Eater reports that 50 Plates Restaurant, at 333 NW 3rd street in the Pearl District, has closed.
The restaurant opened in July 2008, to mixed reviews. That November, 2008, executive Chef Randal St. Clair was let go, and the restaurant attempted to refocus on the somewhat quirky food menu. It didn’t work, and the few times I went, the experience was lousy, from the bar, to the service and the food. Case in point – from a February 2009 post, “50 Plates is having issues. First they let the executive chef go, and now the same has happened to Tom Swafford, the General Manager. I don’t normally say anything when I’m working on a review, but good God! Spend some time on the food!”
Apparently they didn’t. When they opened, their focus was going to be “mid-century sensibilities, providing the ideal backdrop to our chefs’ fresh take on American cuisine. Drawing inspiration from America’s heirloom and traditional specialties, 50 Plates embraces a fresh perspective of the classics. Menu highlights include a raw bar of oysters, half dozen “silver dollar sammies”, hearty green garden salads, “Dirty Rice” Beignets, Shrimp and Grits, Mac ‘N’ Cheese (‘N’ Chicken ‘N’ Fennel), and sustainable seafood specials.”
It will be interesting to see how long the 2900 square foot restaurant will remain vacant. I’d bet on a long period. According to city records, the lease is now held by “Pearl Condominiums at Block 90”.
Good Food For Me says
We’ve eaten there and enjoyed the food and the service. We are sorry to see it go. It had a very neat vibe.
How easy it is for you to throw someone under the bus. I have eaten at Fifty Plates over 20 times and have loved the food and service. You bloggers are so hypocritical. Do you work? Have you ever managed a quality restaurant? Do you have any idea what it takes to professionally manage, staff and provide the financial stability to sustain a quality restaurant employing many people? I sincerely doubt it. Get a job washing dishes or serving before you have the right to create negative statements about a well managed and interesting restaurant.
Food Dude says
Why yes, most likely I worked longer than you’ve been living. I have managed a quality restaurant – have you? 50 Plates doesn’t count – it wasn’t one. I’ve probably washed more dishes than you have seen in your life, and I guarantee you, I have managed more people and more financial resources than you have dreamed of. If you bothered to read the About section, added for people just like you, this would be obvious. If you would put your money where your mouth is, and patronize the restaurants you feel so passionate about, they wouldn’t go under. 20 times in 3 years? Shameful.
Being nice to restaurants just because they have gone under, is like saying nice things to some cranky old fart just because he’s dead. In my opinion, 50 Plates wasn’t very good. If it was, it would still be here. I am sad that people lost their jobs and their dreams, but life goes on, and so will they.
She’s never realize how lucky she was it’s Xmas and you’re in a festively good mood right now.
I don’t think the space will be empty for too long. Just last night I was at a favorite local (small) restaurant in the Pearl when the owner shared how he really wants to expand and that he was contacted by the agent for the 50 Plates location. He’s terrified of taking on the extra expense but he’s frustrated by his location and lack of event space/losing business. We talked for a long time about the pros/cons but he’s pretty excited about the potential. So, we’ll see….
garden girl says
We ate there once and that was enough! Thought it was mediocre at best.
There have been excellent restaurants in Portland that didn’t survive as long as 50 Plates did. There are a lot of reasons why businesses close their doors and the quality of the products they serve often don’t event make the list of the top 5. Often its economic factors unrelated to the actual daily operations that cause them to topple under their own weight.
50 Plates was a great restaurant. Was it perhaps at times uneven? Of course, but all restaurants are guilty of that, you can read any of their reviews and have the required proof. There’s always more to the story behind any business closure than “it sucked, of course it closed.” To suggest any different of simply narrow-minded.
While I will say that plenty of crappy restaurants are successful and plenty of excellent restaurants go under—50 Plates was not an excellent restaurant. None of the company’s establishments ever rose above mediocrity and their briefly employed marketing catering person did nothing to raise their profile in town.
I also always find it very weird when restaurants shut their doors in mid December, when they could be making $$$ for another 3 weeks or so.
Will miss seeing my daughters picture on the wall, perusing plates from the menu on the opposite wall.. If it’s possible to get a copy or the original pls contact me… PEACE and LOVE..