Tag: Threshold Brewing & Blending

Burger Thursdays Return to White Pepper

The new owner of White Pepper recently resurrected a popular neighborhood dining event. Over the last few years, the catering company and event space at 7505 NE Glisan Street remained closed to walk-in customers. Its thriving business instead focused on cooking for weddings and hosting baby showers, keeping the crew of 22 food service staff busy during the peak summer seasons. However, feeling a need to connect with the neighborhood and wanting to reignite a tradition started by the previous owners, Abel Ley decided to bring Burger Thursdays back to his business.

White Pepper will offer Burger Thursdays through March, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the potential for other special events scattered in-between. The menu includes their Classic Burger, which is a smash burger with double patties and double cheese, topped with onions, lettuce, tomato, and mustard. The staff created the Signature White Pepper Burger to upgrade the mainstay dish. “That one we fancy up a little bit. We do a little feta aioli on there, some seared pork belly slices, and roasted tomatoes… to bring it all together,” Ley explained. The menu also contains salad, appetizers, and an alliterative to a beef burger. “We have a fried chicken sandwich that’s very good with our house-made summer squash Pickles and a white Alabama BBQ sauce,” said Ley. Diners can pair their burger with house-cut fries and an assortment of drinks. White Pepper features a full bar and sometimes collaborates with other local businesses like Threshold Brewing & Blending.

White Pepper owner Abel Ley

In 2010, Abel Ley started his career in Arizona, completing Culinary school and working all over the food service industry. After climbing up the ranks to executive sous chef in a high-end hotel, he soon desired a more creative environment with a balanced work life. After the arrival of a second child, Ley and his wife decided to relocate the family to Portland, arriving in October 2020. In an interesting turn of fate, Ley interviewed for a position at White Pepper but declined the job offer, instead pursuing another opportunity. When the catering company became available to purchase a few years later, he felt it was a business he could put his creative energies towards. “White Pepper as a company has been around for about eight years. I took over in April,” explained Ley. “It was this space that really drew me to White Pepper as a business itself. I thought there was a lot of potential with being able to connect with the neighborhood, and it’s right here on the corner, very visible. The idea that I could create any type of concept or restaurant do pop-ups and have some fun during the offseason, that was very exciting to me.”

White Pepper seats 25 to 30 people at a time. Staff served upwards of 40 people during the inaugural Burger Thursday last week. Many of those guests previously attended the weekly events before the pandemic and were ecstatic to see it return. Although walk-in food service is fun for the White Pepper staff, Ley explained that catering will always be core to their operation. “Our bread and butter is our summer weddings, and that’s basically what we focus on.” Those events, and other catering jobs, feature foods that highlight seasonal ingredients of the Northwest. However, their smoked fish offerings are what they are best know for. “One of our main sellers is our Pacific Northwest salmon that we smoke on cedar planks, and we put a little parsley pesto right on the top. A very simple, lightly smoked fish, and I think that’s a perfect example of what we do here,” said Ley.

Burger Thursdays is a fun, community-focused project where the White Pepper culinary team can break out of their catering menu. As the nights get darker and colder, people have a new dining option in a warm and vibrant space along NE Glisan Street. Make sure to visit them some Thursday evening or book the restaurant for the private gathering if burgers are not to your liking.

Thursday Night Montavilla Market Opens

Last night at 4 p.m., the first Thursday Night Farmers Market opened to customers in the recently reopened Public Plaza at SE 79th Avenue and Stark Street. Representatives from Montavilla Farmers Market, Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA), and vendors gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by the traditional bell ringing to open the market. Visitors quickly filled the square to shop the five booths and refreshments providers at this min farmers market.

Starting on July 7th, farm and food vendors will set up in the Plaza on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Moorish RootsKulfiSebastiano’s, and Threshold Brewing & Blending are some of the inaugural participants making a regular appearance. An assortment of vendors will return weekly this summer, with the final evening market held on September 29th.

This mid-week market is possible through a Vibrant Spaces Community Events Activation Fund grant from the City of Portland, in conjunction with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Public Street Plaza Program. The Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) is hosting this public space in partnership with Montavilla Farmers Market, which will program the Plaza Thursdays, in addition to its regular market held on Sundays at 7700 SE Stark Street.

The Plaza will also feature live music and other entertainment events throughout the summer. Plaza organizers will post updated information on the METBA events calendar. Visitors can shop at the Montavilla Thursday Night Farmers Market throughout the summer or sit and relax on the shaded seating. All people, families, dogs, and outside food are welcome in the Plaza.

KPTV FOX 12 Oregon’s coverage of opening night

Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the METBA Board.

