Some of Portland’s Hottest New Restaurants Aren’t Restaurants at All — They’re Bars

In the early 2000s, back when Portland’s restaurant scene started getting national attention, many people celebrated the city’s emphasis on hyper-locality, farm-to-table dining, and artisan food culture. But there was also a contingent that acknowledged the freewheeling nature of Portland, describing chefs as “nonconformist” and noting the city’s “renegade spirit.” Many noted Portland’s culinary intimacy, the way its restaurants felt “personal” and how the city evoked a “deliberately casual, relaxed atmosphere.” Portland’s chefs weren’t just passionate and rigorous; they were playful and at ease. The explanation given by chefs again and again: Lower cost of entry meant it was easier to take risks without losing exorbitant amounts of money.

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