According to a press release this morning Biwa restaurant will close June 19th. This isn’t a big surprise as it seems to have been struggling, but I’m sad to see it go.
Thanks So Much for Eleven Special Years of Biwa
One day in June of 2007, not too long after opening Biwa, our liquor license expired because I hadn’t paid the bill.
I had a little teeny-tiny heart attack, made a quick phone call, and the liquor folks let me know that if I wanted to open for business that night that I was going to need to get them a check before the end of the day. I took off my apron, got in a cab (I didn’t know how to drive back then) and real sweaty I got down to the OLCC office in Milwaukie.
Super freaked out I ran into the building… and I saw Monique Siu waiting in line.
I knew Monique a little, but not that well, and in her distinct, offhand and real dry way she said to me,
“Oh… It looks like you forgot, too.”
I hadn’t really been in the biz for that long, didn’t know anything about running a business, and I was in pretty far over my head. Folks like Monique, Joe Rodgers, Paul Klitzie, Bette Sinclair, Scott Dolich, John Gorham… and many, many others saved our ass in those first years of Biwa. I am absolutely positive that we wouldn’t have made it this far without them. To see Monique at OLCC that day and know that she, a titan of the biz, also forgets to renew her liquor license bought me years of hope that maybe I wasn’t fucking this up after all.
A week or so ago Kina and I took some new friends to the Cafe at Castagna, a long time favorite restaurant of ours and a second home to a lot of old friends and colleagues, for their last dinner service before they reopen as a wine bar. We had a great time, as always.
We are emailing to announce the beginning of an exciting new era.
On Saturday June 9th Biwa, our strange little monster, is closing after dinner service at 10:00… But, you know, forever…
Between now and then we will be open and swinging all week long. Please come by, say hi, eat some hamburgers and gyoza, drink sake and tell us stories about that one night and all of the dates you took here! There will be special things, maybe really special things! Call down if you have questions. Get on our Instagram! We will be open for lunch, too!
Gabe and the Biwa family, past and present, will be grilling yakitori outside, singing Pat Benatar on the karaoke and generally reveling in the magic that has been the last 11 years at the world’s best little izakaya. If you don’t know, now is your chance to find out.
Thanks so much to all of the staff and guests and everyone else in our very special community.
All is well here and, as always, we can’t wait to see you.
Gabe and Kina and everyone that is Biwa.
As always (!!!) best to you, and we hope to see you soon. We miss you when you aren’t here…
-All of us at Biwa
Our mailing addresses are:
Open Daily from 11:30am – 10:00pm
215 SE 9th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214
Open Daily from 11am – 2am
1430 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214
Biwa Restaurant · 215 SE 9th Ave. · Portland, OR 97214 · USA