SE 79th Ave Plaza Reopens July 1st

Tomorrow, July 1st, the Montavilla Public Plaza reopens for its second year at SE 79th Avenue and Stark Street. The public gathering space will feature outdoor furniture and event space for community use. Last year, the space coordinators provided musical-themed programming to activate the area. This time, in a partnership with Montavilla Farmers Market, the Plaza will feature an evening min-market on Thursday nights.

Starting on Thursday, July 7th, five farm and food vendors will set up in the Plaza from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Moorish RootsKulfiSebastiano’s, and Threshold Brewing & Blending are some of the confirmed participants making an appearance. An assortment of vendors will return each Thursday this summer, with the final evening market held on September 29th.

This mid-week market is possible through a Vibrant Spaces Community Events Activation Fund grant from the City of Portland, in conjunction with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Public Street Plaza Program. As with last year, the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) is hosting this public space to encourage outdoor recreation in the center of the neighborhood’s historic downtown area. All people, families, dogs, and outside food are welcome in the Plaza.

The Thursday evening Montavilla Farmers Market is in addition to its weekly market on Sundays at 7700 SE Stark Street. The Plaza will also feature live music and other entertainment events throughout the summer. Plaza organizers will post updated information on the METBA events calendar

Drivers who use SE 79th Avenue should plan an alternate path, as the roadway is closed to through traffic from SE Stark Street to SE Pine Street. Local vehicle access to homes and businesses on the Street is permitted. This year, METBA staff expect the Montavilla Public Plaza to repeat last year’s success, attracting residents and visitors to the area during the warm season. Look for activities to begin in the space next week and continue through September.

Update: Thursday Night Montavilla Market Opens

Sign from March 2022 PBOT event renewing Street Plazas

Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the METBA Board.

Easter Weekend in Montavilla

After a Monday snowstorm, the forecast calls for a comparatively dry and warm Easter Sunday in Montavilla. Several local businesses will celebrate spring with weekend events intended to bring people out of their homes and into the community.

The season-themed market, Zuckercreme, is leaning into the holiday with a Montavilla easter egg hunt this Sunday. The shop will open early at 9 a.m. to host the event. The coordinators ask participants to check in with store staff at 414 SE 81st Ave before embarking on the hunt. If the snow earlier this week caused you to forget about the spring celebration, Zuckercreme has you covered. They are open today and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., selling basket stuffers and the ability to order special pastry boxes for the holiday.

Threshold Brewing & Blending will host a beer launch party this Saturday, April 16th, from 12 noon until 5 p.m. In cooperation with Pup Passport, the neighborhood brewery will donate 5% of the beer and passport sales proceeds to the Oregon Humane Society (OHS). This event centers around the launch of Threshold’s Good Dog Guava, a new guava passion fruit gose beer. The event features BBQ from the local Heartbreaker PDX pop-up. Stop by the taproom at 403 SE 79th Avenue to try the new brew, enter the raffle for special prizes, or pick up OHS pet adoption information. Dogs are welcome.

Despite the recent resurgence of winter, it is the season to head outside and into the neighborhood. However, for those hoping to stay in, Montavilla has many sweet shops, including PDX Cookie Co and DB Dessert Company offering Easter-themed confectionaries to take home. Hopefully, one of these businesses, or other famed neighborhood shops, can make a memorable start to the warmer season for you and your family.

Thai street food pop-up Wednesday

Next Wednesday, Threshold Brewing & Blending will host a special one-night Thai street food pop-up event. The renowned traveling chef, Dream Kasestatad, will serve his creations from the taproom at 403 SE 79th Avenue on February 2nd from 4 PM until supplies run out. Kasestatad’s Pranom Pop-Up then moves over to Ruse Brewing on February 3rd and 4th before continuing its nationwide journey.

Kasestatad is an actor and director who recently created an autobiographically inspired pilot episode of The Noodle Man, available on Amazon Prime Video. As depicted in the screen version of his life, Kasestatad used his cooking pedigree to bridge the financial gap between acting work. What began as a side-hustle soon became recognized as the skillful work of a culinary artist. His traveling pop-up business continues four generations of family tradition sharing their Thai food with the community.

Meat and vegan option are available at Pranom Pop-Up. Threshold will also offer plenty of beverage options to pair with the meal. This special event will likely sell out early, so mark your calendars and swing by early.


Images courtesy Pranom Pop-Up

Threshold’s Must-Try Food Menu

This weekend, Threshold Brewing & Blending launched their Polish-inspired Zapiekanka menu. This debut marks the beginning of full food service at the taproom with a savory and unique offering. For the past two years, staff mainly served craft beer and appetizers. Expanding into cooked meals is their way to welcome the post lockdown crowds who are already exploring the streets of Montavilla in significant numbers.

Foodservice is a natural fit for the brewery. Their wide selection of beers and other local drinks ensures an extended visit for customers interested in tasting all they offer. However, guests need something to eat between drinks, so growing the menu was an obvious need. “Since day one, people have been asking ‘do you have food?'” Explained Threshold’s co-owner Sara Szymanski. Threshold’s owners wanted to add food that would match their brewed beverages distinctive flavors. 

Co-Owner and brewmaster Jarek Szymanski reached into his past to find inspiration for the new dish. When eating out during his formative years in Poland, the zapiekanka was his go-to food. The traditional Polish street food is a perfect rich flavored dish to serve alongside the brewed selections, and it is not a food found elsewhere in the neighborhood. The classic meatless recipe starts with a white-bread baguette topped in a richly spiced mushroom base. Staff melt the Polish Morski style cheese over the top and then add a serpentine stripe of Polish ketchup down the center. A light dusting of smoked paprika completes the dish. Threshold Serves their zapiekanka in a traditional foot-long paper sleeve, allowing customers to eat it like a hotdog or cut it into sharable segments.

The dish expands from the classic form with several toppings, including house-brined cucumbers and several meat options. The cucumbers are reminiscent of pickles without the overbearing vinegary flavor and can be added to the zapiekanka or served on the side. Smoked Brisket or Polish Sausage toppings round out the menu. Jarek Szymanski has a passion for smoked meats and takes pride in the Brisket’s preparation. He plans to offer spareribs, beef ribs, and pulled pork versions of the dish on select occasions.

The Smoked Brisket melts in your mouth and would a popular item if it was on the menu by itself. The cheese has a mozzarella-like flavor that covers the lightly toasted but still soft bread. The ketchup is based on a traditional Polish recipe, common in that country but difficult to buy on this continent. Szymanski creates his version with tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, sugar, and vinegar. It is more reminiscent of barbecue sauce than ketchup and also unlike most condiments you have experienced. It, too, could be a popular product if they bottled it for people to take home.

The drinks are an essential part of a zapiekanka meal. Jarek Szymanski recommends the smokey all wheat Grodziskie ale titled The Cruise. This historical style of beer from Poland has a clear, light golden color and a strong smoke flavor. Its low alcohol content and distinctive aroma mix well with the meal and won’t overpower the dish’s flavors. After eating, the Rebel Razzle Gose beer will reset the palate. This blackberries and raspberries infused beer is the equivalent of an after-dinner wine with a sweet and robust flavor.

At first glance, the Zapiekanka menu appears uncomplicated and straightforward. Only through eating the dish in its varied forms will you appreciate the complex flavors it creates through each topping. Threshold’s expanded menu will attract non-drinkers looking for a memorable meal and further enamor the breweries’ regular fans.

Threshold Brewing & Blending is located in downtown Montavilla at 403 SE 79th Ave. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 PM to 8 PM. Fridays, they operate from 4 PM to 9 PM and Saturday from 3 PM to 9 PM. Sundays, they are open for lunch and dinner from Noon to 6 PM.


Disclosure – Threshold Brewing & Blending provided complimentary food and drinks to Montavilla News staff during a special tasting event.

Threshold Creates a Parking Plaza

Threshold Brewing & Blending is one of the first Montavilla businesses to setup a PBOT sanctioned Parking Plaza. This outdoor seating option takes over designated street parking spaces. The additional space allows businesses to serve customers outside and reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Located at 403 SE 79th Ave, Threshold Brewing & Blending offers beer on tap and a small selection of food items. Their Parking Plaza extends the width of the building. Four additional tables now join the existing two outdoor tables.

In response to COVID-19 restrictions, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) created the Safe Streets Initiative. Part of this initiative is the Healthy Businesses permit, which allows for Parking Plazas like this one. Parking Plazas are the smallest space that can be reserved for seating. It is possible to take over a lane of traffic and the curb side parking. PBOT will also allow side streets and main street closures. However, none of the larger Plazas configurations have been proposed for Montavilla.

PBOT hopes that additional outdoor seating will lessen the business impact of the increased table spacing, required in Phase 1 reopening. Many businesses are only able to seat half the number of guests, compared to before the restrictions. Outdoor seating could also attract customers still fearful of visiting public spaces. The safety of outdoor activities has been touted by some health officials and outdoor dining may be a safer way to visit restaurants and bars. How popular this option will become, is still undetermined.