Category: Food and Drink

Courtyard at Monti’s Cafe

Customers visiting Monti’s Cafe will soon enjoy a fenced courtyard with many amenities. Crews have created brick pillars around the former parking lot in front of the eatery. Soon, wrought iron fence segments will link the pillars together, creating a semi-secluded space for people to enjoy their purchases. A street-side gated entry will remain open during Monti’s Cafe’s hours of operation.

The idea to create this outdoor space predates the pandemic. However, owner Kelli Vinther explained that current circumstances made it a priority. “In the past year of COVID, comfortable and comforting outdoor seating has become extra important to our customers.” Vinther seeks to create an outdoor oasis for Monticello and Monti’s Cafe guests in this space that once served as a three-car parking lot.

The loss of parking was an easy sacrifice, according to Vinther. “The huge majority of parking is, and always has been, on street… The promise of an enlarged eating area far outweighs the loss of a few parking spaces.” Unlike the temporary outdoor seating created throughout the neighborhood in response to COVID-19 restrictions, this change is permanent, with substantial structure added to the property.

Eight umbrellaed tables will fill the newly enclosed area. Additional seating will surround a fire pit. The sounds of a fountain and an array of potted plants will further shape the space. The fencing and decorations will provide a buffer from the heavy traffic on SE Stark Street. “It’s going to be a beautiful, inviting courtyard for our customers to enjoy Spring, Summer, and Fall,” proclaimed Vinther.

Monticello Antique Marketplace and Monti’s Cafe are located at 8600 SE Stark Street. Both are open during construction.

82nd Food Cart Pod Construction

Demolition crews began work clearing the property that will soon become The Yard At Montavilla. Heavy equipment removed two foundations and other buried remnants from the two houses that once occupied this location. With the ground cleared, work can start on Montavilla’s newest food cart pod.

Located at 8220 NE Davis Street, the future food cart pod is across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary. When completed, the site will host 17 food carts. Owners Jeffrey and Kevin Dennis have many of those spaces leased already. The Dennis brothers faced an unexpected wait as the pandemic slowed the permitting process. However, those delays are behind the project, and work should complete within three to four months.

Montavilla lost a cluster of food carts with the demolition of Beets Auto BodyThe Yard At Montavilla is a welcomed return of food carts for residents looking to expand their food options. The Dennis brothers share that enthusiasm. “We’re very excited to be bringing this to the Montavilla neighborhood, providing a space for 17 other small businesses to operate and thrive.” Expect to see crews onsite for the next few months, building the new dining destination’s infrastructure.


Photographs by Weston Ruter. Rendering provided by The Yard at Montavilla

New Cart for Erica’s Soul Food

Erica’s Soul Food has moved into a new food cart just one year after opening. Located at 803 SE 82nd Ave, work is underway preparing the new eatery for an expected Wednesday reopening. The upgraded facilities will enhance kitchen operations and customer service for the young business, driving further growth.

The owner and chef of Erica’s Soul Food, Erica Montgomery, has been patiently waiting for the new cart’s arrival. The delivery date slipped several times, creating a longer than expected closure for the business. Ultimately the wait will be worth it when the popular takeout location reopens. Erica’s needed larger space and modern equipment to serve the increasing number of customers. “I’ll have bigger, new equipment that will make cooking easier,” explained Montgomery. The expanded kitchen capacity will facilitate an expanded menu and added specials.

Beyond streamlined food prep, the new cart has separate windows for ordering and pickup. The divided customer interactions, along with a new contactless payment system, will better facilitate COVID-19 precautions. Additionally, new exterior lighting on the cart will improve customer comfort during nighttime hours.

Obtaining a new cart required some community support. Part of the downpayment for the cart came from a GoFundMe campaign that secured two-thirds of its goal. A donation from the Portland Trailblazers added the final funding that Erica’s needed to place an order with the custom cart builder. “I couldn’t have done it without the help of my community,” acknowledged Montgomery when reflecting on the support received.

Now the rush is on to move into the new cart and restock all the supplies. Montgomery cautioned that the 10th is only a tentative opening date. However, she is eager to reopen and get back to cooking for her many loyal customers. Keep an eye on Erica’s Instagram account for updates.

Original cart

Pho Kim’s 2021 Reopening

Vietnamese restaurant Phở Kim closed on June 1st after an early morning fire. Located at 2204 SE 82nd Ave, the building suffered damage to its roof near the mechanical systems. A new building permit indicates imminent repairs after months of delays and an early 2021 opening.

Yesterday, permit application 20-222762 started the review process for restoration work to the building’s roof. The minor fire damage appeared to be a quick repair based on outward appearances. The online message announcing the temporary closure indicated staff believed it was only a momentary disruption. “We hope we are able to resume service soon.” The next update announced December would be the likely opening date. However, the last update postponed that date.

