In this feature, we take a critical eye to a unique new business concept and ask a simple question: Does Portland really need this?
What is it? A torch-fired artisanal s'mores shop that upgrades your Eagle Scout camping trip memories with bittersweet chocolate fudge and tea-infused marshmallows.
The environment: 1927 grew out of a trendy food cart and into a trendy storefront only a 10-minute walk from Providence Park. Open late on weekends, it's easy bait for Timbers crowds and boozed-up snackers. The small space means it might be a tight fit at peak hours, but being pinned shoulder to shoulder between two strangers recalls nights around the campfire as much as the rustic lighting and exposed wood.
The food: You can choose to build your own s'more from a list of housemade graham crackers, marshmallows and sauce options ($6), or go with one of the classic flavors ($5), which include bourbon-salted caramel and lemon meringue pie. The Original 1927 is the closest you'll get to the s'more of your childhood, albeit with fancier-tasting chocolate. (A pumpkin pie version is available for a limited time, because 'tis the season.) Other options include ice cream grahamwiches ($4.50), an obscenely rich s'mores parfait ($5) and gourmet hot chocolate ($5). The s'mores are fired up in front of you, hibachi-style—not that anyone needed to lift the curtain on how s'mores are made.
Pros: If you haven't eaten a s'more in a while—and given this underwhelming summer, it's probably been at least a year—the combination of chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker is effectively fail-proof, and if you can swallow the price, you'll get your fix.
Cons: A blind taste test between 1927's elite ingredients and those of the Honey Maid and Jet-Puffed variety is probably going to come out a draw. The blowtorch really just warms up the marshmallow for smushing and can't replicate the charred taste a fire provides. And if you take your order to go, it will cement to the bottom of its cardboard boat and you will have to go at it face-first, or opt for the blasphemy of a knife and fork.
Do we need this?: Not really. The legacy of the s'more is that it doesn't need to be elevated—the original recipe is a slam dunk every time. Unless you're absolutely jonesing, saving yourself for the stick-and-campfire method is worth it.
GO: 1927 S'mores Company, 1126 SW Alder St., 503-334-8080, 1927smores.com. Noon-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday.