By next year, Southeast 82nd Avenue will have its own giant indoor food hall, plus a parking lot full of food carts. It'll be called Collective Oregon Eateries, or CORE for short.
Last week, demolition began on the the gargantuan, barnlike Farm House restaurant, long abandoned and covered with graffiti just south of Powell Boulevard. The new project is owned by the family behind Powell Boulevard's OM Seafood Market and Restaurant.
Mandy Kao, a partner on the project alongside her husband Henry Ho, says the food hall will draw from cuisines across the spectrum. In addition to at least nine indoor mini-restaurants in the an 8,500-square-foot space—a bit similar to the Pine Street Market, she says—the parking lot will house 15 or so outdoor food carts, a covered patio and parking for both bikes and cars.
The Ho family had bought the 36,000-square-foot Farm House property with the ambitions of turning it into another big restaurant. But Kao, the OM owners' daughter-in-law, convinced them a multi-faceted food hall and cart pod would be a better choice.
“At first dad said, ‘I don’t understand the craze of this food cart life,'” Kao says. “In Asia it’s different: food carts mean a lower standard of food. In Portland it’s about doing what you’re really good at, honing it, serving just a few items. That’s how we got into it. We love food; our friends always call us the eating specialists. I’ve been into food carts ever since Snow White crepes—one of the first food carts in Portland—ever since I was 18. We said, ‘Why don’t we just do this?'”
Kao says that unlike many of the food mini-malls on 82nd such as the ones housing Ha VL, Fubonn or Teo Bun Bo Hue, CORE won't center just on Asian food.
"Our thing isn't just about Chinese food," says Kao. "It'll be a variety of international foods. I grew up internationally, I love French food, Indian food, strong flavors. We've got people in mind we'd love to have come. We want a good mixture of what really represents Portland—local businesses, not Starbucks. Some of these will be names. Some new things will be discoveries."
Kao hopes to have CORE open by fall of 2018.