With a building permit in process, there is a high likelihood that repairs will occur in early 2021. Pho Kim’s opening could take place months beyond the completion of work, but their online messaging demonstrates an eagerness to start cooking again. Watch the Phở Kim website for announcements regarding an opening date.

Mike Grady’s post fire drone footage from June 1st, 2020.

Consecutive updates from the Pho Kim website

TEMPORARY CLOSURE

UPDATE:

Unfortunately, there has been a delay in the repairs and we will sadly not be reopening in December. We thank you for being patient with us during these tricky times. We will keep you updated as we move forward.

Happy Holidays from our team at Pho Kim! 💛

We have recently received news that we should be reopening in December. Can’t wait to see you all then!

Dear Beloved Customers,

We are regretful to announce that Pho Kim had caught on fire the early morning of June 1st and will be undergoing repairs soon. Unfortunately, this means we will have to be closed temporarily until further notice. Thank you for your understanding. We hope we are able to resume service soon.

Sincerely,

Pho Kim Staff

Food Cart Pod Underway

With approved permits expected by the year’s end, Montavilla’s newest food destination could open by Spring. The Yard At Montavilla began development over a year ago. Now, after a long wait for approval, the developers expect to break ground by mid-January.

Located at 8220 NE Davis Street, the future food cart pod is across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary. When completed, the site will host 17 food carts. Owners Jeffrey and Kevin Dennis have leased six of those spaces already. One of those signed vendors is Scout Beer, a veteran of beer cart operations. In 2009 Scout started as a cart vendor. A few years ago, Scout Beer opened The Lot @ Scout, a food cart pod on SE Division.

The Dennis brothers faced an unexpected wait as the pandemic slowed the permitting process. The project only recently started to gain momentum. “We just found out last week that our on-site permits were approved and are moving through the pre-issuance department at the city,” explained Jeffrey Dennis. The construction process will be relatively fast. Dennis predicts that the project will take three or four months to complete after work begins.

Montavilla lost a cluster of food carts with the demolition of Beets Auto BodyThe Yard At Montavilla is a welcomed return of food carts for local foodies and the many people working in the area. The Dennis brothers share that enthusiasm. “We’re very excited to be bringing this to the Montavilla neighborhood, providing a space for 17 other small businesses to operate and thrive.” Look for work to begin in the new year and watch the business’s website for updates on carts joining the pod.

Tinker Tavern Opens Tonight

After a successful weekend of soft-opening events, Tinker Tavern will officially launch tonight. Starting at 4 PM Monday, Montavilla’s newest bar begins daily operation. In compliance with regulations, only outdoor dining and take out will be offered.

Tinker Tavern will open at 4 PM every night. Closing time is flexible, between 9 PM and 11 PM, based on demand. As business increases, they will start opening at noon on weekends. Space is limited outside. The tavern has two picnic-style tables that can accommodate four people each. Covered street-side bar seating will fit three groups of up to four people. Customers can place takeout orders in-person, and staff will happily make you a drink while you wait.

Tinker Tavern took a year to come to completion. COVID-19 delays in construction and navigating operational restrictions tripled buildout timelines. Not wanting to waste time, owner Erik Mahan used the delay to perfect the tavern’s menu. Taking inspiration from his business partner’s Buffalo New York upbringing, Mahan developed the deli-pub classics into his own Portland creations. Not all items are available at opening, vegetarian and gluten-free options are in development, but some core dishes are well tested and ready to impress patrons.

Mahan looks forward to the day that he can welcome guests inside. When the most recent restrictions expire, Tinker Taverns will have an additional six to nine indoor tables. The centerpiece of the tavern is the large dark-stained bar. Unfortunately, the guest will not sit along its edge until the pandemic is under control. Until then, staff will serve customers under tiffany style lights at one of the many tables along the outside walls.

Montavilla residents are excited for this location to open. A new destination feels like a piece of normalcy that is missing from our lives this year. Swing by this week and wave hello, have a drink and a quick bite to eat. The staff of Tinker Tavern will appreciate the warm welcome to the neighborhood.

Tinker Tavern is located at 7980 SE Stark Street.

Tinker Tavern Opening Next Week

UPDATED – Tinker Tavern opened Monday

Tinker Tavern will open for takeout and outdoor dining next week after months of COVID-19 delays. The restaurant and tavern announced on Instagram their intent to have a limited opening in mid-December. A newly completed covered Parking Plaza sits on Stark Street outside the business’s front door.

Tinker Tavern’s website describes the general flavor of menu offerings. “A fantastic beer line up with local collaborations, local and imported wines… Well-crafted collection of Buffalo, NY inspired bar food.” The tavern’s Instagram provides more details, displaying pictures of future menu items. The image captions read as probable menu descriptions and receive enthusiastic responses from Instagram followers.

