Category: New Business

Thai Me Drunken Noodle at Growler’s Taproom

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.

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.


Proposed Chick-fil-A on SE Stark

A recent land-use Early Assistance application indicates Chick-fil-A may soon open a new restaurant on SE Stark Street. If approved, developers will demolish the 1984-era building and construct a new fast food restaurant with a drive-thru window. Located at 9950 SE Stark Street, the 36,590 square-foot half-block property currently houses an adult entertainment club and bar.

The Chick-fil-A development team intends to construct a 4,991 square foot building with 98 indoor seats for guests. Outdoor canopies and an outdoor eating area with 12 patio seats would surround the new building. The property sits between SE Stark and SE Washington Streets, aligned at SE 99th Avenue near Mall 205. The site offers a variety of vehicle access points and is near the number 15 TriMet bus line. Other Chick-fil-A restaurants tend to attract many visitors, sometimes with lines spilling onto the neighboring street. However, this proposed Chick-fil-A is just six miles from the Clackamas restaurant and seven miles from the Gresham location. That density of stores may reduce peak demand for the proposed eatery and avoid traffic issues sometimes seen at other Chick-fil-A sites.

Developers use Early Assistance applications during the pre-planning phase of a project. Many proposals do not continue past this stage, and this Chick-fil-A may never materialize in this location. However, the addition of a popular destination restaurant in the area could draw in more visitors and improve business for neighboring stores. Expect to see updates regarding building permits if this project moves forward.

VTS Cargo on SE 82nd Ave

VTS Cargo recently opened at 332 SE 82nd Avenue in the Annex Building. Operated by Laurelgistics LLC, the freight forwarding company specializes in deliveries to Vietnam. Much like their neighbor across 82nd Avenue, US Express Global (USG), the business caters to Portland’s Vietnamese community, sending packages to friends and family in Southeast Asia.

VTS Cargo opened in the retail space previously occupied by OG Garden Supply. According to the posted hours, the new shipping company operates Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but may close early on Fridays.

Tub and Tan Reopens on Stark

After a lengthy pandemic closure, Portland Tub and Tan has reopened its location at 8028 SE Stark Street. The businesses owner, John Captain, struggled for months to resolve issues with Multnomah County fees and other taxes incurred during his forced closure that prevented his opening. However, last Friday, Tub and Tan returned with a limited schedule and will remain open until November 2022 before closing permanently.

With 25 years in business, Portland Tub and Tan has seen its fair share of ups and downs. However, the COVID-19 closures were unique in their disruption and length of impact on this small businesses. In 2020 pools and spas were only allowed to operate for a few months. That included the first months of 2020 and then during the end of summer through the beginning of fall. Officials kept indoor pools and spas closed during much of 2021 but did allow outdoor operators to open.

Captain argued that Multnomah County should have credited health permit fees from 2020 and 2021 that he could not use during the closure. Kate Yeiser, a representative for Multnomah County, explained that they had little flexibility to adjust the fee structure. “Unfortunately, pools and spas are not given credit for months that they closed in 2020. This is a State program that the county is simply operating. So the decision would have to be made by the Governor’s office on whether credits can be applied for months closed in 2020 or 2021.”

Without income, Portland Tub and Tan had a nearly insurmountable deficit to overcome in order to reopen. Mounting taxes and operational fees compounded over the years. John Captain said he had hoped that as a Native American, his business would receive financial support from assistance programs intended for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) establishments. However, that money did not materialize for him, and he ultimately had to pay for his taxes and the 2022 heath inspection license.

Portland Tub and Tan is open five days a week from Wednesday through Sunday. They open at 4 p.m. and begin the last hour-long session at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights have extended hours, with the final session beginning at 1 a.m. Tubbing for up to two people costs $70, with an additional $20 per person fee beyond that. Currently, customers should walk in to make use of the services offered. However, a prepaid reservation system will be available soon.

Until November, fans of Tub and Tan can once again make use of this recreation facility that has operated on Stark street for many years. After closing, John Captain plans to move out of Oregon. He feels that the cost of water, taxes, fees and rents are too high in this area to continue operation.

Indigenous Marketplace on NE Glisan

Starting the weekend of April 9th, the Indigenous Marketplace (IM) will open for monthly events at 432 NE 74th Avenue. The organization supports indigenous artists and entrepreneurs by providing barrier-free, culturally respectful spaces to grow their businesses and educate the public through cultural arts. This year, IM will host its vendors in the large parking lot on NE Glisan Street, thanks to a rental agreement with the African Youth and Community Organization (AYCO).

