents, not wood structures with corrugated roofs. The sturdy construction that indicates success could conflict with the Healthy Businesses program’s transition into a permanent City amenity. Starting September 1st, all permit holders will need to renew their permits for the program. The renewal process will include a compliance review that will likely require modifications to what businesses have constructed over the last two years.

Dylan Rivera, PBOT’s Public Information Officer, explained how businesses might need to adjust as the Healthy Businesses program matures. “There are people out there, businesses who put tables in the street without even coming to us for a permit, even though the Permit was free,” said Rivera. For those establishments, compliance will start with a permit application and reworking their space within the guidelines.

Other business owners have permits but obstructed the public right-of-way or constructed outdoor seating beyond what is allowed. PBOT has concerns that pedestrians and wheelchairs can not navigate the sidewalk through some seating configurations. Corrections will mostly center on maintaining the required six feet of sidewalk clearance. The more challenging conflicts will arise from overbuilt outdoor seating. “There are people out of compliance right now, and we need to have a conversation with them,” said Rivera.

PBOT will have conversations with permit holders throughout the spring and continue into the summer. The goal is to contain outdoor seating in temporary movable structures. “This summer, we’re hoping to start talking about what are some sensible guidelines to help with vision clearance, especially close to crosswalks and intersections, and what does temporary look like?” Said Rivera. “There’ll be lots of conversations and then warnings.”  

PBOT’s primary concern is for the preservation of safety and to maintain access to public spaces. Much of Portland’s infrastructure runs above the sidewalk or below the street, and utility workers need access along the road within a few days’ notice. Healthy Businesses seating areas must be able to move out of the way within that timeframe. PBOT is taking a soft approach to this transition. As the year moves closer to September, PBOT staff will speak to Healthy Businesses permit holders and provide guidance for the new rules. Dylan Rivera assures business owners that they are not pursuing imidate changes.

Although PBOT intends to make both programs permanent, the continuation of Healthy Businesses permits and the Street Plazas Program are contingent on funding from the Portland City Council. The long-term success of these community-strengthening initiatives is dependent on their inclusion in the City’s 2022-23 budget. Commissioner Hardesty encouraged Portlanders to voice their support for these PBOT programs to her fellow City Council members. Over the next six months, look for the return of Street Plazas and subtle changes to outdoor seating as businesses prepare for compliance requirements.


Disclosure – The author of this article serves on the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association Board.

Thai street food pop-up Wednesday

Next Wednesday, Threshold Brewing & Blending will host a special one-night Thai street food pop-up event. The renowned traveling chef, Dream Kasestatad, will serve his creations from the taproom at 403 SE 79th Avenue on February 2nd from 4 PM until supplies run out. Kasestatad’s Pranom Pop-Up then moves over to Ruse Brewing on February 3rd and 4th before continuing its nationwide journey.

Kasestatad is an actor and director who recently created an autobiographically inspired pilot episode of The Noodle Man, available on Amazon Prime Video. As depicted in the screen version of his life, Kasestatad used his cooking pedigree to bridge the financial gap between acting work. What began as a side-hustle soon became recognized as the skillful work of a culinary artist. His traveling pop-up business continues four generations of family tradition sharing their Thai food with the community.

Meat and vegan option are available at Pranom Pop-Up. Threshold will also offer plenty of beverage options to pair with the meal. This special event will likely sell out early, so mark your calendars and swing by early.


Images courtesy Pranom Pop-Up

Moto PDX Cafe Opens on Stark

This week, Moto PDX Cafe opened at 8826 SE Stark Street after months of preparation. The cafe celebrities the culture, art, and spectacle of performance motorcycle racing. Inside the bright white storefront, owner Brendan Jones creates a living room atmosphere with a wide variety of seating options conducive to intimate conversations or communal discussions around the cafe’s theme.

At one end of Moto PDX, couches surround a TV playing classic motorcycle races. Performance bikes and attire separate seating and add color to the white interior. Artwork placed on display throughout the cafe highlight artists who use motorcycle racing as their muse. Lining the back wall, coolers featuring beers, wines, and other chilled beverages glow with LED light.

Jones is building out the full menu during the winter but currently offers many variations on the panini sandwich. Staff prepare espresso and other coffee drinks at an art-wrapped counter upfront. Employees at the cafe are motorcycle riders and enthusiasts, making this a destination for riders and race fans to talk about their passion.

This winter, Jones will organically shape the cafe to meet his customer’s expectations. Previously he created The Big Legrowlski in downtown Portland. What started as a growler shop eventually grew into a live music venue, proving to Jones that adapting to customer needs is what makes enduring communal spaces. Using what he learned from The Big Legrowlski, Jones will take time with the early days of Moto PDX and not over program the cafe. Because of that approach, customers should stop in and see what they like and make requests.

With time, Moto PDX Cafe will grow around its customers into a gathering space for the community. They are open 7 AM to 7 PM Monday through Thursday, with extended operating hours of 7 AM to 10 PM on Friday and Saturday. There is parking in a private lot in front of the cafe where it is safe to leave your motorcycle… or car if you have to drive that day.

Glisan’s New Approach to Outdoor Seating

This month, Blank Slate Bar created unique outdoor seating on NE Glisan. Unlike other covered dining spaces constructed in curbside parking spaces, this open-walled shelter spans the entire width of the sidewalk, covering the whole pedestrian space. Its design is in response to concerns around customer seating adjacent to heavy traffic.

Over the last 18 months, bars and restaurants have relied on outdoor seating to serve customers safely during the pandemic. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) expanded those spaces through special free permits, accommodating a variety of seating configurations for the service industry. Most businesses in Montavilla chose to create Parking Plazas to serve guests. That style of outdoor seating converts space previously used for curbside parking into expanded sidewalk seating while maintaining adequate space for pedestrians. As the need for outdoor seating persisted, more substantial wood structures replaced temporary configurations. Most gained covered roofs and sidewalls.

This image and cover image by Weston Ruter

Regardless of the structure’s build quality, Parking Plazas have customers seated next to moving traffic with only a thin wood divider protecting people from passing vehicles. On slower streets, that is less of an issue. However, seating placed on SE Stark Street can feel dangerously close to fast-moving trucks and cars.

Compared to Stark Street, NE Glisan traffic is more hazardous. That reality caused Kierre Van De Veere, the Blank Slate Bark’s owner, to consider design alternatives for their outdoor seating. “We chose not to do parking space seating due to the busy nature of Glisan. So we worked with PBOT and our design team to come up with this option.” In this configuration, customers on Glisan have a parking lane buffer between vehicles and the tables.

Blank Slate Bar’s covered seating area features a transparent corrugated shed roof that extends from the front of the building to the curb and runs the entire width of the bar’s shopfront. The arrangement allows for two-person seating against the windows and larger group seating close to the curb. Pedestrians can walk through the center area in an arcade-style passageway between the tables. 

In addition to its unique placement, crews constructed the shelter out of large timbers. The result is a structure that seems permanent and intentional. People seem to appreciate the design used at Blank Slate Bar, according to Van De Veere. “We have gotten an overwhelmingly positive response from our customers and neighbors, who are always supporting us in any way they can.”

Regardless of the design, Van De Veere appreciates the impact of open-air seating on places like hers. “These outdoor spaces are a lifeline to small businesses.” The new seating is available just in time for winter and built to last for many years to come. Blank Slate Bar is located at 7201 NE Glisan Street Suite C and is open Tuesday through Saturday.