Four Things I Learned This Week (November 1)

Happy All Saints Day, everyone! Hope you had a good Halloween and there were plenty of kids trick or treating in your neighborhood. One of my favorite stories from last night is by Sarah Kline of the @portlandsampler Instagram—she gave out big and small candy, bags of chips, and vintage Nancy Drew books! I feel inspired for next year. Now, on to Four Things I Learned This Week.

More pizza. That’s right—pizza. Earlier this year we published news of the pending opening of To The Moon, which was supposed to be a new bakery venture from Marius Pop of Nuvrei here on the east side (NB: I have unpublished that post since the details are moot at this point). Well, he’s changed his mind and is now opening a pizzeria called Pop Pizza. To be honest, I’m not sure Portland needs more pizza, but Pop really elevated the quality of croissants in this town, maybe he will bring something truly stupendous to Portland’s pizza game.

Brie butter sounds like magic. Pech of Pechluck’s Food Adventures tips us off to the existence of brie butter at OK Omens. It sounds amazing, and in her words, “It is unbelievable how incredible this brie butter is, seriously.”  See you soon, OK Omens!

Big’s is back. Big’s Chicken, which suffered a terrible fire in 2017, has returned to Portland with their delicious Alabama-style barbecued chicken. They opened on NE Glisan on October 25.

Brewvana and City Brew Tours. A mashup of east and west is here, as Brewvana, “showcasing the history and culture of Portland’s craft beer scene,” has sold a majority stake to City Brew Tours, “the nation’s leading brewery tour operator based on the East Coast.”

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