The Marketplace will open from 11 AM to 4 PM on six weekends throughout 2022. Although intended as an outdoor marketplace, vendors will set up inside the building on rainy days. Next year, venue organizers expect to move out of the Montavilla neighborhood as developers plan to transform the NE Glisan site into affordable housing

  • April 9 & 10
  • May 7 (Saturday Only)
  • June 11 & 12
  • July 16 & 17
  • August 13 & 14
  • September 10 & 11

People interested in joining the mailing list, attending other IM programs, or becoming a vendor at the Marketplace, should complete the organization’s online form. Examples of current marketplace participants are available online at indigenousmarketplace.org/marketplace/. Look for activity at the site starting next weekend, and plan to attend one of the weekend events for a unique shopping and cultural experience in the neighborhood.

La Osita PDX Opening in Taylor Ct Grocery Building

Last Thursday, Elizabeth Guerrero and David Doyle finalized their purchase of the historic Taylor Court Grocery property. The pair own the La Osita PDX food cart located on 122nd Avenue near Market street. After renovating their newly acquired storefront at 1135 SE 80th Avenue, they will sell the cart and relocate their Mexican restaurant and coffee house to the Montavilla location.

La Osita PDX opened in a small food cart in January of 2018 after Guerrero and Doyle noticed a lack of a good breakfast location near their home in east Portland. The partners bought the cart from a friend and found space on 122nd in the parking lot of the Plaza 122 building. Combining a shared food service background and recipes inspired by Elizabeth Guerrero’s Mexican heritage, the partners brought Coffee and their unique brunch/lunch menu to an underserved area.

At first, the parking lot space was ill-equipped for carts, and they had to run their operation from a generator secured in a nearby cage. The location received strong community support, and business picked up throughout the year. However, before making their first anniversary, someone stole the generator and shut down the business. Fortunately, the building owners saw the value in the cart’s continued operation and allowed the installation of a dedicated electrical hookup.

Original cart Image courtesy La Osita PDX 

Business continued to grow, and they eventually upgraded to a larger cart. Unfortunately, the theft of critical equipment continued, prompting the group to consider a more permanent solution and give up the cart life. “Being a cart in Portland is kind of a bummer. You’re really exposed, and people think nothing of just stealing whatever they can off your cart that’s critical to opening up your store each day,” explained David Doyle.

Doyle expressed that remaining in their current community was a primary goal for the move. “A lot of the businesses on [122nd Avenue] come for lunch, and that’s a big part of the business.” However, searching for a suitable small brick-and-mortar location near the cart proved challenging for Guerrero and Doyle. An expanded search surfaced the Taylor Court Grocery, and they instantly saw the potential in the 100-year-old retail space. Although three miles from the original location, they hope customers will follow them to SE 80th Avenue.

In December, Guerrero and Doyle applied for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan and worked through the challenging process of acquiring the Montavilla property. The deal includes both the storefront and single-family home on a shared lot. To make the finances work, the new owners will need to rent out the house on the property. They are considering many options, including a childcare facility.

The grocery store building will require substantial renovations to transition into a restaurant. It will start with some sizeable deferred maintenance projects. “The storefront, we just wanna get it stable,” said Doyle. “We don’t know the extent of damage, but it looks like the roof needs a repair or replacement.” Once crews repair the outer shell, work will focus on the inside of the building. Contractors will add a commercial kitchen to the back of the building and an ADA-compliant bathroom. The new owners expect a large number of customers will take their meals to go. Consequentially, they will use a counter-service layout for the restaurant with customer seating upfront.

Guerrero and Doyle plan to refresh the street-facing appearance of the storefront but maintain the historic appearance, including the Taylor Ct Grocery sign. “We love that sign. It almost feels like a shame to cover up the Taylor Court grocery part of it, but we’re thinking we’re going to refinish it,” said Doyle. After repairing and weatherizing the sign, they will repaint it with the restaurant’s name but maintain its original shape.

Image courtesy La Osita PDX 

La Osita PDX offers an extensive menu from the cart, and the team does not feel they are missing many options. However, staff will grow the selection slightly after the move while keeping all of the favorite to-go friendly dishes. Guerrero plans to add Aguas Frescas and horchata to the drink offerings, with traditional Mexican pastries to balance out the savory options. Elizabeth Guerrero and her sister Maria Guerrero run the restaurant, with Maria playing a critical component in kitchen operations. They both are thrilled to move out of the cart and into the larger space. With the number of customers they serve and the size of the menu, space was always the constraining factor for La Osita PDX.

