Alex Bond, co-owner of Nob Hill wine bar and restaurant Serratto, is looking to buy the 60-year-old Sandy Boulevard restaurant Clyde's Prime Rib—the giant steakhouse castle just down the street from the German-style castle housing Der Rheinlander. Its owner, Ernest Clyde Jenkins II, apparently plans to retire.
Bond filed a liquor license application for the Clyde's Prime Rib location Wednesday and looks to be keeping the name intact.
The deal has not yet closed, but when reached by phone, Bond told WW he has no current plans to make big changes after the sale goes through, and looks forward to working with Jenkins' existing staff.
"It's a cool old-school spot," Bond told WW by phone, "and I would be honored to be its custodian for a while."
Clyde's was founded as the Prime Rib in 1954 under restaurateur Eddie Mays but was bought by Jenkins in 2006, becoming one of the most prominent black-owned restaurants in Portland, with a busy weekend dining and dancing scene featuring live blues, R&B and jazz.
This has amounted to a heartening turnaround for a location that, in the 1930s and '40s, had a shameful past as home to a popular West Coast chain restaurant called the Coon Chicken Inn, which finally closed in 1949.
Upon buying the property in 1954, new owner Mays bricked up the once-grotesque entrance as a castle rampart.
Under Jenkins, the restaurant has been home to live music on weekends—mostly local blues and R&B, with a Sunday jazz residency by Ron Steen, and the décor remains 1950s lounge chic, with low lighting, red velvet booths, a cocktail lounge with a huge fireplace, chandeliers, and a wealth of framed oil paintings on the walls. Prime rib is carved tableside, on a dropclothed cart, and customers are greeted by a full suit of armor as they enter.
"Anyone who knows me, knows I love this place," says Bond.