Beaverton Boba Bar MILK+T Will Open a Micro Shop in Downtown Portland

It is the latest vendor to help revive the Portland Food Hall on Southwest 2nd Avenue.

One of the biggest trends in the Portland restaurant industry over the past several years has been the opening of second and third locations not in Portland, but over the West Hills in Beaverton. Now, one Beaverton business is doing the exact opposite: launching a Portland spinoff in a neighborhood many have written off—downtown.

MILK+T, pronounced “milk and tea,” is an Asian- and women-run bubble tea bar on Southwest Farmington Road that is a boba ball’s throw away from Portland-based expansions like Top Burmese, Ex Novo, Big’s Chicken, Loyal Legion and Afuri. On March 11, co-owner Stacey Kwong will open a pint-sized version of that shop inside the Portland Food Hall 827 SW 2nd Ave.

Now, if it’s been a minute since you’ve even thought of the Portland Food Hall, we can’t blame you. Not to be confused with Pine Street Market just a half-dozen blocks away in its signature arch-windowed structure, the hall has a much more subtle façade and is tucked into a building amid downtown’s World Trade Center offices.

Founded by four veterans of the local catering and beverage industry, the business once housed multiple vendors and primarily catered to the surrounding 9-to-5 crowd on lunch break, though there was also a delightful tropical retreat called Bar Miranda on the mezzanine. However, once COVID cleared its neighbors of office workers, Portland Food Hall was also wiped of its micro-eateries. The door remained locked long after other restaurants had reopened, but there are recent signs of life, including the opening of Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, Open Wide Deli and Mi Pueblito Magico.

MILK+T will join the lineup and, despite its closet-sized space (20 square feet), serve drinks with big flavors and premium ingredients, like the Classic (a black milk tea), Piglet (strawberry coconut milk), and an assortment of booze-infused bobas exclusive to that location. However, the business has operated out of cramped quarters before—it began as a food truck setup in Los Angeles eight years ago.

During the grand opening, local group White Lotus will perform a traditional lion dance and other local small businesses are scheduled to be in attendance, including glass container retailer BBTEA Jars, stationery company Wednesday Paper and Portland’s hub for all things K-pop, KPopNW. Attendees will also have the chance to score a mystery bag filled with merch. The event runs from 1 to 8 pm.

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