Something’s Happening in the Old Pono Soul Farm Kitchen Space

Over the past several days, I’ve noticed some activity in the space that used to be home to Pono Soul Farm Kitchen (4118 Sandy Blvd). As you can see, the windows are papered over (that usually means something new is coming); myriad people have been coming and going; also, there was a little box on the side of the building parallel to Sandy Blvd (it used to hold Pono Soul Farm Kitchen’s menu for the day) that contained an ad for the space, and that ad is also gone.

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Farewell, Pono Soul Farm Kitchen

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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”