Category: Food and Drink

Lane Closures on NE 82nd and Glisan Bring New Sidewalks

Work on the Jacksons convenience store and gas station at 515 NE 82nd Avenue closed one lane on NE 82nd Avenue and NE Glisan Street as crews construct new sidewalks around two sides of the 40,250 square foot property. Construction of the new fueling station pumps and retail building is nearing completion, and now cement masons will build wider walkways around the site. The southbound TriMet 72 bus stop in front of the property is closed during this phase of the project. Riders can use the temporary stop across NE Glisan Street by Washman Auto Spa.

Over the following weeks, one southbound lane of NE 82nd Avenue and one westbound lane of NE Glisan Street are closed to traffic near the property. Sidewalks detour pedestrians onto the roadway to bypass the construction. However, until workers complete the new walkway, it is recommended that people use the opposite sidewalks while walking in this area. In addition to the expanded sidewalks with fewer curb cuts to navigate, pedestrians will soon have a corner public plaza to rest at.

Site Plan as presented to the Montavilla Neighborhood Association by PM Design Group, courtesy Jacksons.

This location will soon become safer for people thanks to an expanded pedestrian realm and a reduction in places where a vehicle crosses the sidewalk. Developers reduced curb cuts into this area in half, taking six entry points down to three and pushing them away from the corner crosswalk zone. The project designers also relocated the convenience store closer to the sidewalk so shoppers not traveling by car can have safe entry. Expect construction to continue into summer, with a store opening date later this year.

TriMet 72 bus stop temporary relocated on the south side of NE Glisan in front of Washman

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The Fairuz Room at Ya Hala

Last Valentine’s Day, Ya Hala‘s owners launched their new approach to fine Lebanese dining in the Fairuz Room. This recently remodeled space transformed an unused overflow seating area into a culinary event space adjacent to the family-run restaurant at 8005 SE Stark Street. The new venture from the Attar family hosts fixed menu events, catered gatherings, and curated pop-ups.

In the latter half of the 1990s, Mirna Attar and her husband owned a Lebanese grocery store in the restaurant’s current location. In addition to the packaged products imported for Portland’s growing Middle Eastern community, they offered freshly cooked counter-service meals. “We served a lot of ex-pats back then,” recalled Pascal Attar, Ya Hala’s General Manager. Eventually, demand for Mirna Attar’s prepared food outpaced the capacity of the service counter, and the family moved the grocery next door to the space currently housing the Fairuz Room. They remodeled their original corner shop into the Ya Hala restaurant, offering table service and an expanded menu.

Years later, they needed more space for seating and shifted the grocery store one more storefront east. Pascal Attar’s aunt now runs the store at 8015 SE Stark Street under the name La Bouffe International Gourmet. The family has other grocery stores, including two World Foods locations. The family-owned businesses outside Montavilla have deli counters serving foods cooked in the Ya Hala kitchen, keeping it at the center of the family’s operation. “Ya Hala is the flagship business,” explained Pascal Attar.

However, like most food service businesses, the pandemic changed how they fed customers. “COVID happened. There was a mandatory shutdown, and we shut down for a few months. We got together as a family and said, ‘OK, given everything that’s going on, how are we going to adjust our business model so it’s sustainable.’ Prior to COVID, we had about 100 seats with full service in both rooms,” recalled Pascal Attar. “We decided to go back to the original model of being an order at the counter restaurant. We slimmed our menu down from three pages down to one.” Cutting staff positions and a reduced selection allowed the restraint to survive. After a few years of operating in a simplified setup, they wanted to expand beyond the limited menu again, but not by reverting to the pre-pandemic format. “That wasn’t satisfactory for Chef Myrna, my mom because she’s a creative because she’s a visionary.” Said Pascal Attar.

Mirna Attar knew building unique menus must happen in a different footprint than their established restaurant. “She needed a space to create dishes that tie traditional Lebanese cuisine with offerings from the Northwest,” explained Pascal Attar. With Ya Hala back to its roots as a counter-service eatery with open seating, the family looked to the unused overflow dining area next door as a way to reimagine an expanded offering. That was the start of the Fairuz Room.

