Bar King, One of Portland’s Most Anticipated Restaurants of 2020, Is Calling It Quits After Less Than a Year

Owners Shaun and Jamie King have permanently closed the restaurant, while the adjoining bakery will operate via takeout and delivery through Jan. 2.

Bar King arrived early this year on a wave of hype, then had the unfortunate distinction of opening and closing in less than a week because of the pandemic.

Now it will become known as yet another establishment that had to shut its doors permanently as the global health crisis drags on.

As first reported by Eater PDX, owners Shaun and Jamie King have permanently closed the restaurant, while the adjoining bakery will operate via takeout and delivery through Jan. 2.

"We are heartbroken to announce the permanent closure of Bar King and The Bakery," an Instagram post read. "Bar King was our dream. These decisions were not made lightly. They came after painful deliberations amid a pandemic that has devastated the global economy and caused irreparable damage to our business and professions."

Bar King opened its dining room on March 9 in the old auto body shop that previously housed Ken Forkish's Trifecta Tavern. It quickly filled with people eager to try Shaun King's Asian-infusion dishes, which he perfected at the famed Momofuku in Las Vegas.

But by March 15, as the coronavirus began to spread across the United States, the Kings halted service, just days before Gov. Kate Brown ordered restaurants across the state to temporarily close.

King decided to press on by offering food for takeout. Bar King didn't immediately welcome customers back for onsite service when Multnomah County entered Phase 1, instead waiting until late summer, which gave the managers time to add outdoor seating, introduce a physically distanced floor plan and implement other safety measures.

Then in November, anticipating slower sales as the weather grew increasingly rainy, the Kings decided to lay off the staff and stick to once-a-week smoked meat to go.

It's not clear whether the Kings will try to launch a different restaurant in Portland once the pandemic has subsided or cut ties and move to a different market.

After the Bakery's final day in 2021, baker Katherine Benvenuti will continue to create sweet and savory Berliner-style pastries at Fills Donuts, which took over the former Blue Star Donuts' flagship in October.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.