A popular Portland fast-casual restaurant brand has finally reemerged following a lengthy pandemic closure.
Boxer—formerly known as Boxer Ramen—welcomed back customers last week in its new location. The noodle shop landed at 1668 NW 23rd Avenue in Slabtown, an area that has attracted a slew of restaurants in the past couple of years, including Pine State Biscuits, Killer Burger and Rotigo.
“We love our new location! We moved into an area with a lot of great restaurants,” Chris Thornton, Boxer’s general manager, tells WW. “All of our neighbors have been very welcoming. There is a strong sense of community, and we are excited to be able to contribute to that.”
Two of the city’s well-known restaurateurs, Micah Camden and Katie Popp (Little Big Burger, Blue Star Donuts), founded Boxer Ramen in 2013. A second location followed two years later, and it eventually grew into a mini-chain with five shops across town before the statewide-mandated COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
Although the collection has been whittled down to one, there is good news to be found not just in the fact that the brand managed to survive an incredibly challenging two years for the service industry. Boxer has now doubled the size of its menu.
You’ll still find your favorite steaming bowls of tonkotsu shio and spicy red miso ramen in the food lineup, but the restaurant also started serving sushi, sashimi, sake and cocktails.
“Closing our restaurants was devastating,” Thornton adds. “Almost two years later, we feel very fortunate for this opportunity. Having the chance to reopen and redefine ourselves has been incredible.”
Boxer is open for lunch, happy hour and dinner 11 am to 9 pm Wednesday through Sunday.