South Waterfront condos have river views and the Pearl District has neon totem poles, but here's a condo amenity that beats 'em all—the lucky residents of the Clinton Condominiums will wake up to the smell of fresh-baked bread from one of Portland's top bakers. Ex-Pearl Bakery ace breadsmith Tim Healea has chosen Holst Architecture and Randy Rapaport's marvelous modern dwelling at Southeast 26th Avenue and Division Street as the future home of his bakery cafe.
Healea plans a June 2008 debut for his venture, Little T American Baker , a craft bakery that will also serve sandwiches, salads, soups and artisanal cheeses. Once a magazine editor in New York City, Healea has been kneading his way around Portland since 1999, after ditching journalism for culinary school (a smart move). He interned at the pioneering Pearl Bakery, became its head baker within a year, and held that position for six more. Healea earned the nickname "Little T" while on the elite 2002 Bread Bakers Guild Team USA, which beat the French on Parisian soil. He left the Pearl Bakery in 2006, but has remained a consultant while scoping multiple eastside spaces for his solo debut, finally deciding on 1,970 square feet adjacent to a yoga studio in the Clinton Condominiums.
"I think it's one of the best restaurant neighborhoods in town," Healea says. "I'm happy to be a part of it." First Lauro moved in, then Pok Pok, next Broder and now this—lucky Southeast Portland bastards.
Speaking of the Southeast quadrant, a new development in the former home of Grand Central Bowl is about to inject steroids into the skinny arm of the central eastside—a neighborhood where, until recently, heroin would have been more appropriate. With a plan that calls for a new 12-lane bowling alley, a second-story billiards lounge, two bars and a full-service eatery, the gargantuan 22,000-square-foot Grand Central Restaurant and Bowling Lounge will anchor the Grand Central redevelopment: a concept Eat Me predicts will become the Henry's Tavern of the eastside. With a roster of pizza, salads, sandwiches and burgers, Concept Entertainment (Lotus, Dixie Tavern, Bar 71, Barracuda, etc.) will flood its new 'hood with late-night dining and boozing options just paces away from the live flesh parade at Sassy's, the indie and electronic music at Holocene, and up-and-coming bars Morrison Hotel and Maiden in the Mist. Sparky's Pizza and Bishops Barbershop will also call Grand Central home, and, according to developer John Plew, four more soon-to-be-announced local and national tenants have signed up. The Grand Central is sandwiched between Southeast Belmont and Morrison streets at 8th Avenue. Take the Morrison Bridge, follow the smell of Drakkar.
Northward several blocks, lower Burnside's super-cozy Japanese eatery Biwa (215 SE 9th Ave. 239-8830) now serves cocktails. And, in what might be the best news in late-night eating since Dots Cafe (2521 SE Clinton St., 235-0203) discovered the magic of bacon + cheese + fries, Biwa now serves its slurpworthy ramen and udon noodles for $5 past 9 pm every night of the week.