A little over a year ago, the house at the corner
of North Charleston and Ivanhoe in St. Johns was overrun by cockroaches and the detritus of addiction. Today, the building is renovated as one of North Portland’s most exciting new restaurants, the Baowry
. The restaurant was a neighborhood pick in our 2012 Restaurant Guide, which you can still find for free on newsstands until tomorrow morning.
"This house was destroyed and we pretty much built everything ourselves," said bartender and co-owner Alan Torres. Indeed, the Baowry (full disclosure: I knew a cook before being given this assignment) has had a remarkable transformation from crackhouse-like squalor to chic pub with polished wood surrounded by Chinese paintings and newspapers.
A homey mantlepiece beckons in patrons for soups, hot cocktails, and succulent duck and pork meat in the bao buns. A variety of yakisoba noodles, egg bowls, and other Chinese fusion fare dot the menu.
The bar is also inspired by Far East flavors and substitutes the vodka drinks with a fermented rice alcohol from Korea, Soju. The bar also has huge beer coolers or “giraffes” available to be brought to your table and different depending on the day, communal punch bowls. The alcohol can turn the place lively on many nights, a mood that will grow if the owners follow through with plans to host live music next spring
Here's a look inside the Baowry.