A new bar and restaurant will soon open in the former Wong’s King Seafood location. A recent Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) liquor license reveals that Excellent Cuisine is opening at 8733 SE Division, Suite 101.
The King Plaza building prominently displays a new Excellent Cuisine sign, replacing the Wong’s King Seafood sign. Not too much information is available regarding the new establishment. The liquor license application paperwork shows a checkbox for “Video Lottery Machines” on site. The application was filed by Y & W Trading LLC with owners Yu Xiong Zhang and Wan Fang Kuang. The owners’ names are listed on the application but crossed out and replaced with the LLC.
In the coming months, expect to see more information on the cuisine type and an opening date. Based on current indoor dining restrictions, it’s likely to be a while before they open. However, many are already excited to see this location filled with another restaurant.
In a scene reminiscent of the 1800s boomtown, Montavilla is lining its main streets with roughly constructed wood structures. These Parking Plazas first took the shape of roped-off areas along the street’s edge. A handful of tables were set in the place once used for parked cars, and customers were seated for an open-air experience. This experiment is an effort to offer dining in the era of COVID-19, and it has been successful during the summer months.
Customers came to their favorite bars and restraints, enjoying the novel setting along the street. Soon the ropes became fences, and then canopies appeared over some Parking Plazas. Now we see the addition of substantial structures with roofs—string lights inside zigzag along the ceiling, ready for the coming early-sunset. Montavilla businesses are preparing for a long fall and winter of outdoor dining, as the pandemic lasts longer than expected.
The weather has not yet turned cold and rainy, but we will feel the wet chill around us within two months. At that time, there will be a test on outdoor seating’s viability in the Pacific Northwest. Will people brave the cold for the social interactions we gain by going out?
2020 is the year of uncertainty, and the building along our streets is the best attempt to beat uncertainty with preparation. Hopefully, the people of modern Montavilla are as hearty as those who first created these streets two hundred years ago—joining our neighbors for a drink and meal on a cold and damp evening.
Construction is now complete on the much-anticipated restaurant taking over the former Country Cat location. This past weekend, Lazy Susan staff officially started dinner service, representing the diner’s official opening.
Kayla Morrell, of Lazy Susan, described the opening weekend as successful. “We’ve seen a fair amount of turnout for our first weekend of full-service dining, and hope that continues as word gets out in the neighborhood.”
Dinner service is available from 4 PM to 9 PM, Friday through Sunday. They expect to add Thursday dinner in the near future, as business ramps up. Lazy Susan will also begin opening for brunch on Sundays and Mondays. However, the exact time and date for brunch service are yet to be determined.
Lazy Susan’s dining area and bar are ready to accept customers, having been carefully worked on for months. However, indoor seating will remain closed. “While the situation with COVID continues, we plan to remain in a takeout and outdoor-dining only format.” Said Morrell.
The restaurant’s interior expresses both cozy and open feelings. Woodwork surrounds the interior on all surfaces and creates compartments within the space. However, the areas’ division is represented on the outer edges, making the core of the room open and expansive. Wood dominates all corners of Lazy Susan, but the variety of stains and finishes prevent it from feeling excessive. Recessed lighting and ornamental light-fixtures illuminate all the compartments, further creating defined space without walls. The contoured paneling of the ceiling and wood floors will reduce sound reflection, creating a comfortable volume, once the room is packed full of people. For now, customers will have to view the detailed woodwork and creative lighting through the windows.
The kitchen is updated to support the charcoal centric menu. Some eliminate are a holdover from the Country Cat. Two under-counter refrigerators and the six-burner range are original. The custom charcoal grill is all new and sits center stage in the open kitchen. Future customers will be able to sit kitchen-side to watch the seasonal creations sizzling.
Lazy Susan occupies the corner shopfront in the historic Dickson Drugs building, located at 7937 SE Stark Street. The second weekend of dinner service starts tonight at 4 PM.
Renowned Portland firm, Osmose Design, created Lazy Susan’s distinctive look.
Thatcher’s lounge is currently closed for renovations. They will be opening back up on July 27th. Located at 7906 SE Stark Street, the sports bar and breakfast spot is a fixture in Montavilla town.
Cody Palmer, manager at Thatcher’s, described the renovation as long overdue updating. “[We’re] tearing out decades-old carpet, laying down some wood floors, painting walls, adding TVs and window-side booth seating.”
In addition to the interior upgrades happening at Thatcher’s, they have some outside improvements planned. Starting this weekend, they will begin constructing a 40-foot Parking Plaza, using the parking spaces in front of the bar.
Patrons will not need to wait long before seeing the new upgrades to their favorite bar. In just two weeks, they expect to see many customers seated out on Stark Street or enjoying an updated experience inside.
As Montavilla restaurants and bars continue to reopen, Parking Plazas are now appearing on SE Stark Street. Businesses are converting parking spaces to extensions of their regular indoor seating.
Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) offers Healthy Businesses permits, enabling the closure of curbside parking and streets. These spaces allow business to distance customers from one-another, without sacrificing too much seating. Plazas like these are part of the PBOT Safe Streets Initiative and the hope is it will be a safer way to visit local businesses.
Vino Veritas, at 7835 SE Stark Street, was the first along Stark Street to open their Parking Plaza. Vino Veritas is a wine bar with a select offering of food items. Between 4PM and 9:30PM, the Parking Plaza is decorated with colorful umbrellas. They provide shade over a handful of tables, that are placed within the wine barrel parameter.
Redwood restaurant will open their Parking Plaza Wednesday, June 24th. This is the first day since the COVID-19 closure, that Redwood has opened for dine in and take out. Redwoods’ Parking Plaza is the most elaborate in Montavilla to date. They have constructed a double sided Shadow Box fence around the area, where others have just used rope or chain. Redwood is located at 7915 SE Stark Street.
