Ahead of Rainy Weather, Eastside Hotel Kex Closes Its Restaurants Again While Higgins Reopens Indoor Dining

Crisp, a made-to-order salad shop, has launched a second location amid rising demand for whole, fresh food.

Lady of the Mountain at KEX. IMAGE: Wesley Lapointe.

As we head into the first forecasted soaker of a weekend this fall, a number of restaurants are making moves ahead of the weather—some are reopening indoor dining rooms while at least one is calling it quits, at least for now.

Kex, the first spinoff of an upscale hostel in Reykjavik, Iceland, that launched last November, will be shutting its doors for the remainder of the year. The temporary closure includes both onsite eateries, rooftop bar Lady of the Mountain and ground-floor restaurant Dóttir.

Related: Lady of the Mountain Is a Rooftop Bar Worth Summiting.

The company took several months to plan how it would welcome back customers for food and drink service in August, though announced it was holding off on allowing guests to book overnight stays until 2021.

After two months in operation, owners decided it wasn't feasible to keep the restaurant and bar going through fall and winter. Lady of the Mountain, on an exposed roof with only umbrellas near tabletops for shade, is too weather dependent. And simply not enough business was coming to Dóttir, as would-be customers remain jittery about eating inside.

Right now, Kex hopes to reopen next March with new room layouts—the dorm-style lodging will be scrapped for the foreseeable future—and indoor dining.

Meanwhile, beloved downtown restaurant Higgins is also transitioning into fall by reopening its corner dining room seven months after the COVID-19 state-mandated shutdown.

James Beard Award-winning chef Greg Higgins is set to relaunch service at the space at Southwest Broadway and Jefferson Street on Oct. 7 for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday, with new safety measures in place.

Guests will enter through Higgins' front door and exit through the bar. Seating is available in both the formal dining room and bar area, but you can't pull up a chair at the countertop itself. Face coverings are required whenever you are not seated and while interacting with staff.

Higgins' summertime pivot, the popular open-air bistro Piggins, will still be around. But rather than offering table seating in the Oregon Historical Society's plaza, the food cart kitchen is set to fulfill orders to go only.

Related: Higgins' New Outdoor Bistro Is a Pandemic Pivot That Should Become a Summer Tradition.

Amazingly, some in the hospitality industry are still finding ways to expand, despite the challenges 2020 has thrown at them.

Crisp, a made-to-order salad shop on North Williams Avenue, is opening a second location on Southeast Division Street.

Owner Emma Dye says the desire for whole, fresh food was already on the rise before the pandemic hit, but the March closures of dine-in service and the lingering global health crisis have only intensified that demand.

The new location is now open and has created 15 jobs during a time when the industry desperately needs every single one of them.

Related: Portland Restaurants and Bars Have Seen Fire. Now They're Preparing to See Rain—and the Results Could Be Even More Devastating.

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