Category: Restaurant

The Yard at Montavilla Opening Weekend

Yesterday, The Yard at Montavilla opened to customers for the first time. The new food cart pod has space for sixteen vendors, although only a handful are currently serving customers during the first few days. Located at 8220 NE Davis Street, the food vendor collective sits on a corner lot across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary School.

La Taquiza Vegana – All Vegan Mexican Street Food

The early days of operation are encouraging for the cart operators. A small but steady flow of customers have ventured in to see what carts are open. July 4th is set as the official first day, although not all food carts are starting at the same time. Today La Taquiza Vegana and Bobablastic were serving customers.

covered seating area

Staff completed all the amenities for the food cart pod ahead of this weekend. Portable restrooms and handwashing stations are set up near the trash enclosure. A large covered seating area is surrounded by standup umbrella tables, protecting the customers from the summer sun. 

Portable restrooms and hand washing stations

An ATM is on-site for those who wish to pay in cash. However, the vendors open today all accept credit card payments.

The list of carts is below, but The Yard at Montavilla website has updated information on what vendors are open this weekend. Make some time to stop by and visit with the cart operators and snag some delicious food.

La Taquiza Vegana – All four taco options
  • Guisados PDX – Mexican Food
  • East African Cuisine
  • Kings of Steak – Philly Cheese Steaks
  • Bai Yok Thai Food
  • Wood Fired Pizza
  • Shawarma Express – Mediterranean Food
  • Bobablastic – BobaTea, Poke Bowl, Hot Dog, Fries
  • Scout Beverages, Inc. – Beer & Wine
  • Taj Mahal Punjabi – Indian Cuisine
  • La Taquiza Vegana – All Vegan Mexican Street Food
  • Little Bear – Bingsu Tofu Popcorn Chx
  • Esan Thai Food Cart – Thai Food
  • Ricky’s Sushi – Sushi Rolls & Appetizers

NE 82nd Food Cart Pod Opens July 4th

Montavilla’s newest culinary destination opens next month. The Yard At Montavilla began development over a year ago, and now construction is nearing completion. Food carts will start arriving this week as electricians install the hookups necessary to power the mobile kitchens.

Last week crews paved the asphalt surface covering most of the corner lot at 8220 NE Davis Street. Workers will complete a shared trash enclosure and other finishing touches in the next few weeks. Several small changes to the infrastructure caused permitting delays that pushed back the original opening date. At this point, not too much more can delay the opening of this highly anticipated eating destination.

Co-owner of The Yard At Montavilla, Jeffrey Dennis, explained that they plan to host a trial run ahead of the official launch of the cart pod. “We’re hoping to open the weekend of June 25th for a soft opening and have July 4th be a Grand Opening weekend.” He went on to say that they have rented all but three of the 16 food carts spaces. Below is a listing of vendors at the cart pod, including Bai Yok Thai Food, who operated a restaurant in this same space before it burned down in 2016.

  • Guisados PDX – Mexican Food
  • East African Cuisine
  • Kings of Steak – Philly Cheese Steaks
  • Bai Yok Thai Food
  • Wood Fired Pizza
  • Shawarma Express – Mediterranean Food
  • Bobablastic – BobaTea, Poke Bowl, Hot Dog, Fries
  • Scout Beverages, Inc. – Beer & Wine
  • Taj Mahal Punjabi – Indian Cuisine
  • La Taquiza Vegana – All Vegan Mexican Street Food
  • Little Bear – Bingsu Tofu Popcorn Chx
  • Esan Thai Food Cart – Thai Food
  • Ricky’s Sushi – Sushi Rolls & Appetizers

Being located across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary, this is a prime location to serve a hungry community. Its launch date coincides with a national easing of COVID-19 restrictions and just in time for summer adventures. Expect new carts to start showing up soon and a buzz of activity as people ready for the imminent opening.


Images courtesy The Yard At Montavilla

Ya Hala Repaints Logo

Yesterday, painters replaced the marquee logo at Ya Hala Lebanese Cuisine. The updated sign adds color behind lowercase “ya hala” text. The previous text featured a thin monochrome font reading “Ya Hala Lebanese Plates – Established 1999.”

Located at 8005 SE Stark Street, the staple of Montavilla Town last painted their building in 2016. The update is an inspiring indication of our community’s gradual reopening after a year of COVID-19 restrictions.

Ya Hala from 2016

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

Enchilada Express Opens on Division

Enchilada Express opened its second location this week. The new restaurant, serving Mexican food, is open for takeout. Located on SE Division next to the recently completed Pacific Plaza, this additional location is in the heart of a rapidly growing section of Montavilla.

Located at 8245 SE Division Street, this Enchilada Express location joins the original restaurant on SE Powell Blvd. The menu offers a range of Mexican dishes that should be popular with the lunchtime crowd. Place orders over the phone at 503-477-9800, on their website, or when visiting the location.

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

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.

The New Boomtown

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.

Vintage Cocktail Lounge seating.

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.

Shared Roscoe’s and Miyamoto seating

Redwood’s mid September roof addition.

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

White Rabbit Will Wait

The much-anticipated opening of White Rabbit Cafe and Bakery will have to wait until 2021. Morgan and Jax Hart have postponed the launch of their new brunch spot to preserve the restaurant’s original intent, which could not exist with current restrictions. Instead, they will lend the space to their other creations. Starting August 14th, 7940 SE Stark Street will become Heartbreaker Market.

The original Hungry Heart Bakery location, at 414 SE 80th Ave, will temporarily become an ice cream focused shop, serving Heartbreaker ice cream by the scoop, and pint. The transformation of the 80th Ave location will happen in the coming weeks.

According to Morgan Hart, postponing White Rabbit was the only reasonable choice if they were going to open the location as envisioned. Staff expressed that they are not conferrable offering table service at this phase of the pandemic. Brunch is inherently a sit-down experience. There was not an elegant way to make White Rabbit takeout friendly. “Nobody does Eggs Benedict takeout,” said Morgan Hart. “it would be mush.” For the Harts, this was not White Rabbit’s time to open.

Courtesy of Hungry Heart PDX, LLC

Construction at the new restaurant has been underway for months, albeit slower due to social distancing. The Stark Street location is mostly completed now, except for booths and other dining room finishes.” The kitchen looks like a kitchen [and] the counters are looking beautiful,” exclaimed Morgan Hart when describing the progress. This level of completion at Stark Street is sufficient for takeout services. The Harts did not want to waste the opportunity to use the new larger kitchen and prep space. Moving operations to the Stark Street location will be a relief for the seven staff members who have been trying to make do in the smaller kitchen on 80th Ave.

Heartbreaker Market will not provide table service at this location. As Hungry Heart operated down the street, they will continue to serve takeout through zero-touch sales. They plan to expand the menu at the Stark Street location, incorporating some of the takeout friendly options intended for White Rabbit.

The fully implemented White Rabbit will open in January 2021. At that time, Hungry Heart will return to its old location. The Hungry Heart menu will then adjust to focus on sweets, with savory items remaining on Stark Street at White Rabbit.

The Harts have a strong vision for their restaurant creations and compassion for their staff’s wellbeing. That has guided them to look to a longterm perspective when planning around this pandemic. They expect to be in Montavilla for many years, making proper execution of their vision more important than a hasty opening.