Popular market chain Trader Joe’s has backed out of plans to build a Northeast Portland store. That TJ’s pulled out is a bit of a surprise, as the city had agreed to sell them the land, valued around $2.5 million, for just $500K.
The Portland African American Leadership Forum and a handful of locally owned grocers criticized the deal as a taxpayer giveaway. PAALF said the development would also exacerbate gentrification.
Inner North/Northeast Portland was once a black majority neighborhood. But over the last decade African Americans have found themselves in a minority in the area as waves of new residents and investments has poured into the area.
“The city of Portland and the Portland Development Commission have a history of broken promises and back room processes that have resulted in the gentrification of African Americans—and our community has suffered,” said former state legislator Avel Gordly on Monday. “The Majestic deal is just the latest in a long history.”
Tricky thing, gentrification; it’s coming whether the neighborhood wants it or not, and it seems to me of all the chain grocery stores, Trader Joe’s was probably the best choice to fit the neighborhood.
Urban Works Blog has posted more information on “Swank & Swine” coming to the Paramount Hotel downtown.
Swank & Swine will be a restaurant and bar duo. Each side will have their own identity, yet are complimentary dining spots. Swank, is slated to be a lively northwest bistro, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days per week. Swine, a moonshine and whiskey bar will offer a casual, yet vivacious atmosphere. The décor will consist of natural wood elements that depict the art of moonshine. Swine will offer an early and late night Happy Hour as well as house cured bacon and house infused moonshine.
The executive chef? No other than Daniel Mondok. Daniel was most recently at Food in Bloom, Wafu, Paulee, Genoa, June, and Sel Gris, Olea and Carlyle. He’ll probably be coming soon to a restaurant near you!
Projected opening is April.
East Burnside restaurant PaaDee has temporarily closed so that a section can be split off into owner Earl Ninsom’s new Thai tasting menu restaurant, Langbaan. The new portion will feature traditional dishes rarely found outside Thailand. According to Eat Beat, “the prix fixe menus will be cooked up by several recent expats, including an alum of David Thompson’s acclaimed Nahm, and some early possibilities include pork jaaw nahm tok, Thai mackerel with an acacia (“stinky leaf”) omelette, scallop ceviche with coconut milk, and goi neau, a “ceviche” of wagyu beef.
“Traditional dishes rarely found outside of Thailand.” Why I’ve never heard of such a crazy idea!
Joining the ranks of new suicidal restaurants, they plan to open on Valentine’s Day – if you want to make a bad impression, word of which will travel like wildfire, piss off two star-crossed lovers on Valentine’s Day.
Specialty glass maker Riedel is branching out into “Coca-Cola Riedel glass”. I’ve always been a big fan of Riedel glassware for wines, and believe the shape of a glass does make a difference. But Coke? Who cares? Anyway, esteemed review journal Huffington Post says,
We tasted fountain Coke on ice in the short, stout Chardonnay glass, the slightly more tapered Pinot/Nebbiolo glass and the Coca-Cola glass, in that order. Each of us were skeptical to say the very least.
The first two glasses were nearly identical, but tasted exactly how we expected. Then, we tasted the Coca-Cola glass. As strange as this feels to admit, it did have an effect on the flavor. The Coke from the third glass tasted a bit sweeter, with less dilution from the ice — better, we all agreed. Groundbreaking? Maybe not, but it was an improved Coca-Cola drinking experience to be sure.
I’m not a soda guy, but if someone handed me one of these glasses, I’d do a comparison. Keep in mind, they are $19 each.
Have you been to Roman Candle Baking Company over on SE Division? You should – it’s a great breakfast/lunch place (I haven’t tried dinner yet). Excellent sandwiches, salads, pastries, and of course, coffee – it’s owned by Dwyane Sorenson of the once highly regarded Stumptown. PDX Eater says that pastry chef Matthew Zack has already left, though when I visited a couple of days ago, pastries seemed unchanged. No word on his next stop, but he has a strong following, especially from his now-closed Alder Pastry & Dessert.
Walked through the South Waterfront area last week, and noticed that the Emery Building at 3135 Moody Avenue will bring three new places to eat to the area. Cha! Cha! Cha! will be doing their typical Mexican fare, and Lovejoy Bakers will have a bakery/deli location. According to the Oregonian, Greenleaf Juicing Company will also be opening a branch in the building.
Gentrification comes to coke glasses.
Any idea if the main baker at Roman candle remains the same?
Encouraging news about the Paramount – that location has always needed much better food than it’s had. Mondok can certainly make good food.
Regarding Riedel and Coca-Cola, you don’t get to use the Coca-Cola trademark without some serious cash changing hands, so yeah, I’m very skeptical. If this design were truly revolutionary technology it wouldn’t need to be co-branded.
The Coke glasses sound like a pricy gimmick to me. Reidel definitely makes nice glassware, but most of their more extreme claims about specializing their glasses by exact wine type have been pretty throughly debunked a long time ago: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2004/08/shattered_myths
The concept for S&S sounds great for the oddly bifurcated space in the Paramount and I’ve always loved Mondok’s food. I just hope he’s able to stick around for awhile.
Trader Joe’s was to be the major tenant in a deal put together by Majestic Realty – not sure to what extent TJs was going to benefit from the reduced sale price. PDC is responsible for this deal falling out. There is no reason that fits their mission statement why this parcel should have been sold at such a discount. I think anyone in Portland, whether you care about gentrification or not, should be bothered by the city giving away so much of a publicly-owned resource, without getting anything in return, in a part of the city that is already seeing plenty of private investment.