PIE HIGH: Adam Milne, owner of downtown stalwart Old Town Pizza, says he’s planning a grand-opening bash on Thursday, June 5, for a new, second Old Town location on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the new Vanport Square development (yes, it will still be called Old Town, even though it’s not in Old Town). Expect a “soft opening” a bit earlier, Milne says, to work out kinks in the 6,000-square-foot space, which he says will look and feel a lot like the original with the same menu.
(EMPTY) SPACE RACE? After months spent courting local restaurant bigwigs, two hulking restaurant spaces in downtown PDX remain empty with no takers. Desmond Mollendor, a principal owner of the boutique Hotel Modera, at 1515 SW Clay St., says Modera is considering dividing the 7,000-square-foot ground-floor space they’d earmarked for one big hotel restaurant into rooms for two smaller food operations. Modera is slated to open June 1, Mollendor says, with or without a tenant. “With talk of a recession, most restaurants are getting hit,” Mollendor says of conversations with local restaurant owners like Greg Higgins and David Machado. “When they crunch the numbers, it’s just too big.” Portland State University’s new $42 million recreation center, between Southwest 5th and 6th avenues on Montgomery Street, is also lacking food love. Mark Gregory, PSU’s associate VP for strategic planning, partnerships and technology, says he’s also been searching for a restaurant company to take on the 11,000-square-foot anchor-restaurant spot—with no luck—for more than six months. Gregory says he’s hearing economic concerns from national companies as well.