AWARDS SEASON — It's been a big week for Portland restaurants, particularly Thai-focused Langbaan and Russian-influenced Kachka. On Wednesday, the list of James Beard Restaurant Award semifinalists dropped, and those two were nominated in the Best New Restaurant category. And in the March issue of GQ, which is on newsstands now, restaurant writer Alan Richman drops his annual list of the 25 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2015. Langbaan earns the #2 position while Kachka settles in at #19. In between at #13 is modern Spanish Ataula, which means Portland ties with NYC and LA for most spots on the list.
LEGAL TROUBLES — Olympic Provisions, the small restaurant with an attached charcuterie facility that has evolved into a major brand, has been forced to change its name thanks to a cease-and-desist notice from the International Olympic Committee, the organization that coordinates the Olympic Games. OP co-founder/meat-maker Elias Cairo says OP's two restaurants (one of which has been a longtime member of the Eater Portland 38) and meat department will soon re-brand into Olympia Provisions, bypassing the trademark dispute by altering one letter. "To put a dollar figure on it would be impossible," he says. The OP team expects to be completely rebranded by this summer.
NORTHEAST — There's another micro-restaurant/food court opening in Northeast Portland this spring, and a food cart favorite is among the new tenants. ChickpeaDX will be going into the new Zipper micro-restaurant project currently under construction just blocks from The Ocean, which was the developer's first foray into the unique communal restaurant movement. Though each 500-ish-square foot space will have a few seats, the draw of the Zipper is it has communal seating areas, including an atrium and a patio with fire pits. Other tenants include a bar, New Orleans po' boy shop Bywater Grocery, a pizza place, Seven Virtues Coffee Roasters, and a Rua, a Vietnamese/Southeast Asian food cart.