Each business is using Parking Plaza in a method that matched their business. Threshold Brewing & Blending has their own take on a Parking Plazas, just around the corner from these two. While the weather is nice, these should be a good aid to deal with the challenges of reopening. Patrons can already be spotted making use of these outdoor venues, to the relief of many business owners.
Threshold Brewing & Blending is one of the first Montavilla businesses to setup a PBOT sanctioned Parking Plaza. This outdoor seating option takes over designated street parking spaces. The additional space allows businesses to serve customers outside and reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Located at 403 SE 79th Ave, Threshold Brewing & Blending offers beer on tap and a small selection of food items. Their Parking Plaza extends the width of the building. Four additional tables now join the existing two outdoor tables.
In response to COVID-19 restrictions, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) created the Safe Streets Initiative. Part of this initiative is the Healthy Businesses permit, which allows for Parking Plazas like this one. Parking Plazas are the smallest space that can be reserved for seating. It is possible to take over a lane of traffic and the curb side parking. PBOT will also allow side streets and main street closures. However, none of the larger Plazas configurations have been proposed for Montavilla.
PBOT hopes that additional outdoor seating will lessen the business impact of the increased table spacing, required in Phase 1 reopening. Many businesses are only able to seat half the number of guests, compared to before the restrictions. Outdoor seating could also attract customers still fearful of visiting public spaces. The safety of outdoor activities has been touted by some health officials and outdoor dining may be a safer way to visit restaurants and bars. How popular this option will become, is still undetermined.
UPDATE – Due to Governor Kate Brown decision to pause reopening efforts, Montavilla Saloon will not be opining today. The below note was was posted on the businesses’ FaceBook Page.
“We’re out here getting ready for you all! Looks like multnomah county will be holding off for yet another week! See you all Friday the 19th! We can’t wait to see you“
Original Post from June 10th
Montavilla Saloon, located at 8012 NE Glisan Street, will open on June 12th. They are joining other Montavilla bars also set to open this Friday, as part of Multnomah County’s phase 1 reopening. A simple massage is posted on the chalkboard at the front door. It reads “Open Friday @2 PM Thank You.”
UPDATE – Due to Governor Kate Brown decision to pause reopening efforts, Montavilla Station announced they will not reopen as planned. The below message appeared on the bar’s FaceBook page.
“We are NOT able to open Friday June 12th. We MAY be able to open Friday June 19th. Stay tuned….“
Original Post from June 9th
Montavilla Station announced on their Facebook page, intentions to reopen this Friday. Opening is contingent on Multnomah county entering Phase 1 reopening. The below post appeared Monday evening:
“We are gearing up to REOPEN! IF Multnomah county is approved for Phase I reopening, we will re-open this Friday, 6/12 at 11:00 am. Things WILL be different, however as we need to adhere to state guidelines: Please do not come if you feel sick; table seating only (no bar seating); maximum of 10 people in a party seated together; maintain 6 feet distance from others not in your party at all times; wear a face mask when not seated at your table; no karaoke, pool tables, or live music; video poker machines will open with restrictions. Please be courteous and respectful to our employees and to other patrons and we can all stay safe! We look forward to seeing you all soon!“
Last week Tinker Tavern received building permits for for their new Montavilla Tavern. This project has been delayed due to COVID-19 related shutdowns and was in a holding pattern, waiting for the city’s approval. Now work will begin in just a few weeks.
Tinker Tavern is going to have an “old school tavern look… classic.” Said Erik Mahan, owner of Tinker Tavern. He described Tiffany style lamps and swivel bar stools as elements of the design esthetic. The goal is to create a comfortable space, Mahan explained. He is not looking to challenge the customers through design but instead create a welcoming neighborhood bar.
The location of Tinker Tavern, 7980 SE Stark Street, was formerly a retail store. Transforming the space into a tavern, with a kitchen, will take some time. Mahan expects construction to last 10 weeks, as long as trade work is not overly delayed due to social distancing measures.
The added delay in opening, has given Mahan time to adjust his buildout to deal with the COVID-19 restrictions. He anticipates opening Tinker Tavern in phase two of Multnomah County’s reopening process. Currently he’s operating his other location, Bantam Tavern on NW 21st Ave, under the general restrictions. That has provided him the experience needed to make smart design choices for Tinker Tavern. Choices that will help him open safely and still function as a Tavern.
To meet the phase two guidelines, he has eliminated a table from his original interior layout, allowing for the required distancing of guests. Further interior modifications will include the use of plexiglass, to provide separation between groups. Fortunately the building is setback from the sidewalk and that will allow for outdoor seating. Mahan will use planters to create an 8 foot by fourteen foot outdoor seating area. He also plans to apply for Street Seating through the PBOT program, when he is closer to opening.
When asked why he chose Montavilla for his new Tavern, Mahan explained he has been a longtime fan of the area. He was impressed with other bars in the area, like Roscoe’s and has watched how they have grown. Mahan’s girlfriend lives in the neighborhood and they frequently walk the streets of Montavilla. It was on one of those walks that he saw this space available and knew it would be a great fit for his next Tavern. Being on SE Stark Street and a corner property made it an ideal location. Mahan described the location as an “attractive newer building.” Taking a space in an older Montavilla storefront, would not be as easy to upgrade with all the features he wanted to add.
Mahan sees a neighborhood bar as more than just serving neighborhood customers. He wants to incorporate items from other local businesses in the tavern’s offerings. Look for local beers and food items to be on his menu.
Construction will start soon and residents should expect to see activity at the site in the coming weeks. They have set up a Tinker Tavern Instagram as the primary way to communicate about their progress. Mahan said he will be posting updates and construction pictures there as things progress.
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