New Southeast location quadruples footprint for pandemic-safe dining.
PORTLAND, Ore. – October 20, 2020 – One of Portland’s oldest Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurants, Nicholas, will move from its iconic perch on SE Grand Avenue to a new location at 1109 Southeast Madison in early 2021. The family-owned, neighborhood locale has been part of Portland’s culinary scene since 1987, known for its traditional Lebanese fare of grilled kabobs, hummus, and Gyro sandwiches with tzatziki.
“It’s challenging to make a big move like this during a global pandemic,” said owner Hilda Dibe. “But we are excited to be moving after searching for just the right venue for the past four years. I was looking for the perfect space that would build on my parents’ legacy, one that would allow me to expand my vision and retain our cultural heritage.
From Beirut to Portland
Original owners Nicholas and Linda Dibe fled war-torn Beirut, Lebanon in 1982 and immigrated to Portland with their four young daughters. Desperate for income, Nicholas invested his entire pension to open a mom-and-pop restaurant advertising pizza and calzones. Over time, the couple started to add some of their favorite dishes from their native Lebanon – from creamy hummus to grilled lamb kabobs – and built a steady fan base. “My parents were the first to introduce Middle Eastern cuisine to Portland and thankfully, our early customers had curious palates and embraced all the new flavors,” said Dibe, who now runs all three locations, along with some of the third-generation.
New Location Adds Patio, Private Dining
The new location will increase the inside dining space from 1,000 to 4,000 square feet, allowing for individual booths decorated with hand-crafted mosaic tiles. There will also be tables spaced apart for safety precautions. The outdoor patio will be covered and heated to offer outside dining options all year long. “We’ve also added a medical-grade air filtration system throughout the restaurant that will kill 98% of the virus particles in the air,” adds Dibe. “With the pandemic part of our daily lives, we took the opportunity to make the new venue as safe as possible so our customers will feel confident enjoying a meal or planning a small gathering.” Christina Williams Interior Design assisted with the architectural and interior design of the new location.