The Attar family styled the new reservation-only space to reflect the warmth and comfort of a Lebanese living room with the sounds and images of one of the country’s most notable performer. “Fairuz is a Lebanese icon, a national treasure. She is a singer. She also did a lot of theater, and she’s known very well across the Middle East. So we have her music on in here, and we have posters of her up in the room that were printed in Italy in the 1960s,” said Pascal Attar. The room’s theme lends itself to immersive dining, and the spacious layout allows visitors to feel at ease as if they are visiting a friend’s home for dinner. 

Dining events in this space will use hyperlocal sourced ingredients paired with selections from partner wine producers. The Ya Hala website will soon feature links to a reservation system for booking tables at future set-menu dinners. Some menus will focus on foods from particular regions of Lebanon, and others could incorporate all vegetarian-vegan selections.

Those interested in booking the Fairuz Room for a party of eight or more should email catering@yahalarestaurant.com, and those wanting to reserve a table for a Fairuz Room dinner night should keep an eye on the company website and Instagram. The room fits 32 people at a variety of table configurations. When they begin regular service, Pascal Attar anticipates one to two dinners per week.


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Threshold Celebrates Zwickelmania and 4th Anniversary

This Saturday, February 18th, Threshold Brewing & Blending will invite attendees behind their roll-up door to the inner workings of the Montavilla-based brewery at 403 SE 79th Avenue. Ro’s City BBQ popup will serve smoked pulled pork sandwiches and ribs while people tour the facility and consume Zwickel pours at this Zwickelmania event. One week later, Threshold staff will again celebrate beer and food at their 4th-anniversary party. The February 25th affair will feature special beer releases, a live DJ, and Polish foods.

Zwickelmania is an annual celebration of Oregon craft beer organized by the Oregon Brewers Guild. Member breweries open their production facility to the public for a behind-the-scenes view of the operation and to offer unique sampling opportunities. The event’s name stems from the word Zwickel, describing the valve or sample port mounted outside a cask or tank. Brewers use those ports to test the product during fermentation, and this is a yearly opportunity for the public to taste beer from a producer’s perspective. Threshold’s tours began at noon, with the first hourly Zwickel pour starting at 1 p.m. The last tour will conclude at 4 p.m., followed by the final pour. Ro’s City BBQ will start food service at noon and continue until they sell out.

Threshold’s 10-barrel brewery opened its doors in early 2019 and quickly took a foothold in the Montavilla community. Over the years, the business has grown, with owners Jarek and Sara Szymanski reporting that their brew house capacity increased 60 percent this year, and they’ve tripled staff positions. The brewery continually evolves its offerings. The 4th-anniversary celebration on February 25th will feature an NW-style Pilsner collaboration with ForeLand Beer called FourShadow, and a brand new Polish-style IPA. The IPA is a hoppier beer compared to the Polish Lagers and Pilsners they’ve historically produced. Food will include Threshold’s traditional Polish street food Zapiekanka which joined the Taproom’s menu in 2021. They will offer discounted $4 anniversary Zapiekankas while supplies last.

Both events run from noon to 4 p.m. on the next two consecutive Saturdays. Beer fans and meat aficionados should find something to enjoy at these celebrations. Reservations are not required, but organizers recommend early attendance to ensure all items are available.

Zapiekanka

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The People’s Courts Opening on NE 82nd

This summer, a new family-friendly causal sports complex will open in the former Lumberyard Bike Park at 2700 NE 82nd AvenueThe People’s Courts is a recreation destination featuring eleven pickleball courts, ten corn hole stations, ten ping pong tables, and five indoor bocci courts. Patrons will have access to two restaurants on the property, serving pizza and grilled foods along with various other menu items.

AMF built the 50,000-square-foot building in the early 1960s as a multilane bowling alley. Dave Schrott and his partners purchased the building in 2011 as an investment property and leased the space to the Lumberyard Bike Park, who transformed the space into an indoor and outdoor BMX practice track. That business closed after a decade in operation, presenting the property owners an opportunity to reimagine the space. Instead of seeking a new tenant for this location, Dave Schrott, Robert Sacks, and Dave Sacks decided to pursue a passion project centered around a shared enthusiasm for pickleball.

