SuperDeluxe and Boxer File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

An investor from Nashville is keeping the Portland restaurant brands afloat for the next three months.

SuperDeluxe on Southeast Foster Road. (Abby Gordon)

MMMco. brands SuperDeluxe and Boxer, helmed by prominent Portland restaurateur Micah Camden, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 8.

“I’m doing my best to restructure and protect the employees and address the debt that we took on to make it through COVID and all of the trials and tribulations Portland has gone through,” Camden says. “My team has done a great job keeping our businesses open during COVID. We did our best to stay in Portland, not run to the ’burbs.”

Boxer (formerly known as Boxer Ramen) has four locations, and burger joint SuperDeluxe has five, including one in Bend. (Each also has outposts in the ’burbs.) There are about 240 employees between the two brands, Camden says.

The bankruptcy does not affect other MMMco. brands Kinnamōns or Baes Chicken. Those restaurants are smaller and newer and have weathered the difficult Portland restaurant landscape more easily—especially by having locations at Moda Center, which “has been a real lifesaver,” Camden says.

“The Pearl District is a ghost town,” Camden says. “Rite Aid and REI just closed, and those are big multinational brands. Here we are trying our best, but it was too much to carry.”

Before the pandemic, Camden had “not a penny” of debt personally or professionally. The January storm that turned the entire city into an ice rink for about five days was the final straw, he says.

“My brands are really beloved,” Camden says. “These are established 10-year brands. I have no intention of letting them go under without a fight.”

Camden arrived in Portland in 2005, and his restaurants became practically synonymous with Peak Portland. As WW wrote in 2018: “When a Blue Star or a Little Big Burger drops into a neighborhood, it’s a sign something’s shifting there.” Camden is no longer married to Blue Star Donuts co-founder Katie Poppe and does not have a stake in that restaurant. He sold Little Big Burger in 2015 for $6.1 million to the company that owns Hooters.

Angelo Lombardi, the Nashville, Tenn.-based president of Comfort Food Group and a 27-year veteran of the hospitality industry, has come in as a “debtor in possession” to work with Camden. His initial loan was $300,000, to be split about equally between Boxer and SuperDeluxe. Lombardi has already been working with Camden for six months.

The Feb. 8 bankruptcy filing marked the beginning of a 12-to-14-week process, Lombardi says, that he hopes ends with his company’s continued involvement in the brands. He hopes to be a part of the restructuring and help Boxer and SuperDeluxe thrive and expand going forward.

“Bankruptcy is a scary word, but once you understand Chapter 11, it’s a lot less scary,” Lombardi says. “We would like to be growing these brands. I’d like to see them restructured and healthy.”

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