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

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

Election Season

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We didn’t intend this issue to have an election season theme. But politics has a way of seeping into the cracks and fissures.


Read more...

Downtime

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Bob Dethlefs, CEO of Evanta, balances work and play.


Read more...

Fly Zone

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

The black soldier fly’s larvae are among the most ravenous and least picky eaters on earth.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Measure 91: What Oregon Businesses Need to Know

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
91 thumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


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