Much like the previous owners of Taylor Court Grocery, Mel Hafsos and Errol Carlson, La Osita PDX is a family business wanting to serve the community. Look for construction to begin within the next few months and check for updates on the company’s Instagram page. Until the restaurant opens later this year, Elizabeth Guerrero and David Doyle encourage you to visit the cart on 122nd Avenue to explore the menu.

Highway Tattoo Opening on NE Glisan

Next month, Highway Tattoo will open at 7110 NE Glisan Street next door to Hinterland. After ten years working for others in multi-chair tattoo parlors, tattoo artist Christina Platis is creating her own shop. The move will allow Platis an opportunity to embrace her artistic style and create a secluded tattoo experience for clients.

Platis began tattooing near her hometown, where it was easy to train in the field. However, building a career there was never her intention. “I had always wanted to move out of Southern California, where I grew up. But once I started tattooing down there, I felt kind of obligated to stay there and work, getting experience.” After honing her skills for several years, Platis moved to Oregon. “I wanted to try something new, and I came to Portland because I had friends here, and I wanted to stay on the West Coast but get out of a big city,” Platis explained.

Highway Tattoo owner Christina Platis. Photo by Kait De Angelis

Over the past four years, Platis worked at tattoo parlors in Saint Johns and Southeast Portland, building a sizable customer base. “I have some pretty loyal clients that will be following me, but I hope to expand into this neighborhood,” said Platis. The move to Montavilla brings her work close to home and establishes the new business in a supportive area. “I’m happy to be part of this community, especially on [Glisan]. There are quite a few women-owned businesses, so I’m sure that that will help expand my client base.”

Christina Platis will be the only artist working at the tattoo shop when it opens. At just 350 square feet, it is a smaller space than she first envisioned. Platis explained that she would work in the shop before contemplating a second tattoo area. “There might be room to expand with one more artist if once I get in there, I feel like there’s enough room, but I was just gonna start it off solo.”

As the only tattoo artist in the shop, Platis will have a deliberate and focused relationship with her customers. “People are just coming specifically to get tattooed by me, whereas a lot of shops I’ve worked in, it’s walk-ins where people just want to get a tattoo that day, and it doesn’t matter who they get tattooed by,” explained Platis. “My main focus is to create a space that’s welcoming and safe for my clients, and it’s going to be a small space, so it’ll just be a space where I get to have my creative freedom.”

With years of experience, Christina Platis can comfortably work on a wide range of clients and create the body art they desire. However, she is known best for a specific style of work. “I specialize in American traditional tattoos… color or black and gray, I like both, but a lot of people come to me for my color work,” said Platis. Beyond the art, customer experience is an essential part of her process. “My main goal is to provide a really comfortable and safe feeling space for my clients, ’cause that’s super important when you’re getting tattooed.”

Workers are preparing the shop for an expected April 1st opening date. They removed the dividing walls during the remodel, making one open room and maximizing the available floor space. Christina Platis will bring her flair to the interior, creating a fun and exciting location “a little bit different than the normal tattoo shop.” The location’s design will embrace the classic tattoo shop with a lot of flash on the walls. Platis describes the look as “retro with checkerboard floors and 70s colors, oranges and a lot of natural woods, so it’s just stuff that I enjoy.”

The shop will open by appointment only at launch, allowing Christina Platis to work through a backlog of appointments. She expects the shop will open some weekdays and weekends but has not finalized the hours yet. Keep an eye on the company’s website and Instagram for updates or email your inquiries to info@highwaytattoo.com.

Pole Dance Studio Opening on NE Glisan

On Monday, The AERO Space pole dance studio will open its second location at 7202 NE Glisan Street. Over the last few weeks, workers installed a new dance floor, mirror wall, and nine stainless steel poles. Beginning the evening of March 7th, new and transfer students will attend regular classes at the NE Glisan street location.

