Thoughts On the Big’s Chicken Fire

This afternoon I heard the news of the fire at Big’s Chicken, and my heart sank. I’ve been meaning to stop by, telling myself, “Oh, I’ll get around to it soon.” Obviously I’ll have to wait to try their food, but my slight inconvenience is nothing compared to what Ben Dyer, co-owner of Big’s, is forced to deal with. He told The Oregonian that they’ll be “closed for months.” That’s got to be hard to face.

He also said that “everything above Big’s is a total loss.” That means 14 people from six apartment buildings are now homeless. What a heartbreak. Everyone is OK, thank goodness—Willamette Week reports that two people were rescued by firefighters on ladders, and another jumped out a window. I saw the footage of the jump on KGW’s site and I really wish there had been a warning about that footage before it auto-played. PRO TIP KGW PRODUCERS: auto play videos are never a good idea. KATU reports, “The Red Cross is providing temporary housing, food, clothing, comfort kits and other items to those people impacted by the fire.”

In light of this fire at Big’s, I’m reminded of two other restaurant fires that happened in the past year—Reo’s Ribs in May and Pie Spot + Tails & Trotters in February. I’m very sorry that all these restaurants have suffered from fires; I am glad to know Reo plans to rebuild and Pie Spot + Tails & Trotters are now open via food cart.

I hope the rebuilding process for Big’s is swift and easy.  And I’ll be there for the chicken and jojos when they reopen.

Big’s Chicken, 5663 NE Glisan Street, Portland

Portland Area Food Events, July 13-20


Bastille Day is coming up. Vive la France!

Each week we will bring you a roundup of public food events in the Portland metro area. It’s not every single event that’s going on, but the ones in particular that catch our eye. Want to submit an event? Fill out this form. Listings curated by Meg Cotner.

Vive La France Bastille Day Dinner
Thursday, July 13, 5:30pm and 7:45pm
Bergerac Bistro, 5520 NE Woodstock, Portland

Bergerac Bistro Chef and Owner Joris Barbaray creates and serves a four-course summer menu just in time pour la Fête Nat. He’ll recreate some of his favorite French seasonal dishes from his hometown of Bergerac, France. $45 per person. To book your table, call 503-777-6399; credit card required to confirm booking. More information.

La Ruta PDX: A Gastronomic Festival
Thursday, July 13-Sunday, July 16, various times
Multiple locations

Celebrate Spain for four days in “one of the most innovative cities in the United States,” our own Portland Oregon. Spanish and Portland-based chefs “will showcase Spanish products, purveyors, and specialty equipment” to encourage collaboration and cultural/intellectual exchange on the topic of food and in the form of dinners, tastings, seminars and a Feria & Trade Show. Ticket pricing varies. More informationContinue reading “Portland Area Food Events, July 13-20”

I’m Volunteering at Feast Portland 2017

Last year when I moved to Portland, I came to know about Feast Portland embarrassingly (but understandably so) late in the game—pretty much all events were sold out by August, and I was still recovering from the intense move across the country, so attending was just too much to consider.

I’m pleased to say that I’ll be there this year, just not as an attendee—I’ll be a volunteer!

I’m pretty psyched, to say the least. I attended numerous food events as press over the years in NYC, and I saw how hard the volunteers and staff work to make each event a success. It’s my time to give back and be a volunteer myself. I think it’s going to be a great experience.

Farewell, Pono Soul Farm Kitchen


One Kusshi oyster from Puget Sound, sitting atop a bed of rock salt studded with whole spices, accompanied by a ponzu mignonette, chives, and a microgreen. It was plump and meaty, and tasted almost sweet. My favorite oyster to date.

Pono Soul Farm Kitchen, I’ll miss you.

On June 23 I read the news that one of my neighborhood restaurants, Pono Soul Farm Kitchen, will close on July 8.  I’ve read three reports on the impending shuttering—from Eater, The Oregonian, and Portland Food and Drink—and none of them indicate the reasons why, not even a touch of speculation. Eater quotes part of the press release from co-owner Ted Nakato, who thanks his customers for their dining and support, but that’s about it. Personally, I wish we knew more.

If you’re unfamiliar with Pono Soul Farm Kitchen, it is a farm-to-table restaurant that primarily serves as a place to showcase Pono Farm’s meats—beef, pork, and eggs raised in Bend, OR. The offerings have been called “Japanese soul food”—dumplings, ramen, and hot pot, to name a few; their sushi is excellent, too. They source their produce from places like DeNoble Farms, Groundwork Organics, and Gathering Together Farm, among others. Menu changes semi-regularly. Continue reading “Farewell, Pono Soul Farm Kitchen”