  • Tangy marinara, gooey mozzarella, and crispy curly pepperonis on a crunchy French roll.
  • Housemade mild Italian sausage topped with spicy Weber’s mustard, Kewpie mayo, and a pile o’ peppers and onions on a mini Lavin roll.
  • Beef on Weck: A kümelweck roll piled high with juicy roast beef, horsey sauce, and just a *kiss* of au jus.
  • Housemade spicy Portuguese linguiça with chimichurri on a Lavin French roll.
  • Cured meat Italian sub: Stuffed to the gills with capicola, salami, prosciutto, provolone, and all the fixings on a sturdy Portland French Wedge roll.

The owner, Erik Mahan, committed to the new tavern just before COVID-19 shutdowns rolled out across the state. Not having staff to support, Mahan managed a slow buildout and could wait for the right time to open up. After many challenges and a near year-long startup process, it is finally time to open. Starting Monday, look for signs Tinker Tavern is open and try out Montavilla’s newest addition.

Tinker Tavern is located at 7980 SE Stark Street.

Tinker Tavern’s covered Parking Plaza

UPDATED – Added wording to specify Monday as the first open date.

Hinterland Coffee Roasters and Apparel

Hinterland will open its second location at 7112 NE Glisan Street, expanding from the existing store in Sonoma County, California. Although currently closed to the public, the new storefront will eventually offer prepared coffee drinks along with retail items. Until then, this location serves as the hub for online sales and production.

The Montavilla store houses a roastery for coffee bean production and a printshop for clothing and other items. Finished products are shipped back to the California store to sell from that location. Hinterland’s two owners decided to expand north, splitting store management between them. Owner Trinia Jean runs the Montavilla shop and is in charge of coffee and apparel production. Jean moved to the region due to its lower cost of living and proximity to the bulk of Hinterland’s customers.

Hinterland began in 2014 as a screen-printing collaboration that exclusively uses American made clothes for their prints. Before the pandemic, they decided to expand into coffee production. Jean has 16 years of experience with coffee preparation and sales. Durning the COVID-19 shutdowns, coffee sales kept the business healthy, with Coffee Subscriptions becoming a significant portion of the companies monthly sales. The store in Portland provides expanded space for coffee production and online order fulfillment.

The shopfront’s patina attracted the business owner to Montavilla. “The storefront was rough, and I like to improver places,” explained Jean. The 1914 building had the right character for the company’s esthetic, and the store’s interior buildout embraces those features. An old display case left in the store is now merged with a salvaged bar to form a key fixture for coffee service. Jean explained that “there will not be many new things” decorating the store outside of inventory items. Instead, aged and reused items are preferred.

Hinterland’s operational footprint expands beyond the single shop. Jean rents 7112 and 7114 NE Glisan Street, using the back half of Citrine Bloom next door for coffee roasting and product creation. Cooperation between the two stores will expand when they open to walk-in customers. A passageway between the shops let customers transition between coffee, clothing, and plant shopping.

An opening date is dependent on health and safety recommendations from the State and County. Fortunately, the company is not solely reliant on in-person customers. Shopping the Hinterland website is an equally effective way to support this Montavilla based retail and manufacturing business. Eventually, the storefront will be alive with coffee service and shoppers, adding to the Glisan Street revival.

Excellent Cuisine Restaurant

UPDATE – Excellent Cuisine is now open from 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM daily. A new website for the business offers images of the menu and testimonials. They can be contacted by phone at 503-946-8830 or you can order delivery from any of these three services: Postmates.comGrubhub.com,  and Seamless.com.


Update from November 14th , 2020.

UPDATE – Excellent Cuisine had a soft opening this week with one Yelp reviewer posting his first impressions. The restaurant also now has a DoorDash page available for placing home delivery orders.


Original story from October 15th , 2020.

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.

Food Hall Opening Weekend

This weekend marked the opening of Montavilla’s newest food hall. A hand-painted sign hangs over the doors of Rocket Empire Machine, announcing the location to the passersby. Inside are five new destinations for hungry and thirsty customers.

Located at 6935 NE Glisan Street, this highly anticipated opening attracted interest around Montavilla and beyond. Each unique location brings something special to Montavilla’s food scene, and together they continue the economic buildup on NE Glisan.

  • Gigantic Brewing Robot Room is Gigantic Brewing Company’s new taproom, in addition to their other location at 5224 SE 26th Ave.
  • The Pie Spot is also a second location for Jessica Woods, expanding the reach of the beloved local bakery and coffee bar at 521 NE 24th Ave.
  • Tierra Del Sol is the none mobile second location for Amalia Sierra’s Oaxacan and Mexican food cart.
  • Alleamin African Kitchen, by Khadro Abdi, is back in the neighborhood offering African fare.
  • Sea and River Sushi offers sushi and Burmese curries from first-time restauranteur Sonder Sin. Phone: 503-208-3956

In the future, this new food hall will offer outdoor seating shared between the five businesses. For now, each location will only offer takeout until restrictions change, and the outdoor accommodations become available. With the first days of operation behind them, all of these locations should be ready to earn the repeated patronage of the Montavilla residents.

Original photo from Opening day