Home Back Issues Nov/Dec 2012 The Portland recipe

The Portland recipe

| Print |  Email
Articles - Nov/Dec 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012
Article Index
The Portland recipe
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4

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

Kill the Meeting

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.


Read more...

A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE

Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.


Read more...

The Bookseller

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Everyone knows college is expensive, but a look at the numbers brings that into sharp — and painful — focus.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

Healthcare Perspective

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Majd El-Azma, president and CEO of LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon, followed by the Healthcare Powerlist.


Read more...

Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

The Backstory

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.


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