Fish Grotto, the Southwest Stark Street seafood restaurant that has existed in Portland in some form for more than a century, is now closed—perhaps permanently.
The restaurant, originally established in 1891 as Zack's Oyster House, closed Tuesday night, changing its hours on its Facebook page to "Permanently Closed," but owner Dan Zilka would not confirm the closure is permanent.
"We're just retooling," Zilka said. "That's all I have to say right now." Zilka would not say if or when the restaurant would reopen or if it would keep the same name. Zilka last year opened an adjoining bar, Sand Bar, which is still open.
Zilka has been retooling for some time now. He has owned several bars in what was once known as Portland's "Gay Triangle." His current gay bar, Boxxes, was moved upstairs to the Fez Ballroom space after its space was cut in half to create Sand Bar. He also owned adjoining night club Aura and gay bar Red Cap Garage, which were demolished to make room for Union Way, the shopping center New York Times Magazine gushed is "so Portland it hurts." A former asset of his, the bar Panorama, is now Living Room Theaters.
Fish Grotto is one of the last original holdouts in the area that's now dubbed the West End. If it goes, chances are it will be replaced with something much more appealing to travel writers.