Each December, Eater Portland ends the year by reflecting on the last twelve months of eating in a series we call Year in eater. We reach out to Portland food editors and influencers to hear their take on major trends, awesome newcomers, and standout dishes, and share their answers in one package. Back to the years spent here.
“Obviously, it was tragic to say goodbye to Vitaly Paley’s presence in town. I find it hard to think of someone who shaped the city as deeply as Vito, and Portland’s food scene will simply be lacking without Imperial, the Crown, Headwaters and, of course, Paley’s Place. Ataula, too, was another tragedy. But the shutdown that hit me the most will hopefully be temporary, and that’s Alley Mezza. It’s not only because I stupidly missed Chef Khal’s vegan cuisine, but also because it was a deeply distressing situation. It opened my eyes a lot to how Portland treats its non-white leaders, especially Arabs – when I knew our city had its struggles against racism, see it on such a display in the comments on the networks. social and in other discussions was heartbreaking and infuriating. We must do better.
-Alex Frane, editor and guest contributor of Eater Portland
“I was really disappointed when L’Unico Alimentari closed so suddenly – they made some of the best pasta I’ve ever had.”
-Katherine Chew Hamilton, Portland monthly food editor
“Homegrown Smoker news is bittersweet as it marks the end of an era on the vegan scene. Alley Mezza and Dinger’s Deli were the saddest closings as they are both some of my neighborhood favorites. Shady Pines is sad, too – it’s a great concept that never fully materialized, and closing that pod left several carts in dire straits. Many closures are not due to a lack of activity, but to deeper issues within the food industry.
-Waz Wu, Eater Portland contributor
“In another year of so many big name closings, this is a very difficult question to answer. Probably the barbecue of the Holy Trinity. It was a heartbreaking loss. When chefs José Chesa and Cristina Báez moved in, many (rightly) mourned Ataula, but the quieter evaporation of 180 Xurros was sadder for me since I had frequented this place. I feel like Portland could always use more dessert options beyond ice cream and donuts, just as I love both of these foods.
-Janey Wong, Portland Mercury food columnist
“It’s so touchy. I know people are going to mention places like Paley’s and Ataula – both were absolutely devastating, when you think of the history of catering in Portland – but it’s hard for me to ignore the how my heart broke when Holy Trinity announced it was closing. Considering her brief time in Portland, I have so many fond memories of eating Holy Trinity prime rib, those green chili groats, that * pudding banana. * I admit, I still hope he will come back eventually, in one form or another. ”
-Brooke Jackson-Glidden, editor of Eater Portland
“Nodoguro, which was one of the best Japanese restaurants in the country.”
-Gary Okazaki (“Gary the Foodie”), famous globetrotter eater
“Even though I’ve only eaten there a few times, the closure of Paley is significant as it feels like the end of the farm-to-table first wave era that paved the way for the current local scene. I also miss Kachinka. I always took people out there for all the fun little plates and infused vodkas. It was both relaxed and festive. While very different, Oma’s Hideaway kind of fills that void.
-Krista Garcia, Eater Portland contributor
“Biba Chamoru cuisine. Ed Sablan’s food channels Guam’s distinct culinary traditions, always serving delicious barbecues, coconut flatbread, shrimp cakes, kelaguen chicken salad, and especially excellent pickles and kimchi. I really hope they come back so I can buy more of their pickled papaya and fiesta platters.
-Jordan Michelman, Sprudge co-founder and beverage writer
“I was pretty shocked with the closing of Circa 33, especially after experiencing what seemed like a pretty successful pop-up over the summer, Gin Alley. The staff were always super nice and ready to serve the neighborhood.
-Katrina Yentch, Eater Portland collaborator
“For me, it was Holy Trinity Barbecue that I had always wanted to try but never did. The fact that Chipotle would open a new location just inches from their cart (and the original capsule assembly!) Is a notable example of deaf corporate behavior.
-Bill Oakley, fast food influencer
“Paley’s place. A truly iconic Portland restaurant with an exceptional happy hour and an incredible regular menu including a spectacular beef tartare. The warm atmosphere was one of a kind with service, drinks and food to match. I can only hope that his legacy will continue to influence the Portland food scene.
-Maya MacEvoy, Eater Portland contributor
“I was sad that Gogi Grill in Camas had closed. The Park family, who have owned this place for many years, have survived a fire, but the pandemic has put an end to this beloved place’s run for Korean food. The loss of Restaurant Lapellah has left a huge void in Vancouver’s dining scene. No place has tried to replace this beloved farm-to-table spot, known for its fire-kissed vegetables, fish and meat.
–Rachel Pinsky, Eater Portland Associate, Washington Correspondent
• Year in eater [EPDX]