Portland’s NEW Artisan Food Corridor

Undeniably the creative incubator for craft food and beverage in the United States, Portland is in perpetual reinvention – shifting perception and informing opinion on how, why and what is sustainable and of sustenance. From fresh roasted coffee to artisan ice cream, full-flavour microbrews to secretly foraged mushrooms, hand-formed cheeses, self-cured and butchered meats, hazelnuts (sorry – filberts), Pacific harvested sea salt, urban wineries and a myriad more delicious things, this is where the needle moves.

In recent years, driven by lesser rent and greater space, the hum of invention has drifted east, across the Willamette River. Akin to New York’s Brooklyn, Portland’s eastside industrial district is exploding with delicious food and drink artisans. In the past few months, critical mass has organically formed around either side of the two main North|South one-way roads – NE Grand Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. New warehouses and headquarters are opening monthly, creating a walkable, workable culinary collective united as much by its geography as its local and sustainable ethos.

With many opening just as this piece is published, these locations join existing eastside pioneers in the ‘hood like Stumptown Coffee (new headquarters and relocated Annex cupping room), Coava Coffee and Clay Pigeon Winery. A vital, vibrant new Artisan Corridor is forming right in front of our eyes. Here’s an of-the-moment snapshot of where food, drink and craft meet, and why you should get there now.

1. Start at Olympic Provisions and then go to:
107 SE Washington Street

Olympic Provisions is all things to many people, and has spawned similar market/restaurant/delis around North America.  In the restaurant and deli chef Alex Yoder and crew prepare rustic Mediterranean inspired lunch and dinner, while Salumist Elias Cairo crafts exemplary “American Charcuterie” using local, high-quality ingredients out of Oregon’s first USDA certified salumeria.

2. Steven Smith Teamaker – ETA early 2015
110 SE Washington Street

Dubbed the “all-star alchemist of top-shelf tea”, artisanal tea master Steven Smith will be opening a 27,600 sq ft tea warehouse, production facility and retail cafe in early 2015. His eponymous teas are spotted all over smart restaurants and shops across Oregon, and you just may have heard of the other brands he helped form: Stash and Tazo.

3. Stumptown Coffee Headquarters – OPEN
100 SE Salmon Street

Though two years long at this location, there is no way you should miss a trip around the Artisan Corridor without paying homage (and participating in free cuppings) at the legendary Stumptown. Next to company headquarters you’ll find The Annex the best place in the world to purchase Stumptown beans in bulk, drink a pourover and get your buzz on.

4. Quin Candy Lab – ETA early 2015
1430 SE Water Avenue

Nostalgia reimagined. This artisan candy shoppe will make you feel like a kid again – but this time, a principled one. Small batch handmade lollipops, caramels and other sweet delights look as fantastical as they taste, and are all crafted with top-notch, locally harvested ingredients, hand-cut and lovingly assembled – most likely by omnipresent and uber-passionate owner and chief candy-maker Jami Curl.

5. Jacobsen Salt Co. – OPEN
602 SE Salmon Street

I carry my little thumb sized tin of briny Pacific coast-collected Jacobsen sea salt wherever I go. Proprietor Ben Jacobsen’s hand-harvested salts have a fervent following among chefs professional and amateur across the nation. Purists rejoice at the flaked sea salt, though innovative collaborations with local producers have yielded insanely delicious results (Xocolatl de Davíd’s salted chocolate bar amongst them). A salvaged oyster trailer in the converted warehouse serves as a unique gathering place for collaborative chef dinners.

6. Bee Local Honey – OPEN
Same as Jacobsen Salt Co.

Bees have ‘hoods too. Bee Local offers terroir-based honey varieties, unique micro-batch offerings with complex flavor profiles reflective of the bees’ forage in specific neighborhoods and regions. Founder Damian Magista focuses on the healthiest, most unique and flavourful honey, while being a spokesperson for sustainable beekeeping. The operation has just moved headquarters inside the Jacobsen Salt Co. warehouse.

7. Ancient Heritage Dairy – ETA November/December
626 SE Main Street

Portland’s first urban creamery is due to open late this year, bringing Central Oregon’s prized hand produced cow and sheep milk cheeses closer to the urban centre and the chefs and consumers who devotedly search it out. This tightly-knit Obringer family operation is devoted to sustainability and self-sufficiency, bridging the best of traditional and modern techniques.

8. The Commons Brewery – ETA early 2015
628-630 SE Belmont Street

One of Portland’s most highly beer-nerd acclaimed breweries will be opening its new location in early 2015, providing much more space for Mike Wright and co. to brew their sought after, small-batch brews.

9. Coopers Hall – OPEN
404 SE 6th Avenue

At the newly opened Coopers Hall, taps rule, with more than 35 wines, beers and ciders flowing though the lines, complementing chef Roscoe Roberson’s family-style comfort food. The large warehouse, converted from an auto body shop, has room enough for an active urban winery, allowing guests to observe the process from grape to glass

10. Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery – OPEN
815 SE Oak Street

Cyril’s dubs itself as a “Progressive American Kitchen tucked inside an awesome Urban Winery”, a riff that I couldn’t reinvent better (it’s truth). Sasha Davies and Michael Claypool’s resto is also a cheese heaven, gourmet retail shop and tasting bar, and devoted to education via their popular Cheese Club, Wine Flight Club and wine-themed public classes.

 

Map illustration by Ehren Salazar

 

 

Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade. In addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for WineAlign, ...

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