The Portland recipe

| Print |  Email
Articles - Nov/Dec 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012

BY LINDA BAKER

1112 ThePortlandRecipe 02
“When I opened Paley’s in 1995, Northwest Portland was the ‘it’ place to be,” says chef Vitaly Paley, who recently opened Imperial, his second restaurant. “Then it was the East Side, and now it’s downtown. We all gravitate toward one another. The more the merrier.”
// Photo by Leah Nash

In 2010 Thomas Boyce, an acclaimed chef who worked at Spago in Beverly Hills for 13 years, decided to relocate to Portland, where he serves as chef at Bluehour in the Pearl District. Boyce, who has three young children, says he and his wife decided on Portland because of the city’s family-friendly lifestyle. “We thought of schools in Los Angeles and said, ‘It’s time for us to make a move.’” Portland’s lively and accessible restaurant scene was another attraction. Restaurants succeed in places that get national exposure, Boyce says, “and Portland is getting a lot of exposure.” Boyce says starting a new restaurant in Los Angeles costs at least $1.5 million. “In Portland I saw places where the space was $50,000 and the build out $50,000. That’s what excited me.”

Boyce is not alone in his enthusiasm for Portland restaurants. By almost any metric, the local dining scene is sizzling. New restaurants seem to open every month, and the city’s independent restaurants, from low end to high, are featured regularly on the pages of The New York Times and national food magazines such as Bon Appétit. Eighteen years after chefs such as Greg Higgins and Cory Schreiber helped pioneer a local farm-to-table cuisine, the industry is undergoing yet another wave of growth, characterized by relocation of top talent such as Boyce, a wave of second ventures by established local chefs and a shift to downtown as a culinary destination.

“In covering the national food scene, it’s gotten so I have to come to Portland four times a year just to keep up with what’s going on,” says Bon Appétit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton. In the magazine’s September issue, Knowlton ran two stories about Portland dining venues: one about the restaurant Luce, the other a guide to ethnic dining.

In a city still recovering from the recession, the local dining boom raises questions about how many restaurants Portland can actually sustain, and just who are all those people tucking into caprese salad and so many kinds of pork belly. But given the national spotlight, there is a bigger question: How did the Rose City become the leader of a nationwide culinary renaissance? Many cities on the West Coast — and in many parts of the country — have the same bounty of beer, wine, meat and produce, and, in the case of Seattle, more direct access to seafood.

If Boyce’s story is any indication, the answers revolve around a number of economic factors, ranging from cheap real estate that makes it easy for young chefs to open their own restaurants, to a host of urban amenities such as solid public schools that help attract and retain top talent. Culinary tourism, public policies supporting dense, walkable neighborhoods and favorable regulations, such as cheap liquor licenses, are also helping fuel the industry’s growth.

 



 

More Articles

100 Best Green Workplaces announced

News
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-1000pxwBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

More than 250 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...

Photo Log: The 2015 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
greenthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Oregon Business celebrated the 100 Best Green Workplaces with an awards luncheon yesterday at the Nines Hotel in downtown Portland.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS