Beast, the Portland fine dining destination that made owner and chef Naomi Pomeroy a nationally recognized culinary star, is no more.
She is not, however, moving out. Pomeroy says she plans to open a new concept in the building at 5425 NE 30th Ave. in November, though she declined to give details.
Pomeroy, who started her career in the late '90s with a supper club run out of her house, achieved widespread fame when she opened the 24-seat Beast in 2007.
Pomeroy's locally sourced, French-inspired meals made Beast a sensation. It was named The Oregonian's Restaurant of the Year in 2008, and Pomeroy went on to win a prestigious James Beard Award in 2014.
The restaurant closed on March 15, 2020, due to coronavirus concerns. Given its small size—800 square feet, including the kitchen—and the nature of the dining experience, Pomeroy opted not to reopen when Multnomah County entered Phase 1.
"Of course I considered it," she told The Oregonian. "Should I up the level of what we're doing and charge $350 per person? But then I realized that doesn't really jibe with what I want to be going forward."
Pomeroy indicated that she might consider reopening Beast at another location. Of the new venture in the building, she would only say it will be "accessible to everyone" and hopes it "helps people make restaurant-style meals in their homes."
She is also looking to reopen Expatriate, her cocktail bar across the street on Northeast 30th Avenue, possibly in November as well.
Pomeroy has been an outspoken advocate for small restaurants since the pandemic began. She helped craft U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer's Restaurants Act, a $120 billion relief bill that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives this month.
And in May, Pomeroy filed a class action lawsuit against Beast's insurer for refusing to cover business losses related to COVID-19. The lawsuit is ongoing, according to federal court records.