Category: Restaurant

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.

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

PDX Cookie Co Embracing the Neighborhood

PDX Cookie Co opened in Montavilla on March 7th of 2020, one week before the pandemic closed the storefront to the public. The confectionary maker is now looking to reimagine the local shopping experience with later hours and a new sit-down experience. After years of depending on website orders, the shop’s owner wants to reconnect with neighborhood customers and complement the activities of other Stark Street businesses.

Starting February 1st, PDX Cookie Co will open indoor seating again at the 7919 SE Stark Street shop. Eva Smith, the owner of PDX Cookie Co, sees this as a new beginning. “Given that we were only really able to ‘open’ for a week, we’re considering this a fresh start.” Indoor seating will consist of bar and booth-style seating, with expanded options becoming available as more people start staying to enjoy their treats at the shop. Smith will expand the in-store offerings with water, milk, and iced coffee options to complement the dessert items. Edible cookie dough served in scoops or cones will return to the menu, and thanks to customer demand, the staff will dish out ice cream treats to customers. “Since this past summer, we’ve always stocked the top 6 Tillamook flavors, so we’ll be able to serve the late-night munchie ice cream cravings. Our cookie ice cream sundaes were a huge hit this past summer, so we’re hoping to see an increase of those in the PM crowd, after a drink from Redwood or a movie at The Academy,” remarked Smith. 

When the new seating area opens, the store hours will shift to an evening schedule. Starting next month, the store will open daily from 4 PM to 10 PM. Smith explained the adjustment would better align with the community. “Changing our hours of operation was something that just seemed to make sense. Montavilla is much more lively in the evenings, and the bulk of our neighbors are bars, diners, theaters, etc.” Although they would not fault anyone for eating their cookies for breakfast, they know dessert is mostly a nighttime dish. Staff observed that the shop is typically quiet from 10 AM to 2 PM, with activity picking up around 3 PM, right as they began cleaning up.

The shift in-store hours will let employees focus on each part of the business separately. Previously, due to limited staff, bakers and online order fulfillment employees would jump to the front counter to assist customers during the day. A situation that “led to a few burned flavors and missed timers.” said Smith. “So we figured it would make more sense to have our online-team work during the day uninterrupted and be able to take up the whole space and then switch full attention to the local crowd in the PM. It’ll give us more opportunity to focus on the local customers since we’re still new to the majority of them.”

Rebalancing the customer base between online and local is happening at a crucial time. Smith credits the strength of the online store with sustaining the company these last few years. “The pandemic was an interesting turn of events as it took our surroundings from a line wrapped around the block on our grand opening to a complete ghost town the following week. Thankfully, a ton of people started ordering cookies online, and the tag #QuarentineCookies became a thing for the year. Our online presence saved us without a doubt.” However, that online intensity has faded and is now further complicated by social media blocks on the company’s accounts. “Unfortunately, Instagram started shadow-banning our account, deleting numerous posts, and threatening to remove our account in the past few months,” said Smith. Being unable to contact anyone at the social media company, the staff can only guess it is related to their joke slogan “come get baked” and “edible cookie dough” product name. Smith thinks they flagged the business’ posts as potentially illegal drug sales. The company never uses THC or CBD ingredients, but the terminology possibly triggered automated keyword filters.

Ultimately, Smith accepts the change and wants to grow the neighborhood shop to its full potential. “It’s been extremely stressful amidst all the other chaos of the year, but it was one of the main factors that spurred us to change the hours of operation. So even though it was frustrating to be punished for something we didn’t do, I think it’ll end up working out for the best.” PDX Cookie Co will rely less on other companies’ platforms and build more direct relationships with customers by creating a weekly email newsletter and strengthening face-to-face interactions.