Workers will construct five pickleball courts inside the building, with the remaining six outside. Three shade structures next to the outdoor courts provide covering for seating. The interior arrangement will have some flexibility, adjusting to customer demand for particular games. All the games center around a theme of group play on a court. The business’s name originated from that concept. “It’s kind of a play on words because all of our games are, you know, court-based,” explained Schrott. He sees The People’s Courts as a return to the building’s bowling alley past, where all ages can gather together and participate in approachable sports.

This project is a shift for the partners. Most of their work centers on development. They were the original owners of the Ace Hotel in Downtown Portland and are involved with Coopers Hall on SE 6th Avenue. “Our primary business is real estate and property development. We mostly do adaptive reuse of older buildings.” Said, Schrott. Although this is another reuse project, it is more personal for them and leans heavily on their interests. The partners are excited to share this vision of family-friendly entertainment with the community. They plan to work with neighboring McDaniel High School, seeing an opportunity to engage those students in constructive after-school activities.

Currently, crews are preparing part of the parking lot for the new outdoor pickleball courts and other amenities. Work inside the building will continue over the next few months in time for a summer opening. They intend to operate seven days a week with daytime hours that stretch into the evenings.


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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.

Mia and More on SE 82nd Ave

Today, Mia and More opened along SE 82nd Avenue across from Hong Phat Food Center. Owner Michelle Tran relocated her business from Beaverton to be closer to the thriving Vietnamese community in this area. The shop’s menu features fresh-pressed sugarcane juice, milk tea, fruit smoothies, and Vietnamese street food. Permitting delays and labor shortages pushed back the shop’s launch, causing a five-month gap in operations and leaving loyal customers wondering where they had gone. However, days prior to opening, eager customers begin strolling in, excited to rediscover this unique sugarcane restaurant.

The Mia and More brand originated in Kent, Washington, several years ago. The owners license the name to other independent store operators across the country and supply licensees with sugarcane sourced from trusted farms in Vietnam. The Beaverton location was the first Mia and More in Oregon and is the only store offering this fresh-pressed Vietnamese treat in the State. The original site was a suitable location to introduce the brand to Oregonians. However, Tran knew SE Portland would be a better location, and with the lease ending in Beaverton, she decided to move. They secured this location in the Annex building and applied for the permits in March 2022. The original storefront closed in July for what was supposed to be a month-long transition to the new space. “The permit took six months, and after that, I had to deal with contractors. They are just so busy that they wouldn’t show up on the day they said,” explained Tran. To speed up construction timelines, Mia and More staff opted to build a smaller kitchen space, forcing them to cut some food items from the menu. They also ditched plans for a walk-in freezer and went with free-standing units. Those choices and an understanding permitting office who provided a temporary occupancy certificate allowed the business to reopen before the end of the year.

Mia and More has seven part-time employees working alongside Tran’s family at this location. Many of the staff are college students taking advantage of the flexible hours. During winter, they will open from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. seven days a week. In the summer, they plan to extend that time to 9 p.m. when the sunlight lasts into the evening. Tran noted that customers do not walk around on 82nd Avenue during the darker hours because it can feel less safe. She was grateful that the building owners invested in the storefront’s appearance and security. “The landlord did a lot of improvement in the building, so now at night, all the lights are on, so it’s bright, and you feel much better.”

The Mia and More staff are excited to see the returning customers from Beaverton and the new customers from the local Vietnamese community that did not make the journey to the original space. However, Michelle Tran is also hopeful that an expanded audience of Montavilla residents will enjoy her drinks. “We want to get some more non-Vietnamese people to check us out and see how they like it,” said Tran. Located at 326 SE 82nd Avenue, Mia and More is within walking distance from SE Stark and NE Glisan Street. They are in a soft opening period as the staff becomes accustomed to the new facility, but people are welcome to swing by any time and try something new or find that sweet drink you have been missing.