By opening this newly remodeled location, owners Rachelle Rhoe and Ashley Madison will celebrate their business’s seventh birthday. Rhoe created The AERO Space Pole Dance Collective with a previous business partner in 2015. They wanted to create a fun and positive atmosphere accessible to a range of customers. Beginning with a small three-pole studio in a basement boiler room of Portland Cement Studios, the business expanded. “We grew out of the basement pretty quickly and took over another space in the building in 2016 for classes and kept the boiler room for our members. Classes continued to fill, and staff grew, so in 2017 we opened up our third space inside Portland Cement,” remembers Rhoe. Ideas of expanding into a second location started just before the pandemic closed gyms and dance schools, postponing any growth plans. Eighteen months ago, Madison joined Rhoe as a co-owner, and the team began looking at expanding again.

The new space offers several enhanced amenities over the original location. At the new facility, students enter the studio through a side door on NE 72nd Avenue that leads to a lounge area. This location offers changing rooms, a bathroom, and a water station. The lounge and studio are filled with natural light to provide comfort and support the planned addition of live plants. The side entrance allows students to gather and change before entering the pole room that occupies the 19-foot by 40-foot room at the front of the shop. The tall ceiling accommodates the 11.5-foot poles spaced evenly across the dance floor. Curtains will cover the front windows during classes, and the Glisan street door will serve as a dedicated exit for students. Most of these features are missing from the original space. However, a planned remodel should bring parity between both studios. 

A rollup door is replaced by a new entrance on NE 72nd Avenue

The AERO Space offers classes to all interest levels, gender identity, and body types. “We have everything from a taster or an introduction to poll all the way through… level 5 classes,” explained Madison. “We have central movement classes, flexibility classes, low flow classes, heels specific classes. There are classes where you don’t even ever have to get up off the floor if you don’t want to.” Madison and Rhoe work with a range of experienced instructors, ensuring that all students can find an educational path fitting their needs. “It’s one of the beautiful things about pole dance; it can go in so many different directions,” remarked Madison.

Instructors schedule classes on weekends and weekdays with a mid-day break. Currently, instructors work 10 AM to 1 PM and start back up at 4 PM until 9 PM. Increases in enrollment will expand operating hours as needed. AERO Space will offer an equal balance of all classes in both studio locations. Still, students following a particular instructor can switch between this location and the other space at 111 SE Madison Street. When the studio is unoccupied, it is available for instructor-led bachelorette parties, birthday parties, office parties, or private lessons.

Studio mid construction. Photo courtesy of The AERO Space

Space for Monday’s inaugural classes are currently available but filling up. They offer a single introductory 60 minute class for $30 so people can assess if pole dancing is something they would like to pursue. “It’s pretty easy, low cost to get into,” said Madison. “The clothing needs to be form-fitted, but it could be a swimsuit that you have volleyball shorts that you have. Any tank top that you have is just fine… sports bra or comfortable bra.” They recommend that male-bodied students have a dance belt, but most workout attire is acceptable beyond that.

The owners, instructors, and staff strive to create a safe environment that is comfortable for all types of people interested in this form of dance. Individuals interested in joining a class can look for availability and register at the company’s website or through their mobile app (iPhone / Android). Email staff at hello@aerospacestudios.com with specific questions not covered in the FAQ.

Co-owner Rachelle Rhoe working on the space with assistance from Joshua. Photo courtesy of The AERO Space

Featured image courtesy of The AERO Space

Pho Kim Reopens Sunday After Long Closure

After a successful soft reopening this week, Phở Kim Vietnamese restaurant and grill will host a grand opening celebration on March 6th. In 2020, an early morning rooftop fire closed the establishment for repairs. Years later, the work is complete at 2204 SE 82nd Avenue, and the staff is eagerly awaiting their customers’ return. Visitors this Sunday are encouraged to arrive by noon to view the White Lotus Lion Dance performance planned for the event. 

Located in what became the Jade District, this family-owned business launched in 2013 with owner Kim Lam managing the front of the restaurant and her husband Chef Tony Tien running the kitchen. For seven years, the couple earned high praise and loyal customers. The June 1st, 2020 fire occurred as the business was recovering from pandemic closures and navigating seating restrictions. Repeated attempts to open Phở Kim met delays, keeping the doors shut longer than everyone expected. Now donning a new all-metal clad roof and an updated sign, Phở Kim is ready to welcome old and new customers inside again.

Visit the restaurant’s Instagram for some appetite-inspiring photos and head over to Phở Kim for their renowned Vietnamese beef noodle soup or another tasty dish. They are open from 9 AM to 9 PM daily for indoor seating or takeout. Groups needing to schedule a reservation should call (503) 954-2535.


Pho Kim with new roof 2022
Pho Kim after fire in 2020