After nearly two years, PDX Cookie Co is back on track to becoming the dessert destination on SE Stark Street. Smith is excited to develop experiences that bring people into the shop. Soon visitors can participate in a March Madness event to select a new signature flavor or collect free birthday cookies, among other promotions. Eva Smith enjoyed the community support over the last few years and has high expectations for seeing people in the shop again. “I absolutely love being in the Montavilla neighborhood. I’m hoping 2022 can return somewhat to normalcy or whatever that is nowadays.”

Futura Coffee Roasters Opening on NE Glisan

Update – January 30th 2022: Futura Coffee Roasters officially opened this weekend. The cafe hours are 7 AM to 5 PM weekdays, with weekend service from 8 AM to to 1 PM.


Next month, Futura Coffee Roasters will open at 7201 NE Glisan Street in the former Fillmore space. The creators of this new coffee producer and cafe believe sustainability is the future for the industry and have woven that value into every aspect of their business.

Futura Coffee Roasters is the vision of CJ Speelman and a group of coffee professionals who share a common perspective. For ten years, Speelman honed his skills in the industry, first working at the counter as a Barista and eventually creating the roasting company Tanager Coffee Roasters. Speelman owns The Arbor Lodge coffee shop in North Portland, making this NE Glisan location his second store. His partners in this new venture bring many years of retail coffee experience and respect for the art and delicate science of good coffee.

The group behind the cafe feels that flavor and brewing are only part of a perfect cup of coffee. Speelman explains that a simple morning ritual like drinking coffee can impact the environment. “As a company, Futura Coffee Roasters see regenerative agriculture, the rehabilitation of soil and increasing of biodiversity among many things, as one of the key forces in combating climate change.” The company is committed to building relationships with farmers and sourcing coffee as ethically and sustainably as possible. Additionally, food items on the menu include a mix of locally sourced pastries and bagels.

Since August, crews have reworked the corner coffee shop into a new space. The team took the same approach to the renovation as they have with their menu, making for a slightly prolonged process. “We took a lot of time making sure that we used as much sustainable materials as possible, from handmade tiles and eco-friendly wall plaster to fixtures and furniture. Because of these commitments to sustainability alongside the supply chain issues, it has taken a bit longer than we had hoped,” said Speelman.

Although the cafe will no longer resemble Fillmore, Speelman recognizes its role in the community and wants to welcome back those regular customers. “I have been a big fan of Fillmore and the special connection they had with the neighborhood. We hope to capture that same spirit and add our own unique vibe. I am extremely excited to share the space with the neighborhood. It is looking incredible and will look and feel like a whole new space.”

Expect Futura Coffee Roasters to launch midway through January, opening daily from 7 AM to 5 PM. Follow the cafe’s Instagram for updates and to learn more about the treats that will soon become available on NE Glisan.

Food Carts on the Move

Portland’s food carts tend to stay in one place, causing patrons to forget that they have wheels. However, these mobile kitchens can change locations, and at least two local carts are on the move early next year. Although these popular dining destinations are heading out of Montavilla, they are still a short trip away.

In an Oregonian interview released last week, Erica Montgomery revealed that Erica’s Soul Food would be moving from the space next to Henry’s Market at 803 SE 82nd Avenue. “Early next year, Montgomery plans to transport her truck to the courtyard next to Lottie & Zula’s, a New England style sandwich shop in the former Toro Bravo space at 120 N.E. Russell St.” The new location is just under six miles away, near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Erica’s Soul Food will share an outdoor dining space with Lottie & Zula’s at the new site. This move appears to be the next phase of a strengthening relationship between the two ventures. Lottie & Zula’s co-owner frequents Montgomery’s cart, admiring her cooking and work ethic. This year, both restaurants collaborated on a meatloaf sandwich sold as a fundraiser for Equitable Giving Circle. Later, Montgomery used the restaurant’s larger kitchen for a catering event when it exceeded the cart’s capacity. 

