Apologies to Portland's many other fried chicken peddlers: Reel M Inn is officially back, which means second place is the best you can hope for.
In November, the nautical-themed Southeast Division Street dive announced it was closing "indefinitely," the qualifier leaving the door cracked for a possible revival once the pandemic got somewhere near under control. Given its location at New Portland's ground zero, though, the place seemed to be on borrowed time as it was, and it felt as if a global health crisis had accomplished what gentrification couldn't.
We shouldn't have doubted it: The bar announced last Thursday on Instagram last week it was officially reopening—exclusively as a to-go operation for now, with limited hours, but still.
Reel M Inn had previously reopened for takeout wing orders only on Super Bowl Sunday, and promptly sold out 24 hours in advance. Ordering instructions are the same as they were for that brief revival: Text your order a day (or, even better, a few days) in advance, pick up within the operating window, and wonder what crazed alchemy has allowed this weird little bar to fry the best birds in town.
The bar is among a few temporarily shuttered businesses that have begun to reopen now that COVID cases in Oregon are beginning to show a decline.
Whiskey bar the Old Gold on North Killingsworth Street—which opted to stay closed after Gov. Kate Brown lifted her November economic "freeze" during the coronavirus surge in the fall—will begin serving patrons again on March 3, now utilizing the empty storefront next door as a second patio. Classic Portland steakhouse RingSide is welcoming guests in person again, as is the bottle shop and beer bar Belmont Station.
Powell's Books has also reopened sections of its flagship location for physical shopping. Previously, customers could only browse the first floor, but shopping was expanded last Friday to the Purple and Red rooms on the second level.