It was a warm night in October when one of Portland's best soul-food spots died for the second time.
"It is with a lot of sorrow that I write to tell you that Dub's St. Johns is closing its doors for good," owner William "Dub" Travis III wrote on Facebook. "Shocker. I know. I never thought that we'd be leaving this location. I thought that we'd be here forever!"
The reasons for the closure were much less dramatic than the first time around, when the restaurant, then known as Mack and Dub's Excellent Chicken & Waffles, burned to the ground in an apparent hate crime. According to Travis, the restaurant simply wasn't making enough money to stay open.
Four months later, though, you can still get Dub's excellent fried chicken, along with his equally delicious ribs, brisket and cheesesteak; in January, Travis took over as chef-in-residence at Marie's, a bar in St. Johns one block away from where his diner once stood.
Two months earlier, another Portland soul-food destination rose from literal ashes. Reo's Ribs, the Hollywood neighborhood rib shack owned by Snoop Dogg's uncle, which also caught fire under suspicious circumstances in 2016, reopened in November, in the same location on Sandy Boulevard.
We're not sure if someone found a Necronomicon at a yard sale in Kenton or what, but this year, the dead have been rising all over Portland.
Dean's Scene, the Northeast Fremont Street speakeasy that died along with its namesake, homebrewer Dean Pottle, is being revived by some of his old buddies. Smallwares, chef Johanna Ware's "inauthentic Asian" restaurant, returned in summer on the same street. Plans are in place to bring back legendary jazz club Jimmy Mak's and long-gone family diner Ye Olde Towne Crier. Purringtons, the cat cafe that replaced Mack and Dub's on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., cashed in one of its nine lives, seemingly shuttered in December, then announced an impending comeback under new ownership.
Portland has spent much of the past decade mourning the passage of its history. But in a city that clings so fiercely to the memories of itself, the past is never truly past—and now, we can say that literally.
So the next time your favorite dive or fried chicken joint or cat lounge closes, just remember: In Portland, death is not the end.