Fermenter’s Aaron Adams Is Opening a Vegan Late-Night Lounge This Week

Workshop Food and Drink will serve a lineup of small plates and a deep list of cocktails with alcohol and without.

Aaron Adams, the chef behind the self-dubbed “beneficial bacteria emporium” Fermenter, is launching a late-night vegan lounge right next door to that house of fermented foods.

Workshop Food and Drink will hold a grand opening celebration Saturday, Feb. 18, at 1407 SE Belmont St. The bar will lean on Adams’ expertise of working with microorganisms throughout his 30-year culinary career and use his Cuban roots as an inspiration for many of the dishes.

Diners can expect a lineup of small plates, like lion’s mane empanizado, pincho de tortilla and pasta de bocadito with brioche, and as with every project Adams helms, the menu will be entirely vegan. However, the chef is making a departure from his previous restaurants—Fermenter and Farm Spirit (Adams’ previous fine-dining spot)—by sourcing ingredients a bit farther from home (Fermenter, for instance, uses farmers all located within a 105-mile radius of Portland). Items will be rotating seasonally.

Pairing with the food is a deep list of cocktails both with alcohol and without. Bartender Alma Medina has worked with Adams to make sure each drink partners perfectly with the dishes, and some use kitchen byproducts to help offset waste, like Yes Whey, a classic milk punch using a housemade cashew yogurt whey incorporated with winter melon syrup, lime and Caracas Club Venezuelan Rum.

There is an extensive list of zero-proof cocktails as well, including the Smokey Mountain (N/A whiskey and fernet with lapsang souchong tea and cherry syrup) that was inspired by Adams’ family.

“My wife is sober,” he stated in a press release. “I wanted to create a place where I could offer her and her friends—and the sober community at large—a grown-up place to have fun and unwind.”

Like every detail in the menu, the name Workshop also has significance and pays homage to the French concept of “atelier” along with Adams’ foundational French training during his years in New York City. The lounge will serve as a place where both he and his team can continue to experiment and grow when it comes to fermented vegan dining.

Starting Feb. 23, Workshop will be open during its regular hours: 5-10 pm Thursday and Sunday and 5-11 pm Friday and Saturday.

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