For obvious reasons, you're right to expect a down year for Portland food. The slate of upcoming new restaurants going into 2021 is, let's say, a bit dry. Still, that doesn't mean there's nothing to get excited about—it just means we might have to get a little more excited about new chains moving into town than we normally would. Here's a quick rundown of our most anticipated openings.
831 SE Salmon St., kannwintervillage.com.
What is it? Renowned Departure chef and Top Chef alum Gregory Gourdet finally strikes out on his own and cooks the Haitian cuisine he grew up eating.
Why the excitement? Well, to be frank, there's good news and bad news here. The bad news is that Gourdet's previously announced plan to open his own brick-and-mortar restaurant has been temporarily scuttled by the pandemic. The good news is, he's innovated a stopgap measure: the Kann Winter Village, an enclave of 10 private "dining yurts" set up in the parking lot of the Redd in Southeast Portland, offering a preview of what's hopefully to come when he finds a permanent space.
What can't you wait to eat? The menu is prix fixe, and tickets cost $210 per person, so for now we'll just have to dream about the beef short ribs stewed in habanero and thyme.
When does it open? The "village" launched in December and runs through March, with hopefully more clarity on the future of Kann to follow.
580 SW 12th Ave., 503-312-3037, instagram.com/tokipdx.
What is it? A downtown spinoff of Han Oak, the acclaimed Korean restaurant.
Why the excitement? Anything chef Peter Cho does is worthy of intense anticipation. In this particular case, he's moving across the river, into the former Tasty n Alder space, and using it to craft the classic, traditional Korean meals—bibimbap, bulgogi, kimbap—he's generally avoided at his main spot.
What can't you wait to eat? All of it, really.
When does it open? According to Instagram, any minute now.
1120 SE Belmont St., 971-279-2731, feelgoodpdx.com.
What is it? A new "health food that doesn't suck" venture from the guy behind Mama Bird and Stacked Sandwich.
Why the excitement? Chef Gabriel Pascuzzi is carving out a niche for himself in Portland for making healthy dining low-key exciting and high-key delicious. He did it with Southern-style grilled chicken at Mama Bird—and got yelled at for smoking out his neighbors in the process. At Feel Good, he'll do it with grain bowls. It's all cauliflower rice and quinoa, pickled vegetables and Ota tofu, arranged with a downright painterly eye for the pretty.
What can't you wait to eat? The Painted Hills Bowl, a blend of jalapeño cilantro vin, charred broccoli and pineapple, sweet potato and grapefruit, among several other things.
When does it open? First quarter of 2021.
Corner of Southwest Boones Ferry Road and Kruse Way, inside the new Mercato Grove development.
What is it? A resurrection of the recently defunct John Gorham brand, minus Gorham.
Why the excitement? Toro Bravo got the national plaudits and probably convinced your mom to come visit you, but true heads know that the trio of Tastys—Tasty n Alder, Tasty n Sons and later Tasty n Daughters—were the real standouts of the Gorham empire before his recent fall from grace. Now, two Toro Bravo Inc. alums, along with Kurt Huffman's ChefStable group (because you're no longer allowed to open a restaurant in this town without them, apparently), are opening a new version in Lake Oswego.
What can't you wait to eat? No specific items have been confirmed, but it's said to include "classics" from Tasty's brunch and dinner menus, but baker Katherine Benvenuti's pastries alone will almost certainly be worth going to the 'burbs for.
When does it open? June 1.
10565 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Beaverton.
What is it? What, did you grow up on Mars—or just in the Midwest?
Why the excitement? Only California kids will understand. It's become fashionable to declare In-N-Out "overrated"—to dis its soggy fries, the corny not-so-secret menu items, and the hidden Bible verses on the wrappers. But if you ate there even once as a child—whether it was on a family beach vacation or there was a franchise in your hometown—then you know it is, for reasons both unquantifiable and above criticism, the greatest fast-food chain in existence. We will not be taking questions at this time.
What are we most excited to try? An Animal Style double-double.
When does it open? TBD.
1016 W Burnside St.
What is it? The East Coast version of In-N-Out—a franchise with a cultish following whose reputation is driven more nostalgia than anything.
Why the excitement? Honestly, it's hard to say. As several local burger mavens have opined, Portland has many places that took its slightly upscale interpretation of a fast-casual burger and scaled it up even higher, so it'll be, like, the 10th-best version of itself in the city when it opens. Many New Yorkers, however, will probably yell that you're not a real city until you've got a Shake Shack. Could be the promised outdoor ping-pong table, too.
What can't you wait to eat? Shake Shack likes to come up with regional specials when it opens in new markets, so we're really excited to try the Salmon and Doughnut Hazy IPA Burger.
When does it open? TBD, though another planned location at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton is already listed on its website as "Coming Soon."