It was brunch time and a cartoon unicorn was dabbing in my face. “Sorry. We ran out of food,” read the sign outside Unicorn Creationz. A total lack of food isn’t exactly what you want to see when you’re hoping to check a place out, but it can be a promising indication that the eats are good. We scheduled a return visit.
Despite its name, Unicorn Creationz is more of a tricera-corn. The bar/restaurant is split into three distinct-ish concepts.
Occupying the old Alameda Hop food hall on Northeast Fremont is food cart favorite Nacheaux—whipping up breakfast and lunch and, if you make it there in time, brunch. There’s a bakery/dessert shop called Karnival Kreations and a Bourbon St. Bar to sling drinks.
It’s clear this wasn’t the original plan, and they’re still working out the kinks.
In 2020, a brightly painted, teal cart called Nacheaux introduced Portland to owner-chef Anthony Brown’s culinary explorations of Southern food and Cajun-Creole flavors. The cart took off and, not even a year later, Brown moved his business into a food court—with two other fledgling businesses.
But when those two both dropped out, Anthony and his wife, Stephanie Brown, took over the whole court, christening it Unicorn Creationz in September 2021.
Upon entering Unicorn Creationz, you find yourself face to face with the delicious beignets, cookies, cakes and ice creams of Karnival Kreations—the dessert part of the court. The confections fall into the $4-to-$7 range and rotate frequently—one day you’ll have peanut butter Oreo tacos, on another strawberry curry caramel fudge.
At first, it seemed odd to be faced with the dessert counter right away, when you might be primarily seeking food or drinks. But it’ll be inspired positioning come summer, when heat brings crowds with an insatiable bloodlust for ice cream. The churro beignet and scoop of oatmeal cookie ice cream were both sweet and delightful, worth popping in for whenever you want something quick to spoil yourself.
Next up is the order window for Nacheaux. Even with the new brick-and-mortar location, Nacheaux hasn’t shed its vibrant food truck vibe. You can watch the kitchen crew hustling up your grub through a window as you order.
The cart is the heart of the food hall, and it’s still the main reason to visit Unicorn Creationz. Much has already been written about Brown’s indulgent, inventive and flavorful meals. From the Cajun shrimp cocktail to the spicy chorizo burrito, Brown is whipping up food you’ll wind up talking about—and that’s how the legend of Nacheaux spread across this land. There’s always a new special on the board, especially on the brunch menu, which changes every week.
Bourbon St. Bar completes the trio, serving brunch cocktails and a regular list of signature selections—including a terrific bloody mary with a Cajun kick. The bar’s boulevardier is without gimmick but pitch-perfect. For those looking for sweeter booze—complete with flashing lights in your glass—this is also on order. And all of the aforementioned fall into a very reasonable $10 range.
While the drinks were well made, Unicorn Creationz isn’t a hangout bar. It’s not much of a bar at all. You aren’t meant to have a night out drinking with your friends here. You’re in a food hall, and the atmosphere doesn’t let you forget it. While the hall presents plenty of seating—tables and big booths—and easily accommodates groups, we wished that some of the cuisine’s clear New Orleans inspiration were evidenced in the ambience.
However, it’s clear the Browns wanted to keep the original food hall energy intact. We also wished to somehow order from all three at once. It’s a little annoying to purchase food, drinks and desserts piecemeal.
Though it’s a bit fractured at the moment, Unicorn Creationz has a lot of greatness on offer, and it’s worth the visit if you’re in the neighborhood. Let that unicorn dab on your taste buds.
EAT: Unicorn Creationz, 4765 NE Fremont St., 971- 319-1134, nacheauxpdx.com. 4-8 pm Wednesday-Thursday, noon-8:30 pm Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday.