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The Tipping Debate Develops in Portland; Veritable Quandry to Close

Welcome to CascadiaWire, a weekly collection of restaurant news from up-and-down the Pacific Northwest corridor.

The former Marukin Ramen Singapore
The former Marukin Ramen Singapore
Yelp/Alexis C.

DOWNTOWN—Big news in the shutter department. One of downtown's most iconic restaurants, Veritable Quandary, known for its 45 years in business and its equally iconic garden patio, will close at the end of this summer. The property will be sold to Multnomah County, which has plans to build a new courthouse on a patch of land that abuts the garden. This morning, VQ owner Dennis King told KGW that he’s closing shop in part because he fears the restaurant could not withstand the massive nearby construction.

SOUTHEAST—Pine Street Market isn't the only place you'll find Marukin ramen. The ramen chain Marukin, which has nine locations around Tokyo, announced plans last summer to open its first U.S. location inside of Pine Street Market in downtown Portland. Now, to bring its pork and chicken-based ramens and house-made noodles to even more flannel-clad Portlanders, the chain has announced a second Portland location that will open before Pine Street Market. The newly announced Marukin will open at 609 SE Ankeny St., next door to the brick-and-mortar Nong's Khao Man Gai, this Valentine's Day.

NORTHWEST—Last week, The Bent Brick and Park Kitchen’s Scott Dolich said his new year’s resolution is to shake up the idea of how a restaurant is run while simultaneously making it equitable for those he employs. He's going to make all of his employees full time, which means they'll receive benefits. He’s raising prices by 18 percent. And he’s doing away with tipping altogether. But before he does any of that, he’s going to "meld" the traditional Front of House and Back of House positions with a "one house" training program. In essence, this means your server will have spent time as a cook, and vice versa, which, Dolich said in a statement, "allows for more fluid service, and better communication with the guests."

Update, 2/20/15: Clarified language in the final paragraph to make it clear that Scott Dolich will train his staff on all positions before implementing any other service changes.

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