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Eastport Food Cart Pod for Sale

The half-acre property and food cart pod at 3905 SE 82nd Avenue is available to purchase for $3.6 million. Listed by Keller Williams RealtyEastport Food Center is a fully leased 26-space food cart pod situated across from Eastport Plaza. The pod opened in 2020 on a former used auto-lot. The owner converted the 900-square-foot sales office into an indoor seating area, installed water and sewer hookups for each cart, and completely fenced the property.

The real estate flyer for the listing touts a yearly rental income of $400,000 which would offset the purchase price of this investment property. A new food cart pod across 82nd Avenue from this location opened a little over a year ago, placing the two eating destinations within three blocks of each other. That purpose build property at 3612 SE 82nd Avenue, called Collective Oregon Eateries (CORE), has added competition to the casual dining market along 82nd Avenue. However, it offers around half the cart spaces as its neighbor.

The site’s sale is contingent on the seller achieving a 1031 Exchange purchase of another property. This tax-saving maneuver is available when a person sells one investment property to buy another investment property. This requirement indicates the seller is not looking to generate cash but wants to move their investment to another location within the United States. Interested buyers should contact James Gillespie with Foundation Commercial Group (KW Commercial) by phone at 503-890-5775 or by email.

Correction: A version of this article mistakenly noted annual revenue as monthly. It has been corrected, and we regret the error.


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Amaye International Restaurant Opens on NE Glisan

Amaye International Restaurant opened on Friday, November 4th, after months of preparation. The African food venue at 8000 NE Glisan Street recently took over the former corner storefront from Paitong Thai Cuisine, which closed last May. Opening day saw a steady flow of customers ordering food-to-go or dining in groups at a table.

Since taking over the restaurant location this summer, the Amaye International Restaurant’s staff have methodically reworked the space, adding new furnishings and details to the interior. Along with updated signs atop the building, the shop’s owners added full-color window decals displaying some of the location’s 45 menu items. LED lighting along the trim illuminates the restaurant inside and out. Gold and red curtains, synched midway down, frame the view onto NE Glisan Street. A variety of well-spaced seating creates a comfortable space to reconnect with friends or eat alone.

The restaurant opens at 9 a.m and closes at 8 p.m. every day except Tuesdays. You can place orders by phone at 503-252-0264 or stop by.


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Annual 82nd Ave Dining Event

Last week, the seventh annual Around the World in 82 Dishes began along the entire length of 82nd Avenue in Portland. The business district’s promotion runs for two weeks, concluding on November 6th. The event highlights a wide selection of dining destinations on 82nd Avenue with a focus on multicultural flavors found along the busy roadway. As an incentive, the event organizers created a contest that enters participants into a drawing for multiple $50 gift cards.

Although any food and drink-related business on 82nd Avenue is eligible for the contest, a group of Montavilla eateries are featured participants in this year’s event. Most of the food carts at The Yard at Montavilla are on that list, along with Sebastiano’s. That level of participation yields increased promotional exposure and includes free digital menu services from Foodi-Menus. Ads for the event are currently running in local news publications like Willamette Week and the Portland Mercury, along with Instagram. Koin 6 News featured the event last Wednesday, showing off foods from vendors at the neighborhood food cart pod.

The contest is just one part of this event, presented by the 82nd Avenue Business Association with funding from the American Rescue Plan and Portland’s Bureau of Transportation. The two-week-long food celebration focuses on the diversity of Portland by exploring tastes from cultures across the globe. Many establishments are owned by immigrants that bring their culinary skills and enthusiasm to the foods they serve. Around the World in 82 Dishes seeks to spotlight those businesses and bring people out to East Portland during the traditionally slow season for restaurants.

The appreciation of food alone is not the only motivator for people to participate. The contest for $50 gift cards is a strong incentive to draw people out to the district, even during rainy weather. Interested contestants can use the BabbleBuy mobile app to find locations and post on social media with the hashtags #82ndFoodies and #82Dishes. Those who want to avoid using the mobile app can post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or TikTok using the two hashtags.

There are only a few days left before the event concludes, but that leaves plenty of time to get out and visit your favorite location or experience someplace new. Keep up to date on the event at 82dishes.com, and bookmark that site to stay informed about next year’s Around the World in 82 Dishes.


Disclosure: Montavilla News is a member of the 82nd Avenue Business Association and the author of this article serves on the board.