Lisa Schroeder

is spreading the branches of her family restaurant's tree.

She's launching a new venture, Mama Mia Trattoria, which she describes as a "red sauce and UN-authentic Italian food" emporium, at 439 SW 2nd Ave., just a few doors down from Mother's. The new joint is housed in what used to be the Elephant and Castle pub, and is slated to open early this summer.

"It's gonna look like a brothel," the local restaurant scene's top mom happily exclaims, describing the crimson-and-velvet interior she's dreamed up.

"I make things that I think Portland needs," says Schroeder, a Philadelphia native, who admits she's the one craving a plate of Italian-American spaghetti and meatballs.

Opening the neighboring trattoria, Schroeder says, also provides the opportunity to expand her bistro's office and baking space. But the Bite Club calls that one spicy meatball of a simplification. This new restaurant will double the saucy mama's downtown table count. Perhaps Mother Schroeder is out for complete Portland comfort-food domination, one cuisine at a time.

Oy, totalitarianism should taste so good.


Enterprising Portland restaurateurs: Food Network Canada wants you!

Seems our neighbors to the north are seeking a passionate chef in our neighborhood who's in the process of opening a high-profile, non-chain venture. The tasty new reality show plans to follow the chow-slinger's journey from drywall to dinner service, à la Chef Rocco in last year's The Restaurant.

We can see it now. Close up: A sweaty, T-shirted Leather Storrs holds his newborn baby in one arm and directs a team of plaster-choked builders with the other. Pan right: Greg Higgins hurls a bunch of carrots against a wall, shouting, "These are not organic!" Bruce Carey sits on a folding chair in the corner--plotting.

According to Erik Wolf, head of Oregon's Culinary Tourism Association, Portland's future food-boob-tube star may be named by the end of this week. Stay tuned.


New hours alert! Oenophile and tiny-appetite haven Navarre (10 NE 28th Ave., 232-3555) is opening its door on Sundays (5:30-10:30 pm) so you can enjoy your day of rest properly snookered and sated. Caprial's Bistro (7015 SE Milwaukie Ave., 236-6457) just unveiled a new menu for walk-in customers crowding the Sellwood institution's bar and counter seats. Munch your way through the bar menu from 5 to 10 pm Tuesdays through Thursdays and until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

Get your wine, mead, cider and microbrew on this weekend at Portland's 10th annual Spring Beer and Wine Fest, the largest booze fest of its kind in the nation.

Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., . Noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday, April 9-10. $5+.