Three years after WW first reported that Sizzle Pie would open a hipster mini-mart on East Burnside, Mini Mini finally opened September 1 next to rocker dive the B-side at 7th Avenue and Burnside Street.
Mini Mini—which looks a bit like a selvedge-denim-clad Japanese tourist's idea of what a Portland convenience store should look like—is serving up prettily printed designer crowlers of craft beer and kombucha (currently a Double Mountain takeover), a Finnriver cider tap, kombucha taps, Steven Smith Tea taps, Stumptown cold brew taps, Coava hot brew, a soda dispenser filled with Jones Soda and a selection of—wait for it— craft "Quickie Pie" hot pockets from Sizzle Pie.
Oh, and while we haven't yet used it to verify it's all true…. the ATM is free, which we've been trained by the newly late Tom Peterson to believe is a very good price.
Mini Mini is easily the most high-profile designer mini-mart ever to open in Portland—likely the most self-consciously cool mini-mart since the Belmont Bodega was staging Panty Raids—and its list of partners is a who's who of Portland businesses. Along with Mikey McKennedy and Matt Jacobson of Sizzle Pie, the partners on the store include Jonathan Felix-Lund and Matt Brown of Coava Coffee. According to staff there, also aboard is internationally famous Portland designer Aaron Draplin, who designed logos for Sizzle Pie, Patagonia, and the Nike Air Max 360, among countless other brands.
The classic midcentury gas-station-Americana of the Mini Mini signage bear Draplin's obvious stamp—but Draplin is equally well known in town for his Field Notes line of notebooks, one of which graces the counter at Mini Mini's cash register.
The aisles are tabbed like pages to a city guide—Coffee, Drinks, Sweet, Salty, Healthy, Wine—and stocked with a mix of local cool-kid merch and old-school junk food.
On the Sweet aisle, there is a neatly arranged rolodex of Red Vines ($2.25). The Salty sports a meticulous rainbow of Corn Nuts. And the Healthy aisle offers the same sort of artisanal junk food you might get at New Seasons or Food Front: Skinny Pop and Halfpops popcorn, Keenwa quinoa chips, etc.
The beer is mostly local and craft—with a bit of a fetish for Double Mountain, plus way more Gilgamesh than seems reasonable. The water is "Just Water." Bags of Coava beans line the shelves alongside Underwood wine.
Salt and Straw is in the freezer. Lots and lots of Salt and Straw. And Ruby Jewel ice cream bars.
Seriously, though: Branded kombucha crowlers ($9). The world is strange and new.
But here's the thing: We sort of want Smith Teamaker tea out of a spigot in the morning, and you're wrong if you complain.
Besides, the ATM fee at the mini market that used to be here four years ago was like $3. What a world now, in which money on Burnside is free.