Like the tsunami promised in that dreadful New Yorker article last summer, the tide of Portland development seemed to reach its high water mark in St. Johns last July when the popular Chinese bun and noodle shop the Baowry seemed destined to for demolition to make way for a new Shiny Apartment Unit Cube, as first reported by WW.
The Baowry already represented a first wave of contemporary dining and development in the neighborhood—and with its pending demolition, the wave was crashing in on itself.
It looks like that fate has been belayed.
Patrick Neal, owner of the psychedelic beer bar Plew's Brews, has reached a deal with Baowry owner Alan Torres to reopen the restaurant.
Neal plans to eventually relaunch the new iteration of The Baowry (which will retain its name) as a "sci-fi sushi bar" that will draw influence from izakayas, Japan's booze-heavy version of the gastropub.
"Most sushi bars want customers to get in, eat, and get out. I want people to be open to hanging out, eating and drinking for a while," said Neal.
Don't expect the old menu items. If you're looking for the Baowry's signature pillowy soft roast duck bao or red pork banh mi, you'll have to go to Southeast Hawthorne's Quarterworld, where Torres has launched an abridged version of the old Baowry menu.
The kitchen at the new Baowry will be run by chef Alex Garras, and the bar will feature ales from local gypsy brewer Awesome Ales—also always on tap at Plew's—and mead from Stung. Until the Baowry is ready to relaunch, Neal will host a series of pop-up dinners
Neal's long-term goal is to use a crowdsourcing campaign to buy the house in which the Baowry is located, as well as the other surrounding buildings, in an effort to fight off development
"If we can keep businesses in downtown run by kids with tattoos and piercings," says Neal, "I think that's cool."