Just down 82nd Ave from Erica’s, La Taquiza Vegana is leaving the food cart pod at 8220 NE Davis Street. As one of the original carts from The Yard at Montavilla’s opening this summer, its time in the area was short-lived. Devyn Marie, Co-Owner and Operations Manager for La Taquiza Vegana, explained that they only planned to stay in the old location for five months. “The Yard was always just a temporary spot for us while we waited for our permanent location to be completed.” They are relocating to a new food cart pod at 2216 SE 50th Ave. Although the owners appreciated the community in the neighborhood, Marie said the team wanted to work closer to the city center. “We really enjoyed being a part of the Montavilla neighborhood for the short time we were there. The location is just too far out for us as we like to be more centrally located.”

The loss of these two neighborhood carts will likely disappoint some customers, particularly area vegans. La Taquiza Vegana only serves vegan foods. Erica’s Soul Food offers an extensive vegan menu and standard options. The other vegan food cart located at the Yard, Little Ethiopia Eatery, closed down permanently last October. With these two carts’ departure, there are very few vegan cart options in the area.

The exciting part of food cart culture is the constant change in options. People create new dining experiences, and customers rarely have the chance to become bored with the selections. Although these moves may disrupt some customer behavior, dedicated patrons will seek them out. Look for something new to arrive at the soon-to-be-vacant cart locations and visit some old friends when they settle in their new homes. 

Moto PDX Cafe Opens on Stark

This week, Moto PDX Cafe opened at 8826 SE Stark Street after months of preparation. The cafe celebrities the culture, art, and spectacle of performance motorcycle racing. Inside the bright white storefront, owner Brendan Jones creates a living room atmosphere with a wide variety of seating options conducive to intimate conversations or communal discussions around the cafe’s theme.

At one end of Moto PDX, couches surround a TV playing classic motorcycle races. Performance bikes and attire separate seating and add color to the white interior. Artwork placed on display throughout the cafe highlight artists who use motorcycle racing as their muse. Lining the back wall, coolers featuring beers, wines, and other chilled beverages glow with LED light.

Jones is building out the full menu during the winter but currently offers many variations on the panini sandwich. Staff prepare espresso and other coffee drinks at an art-wrapped counter upfront. Employees at the cafe are motorcycle riders and enthusiasts, making this a destination for riders and race fans to talk about their passion.

This winter, Jones will organically shape the cafe to meet his customer’s expectations. Previously he created The Big Legrowlski in downtown Portland. What started as a growler shop eventually grew into a live music venue, proving to Jones that adapting to customer needs is what makes enduring communal spaces. Using what he learned from The Big Legrowlski, Jones will take time with the early days of Moto PDX and not over program the cafe. Because of that approach, customers should stop in and see what they like and make requests.

With time, Moto PDX Cafe will grow around its customers into a gathering space for the community. They are open 7 AM to 7 PM Monday through Thursday, with extended operating hours of 7 AM to 10 PM on Friday and Saturday. There is parking in a private lot in front of the cafe where it is safe to leave your motorcycle… or car if you have to drive that day.

Sushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant

A new Asian eatery has opened up in the former Imperial House Chinese Restaurant building. Located at 1815 SE 82nd AveSushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant continues a 20-year-long tradition of Chinese cuisine under the iconic Ah Fong Kitchen sign. However, this time the menu includes Japanese dishes.

Hints that this location was changing first operated in a Liquor Licence application from May 2021. Over the last few weeks, workers have moved quickly to update the space and change the signs. The transition from Imperial House to Sushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant was smooth, with minimal downtime during the transformation. Many things have changed at the restaurant, but others have stayed the same. The last three businesses at this location have maintained the same phone number, and the building’s exterior has remained mostly the same over the years.

The owners have bifurcated the menu into separate sections. Customers dining in will receive a two-sided color card showing the assortment of Nigiri and Rolls available, along with the expected sushi side dishes. Separately, another two-sided menu features Chinese restaurant standards. This combination is less common in Portland, but in Hawaii, diners celebrate the mixture of the two complimentary cooking styles.

Customers can dine-in, order online for pickup, or call 503-774-0061. They are open Wednesday through Monday, 11 AM to 10 PM.

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