Kryse Martin-McGill and Darren McGill (Nate’s Wings and Waffles, Central District Ice Cream Company) are nearly set to replace their Portland-born burger truck, Happy Grillmore, with a brick-and-mortar restaurant at the corner of E. Jefferson and 13th Ave. in the Central District, but permitting for the kitchen hood has pushed the tentative opening date back to August 1. As visible in the photos below, the vibe is sparse but bold, with one bright blue wall offsetting the other whites ones, black-and-white zig-zags on the floor, a line of paintings of musicians like Kendrick Lamar and Asap Rocky, and few other flourishes.
The local art will likely rotate, similar to the McGills’ nearby ice cream shop. That’s how they met Hoa Hong, whose work is the first to grace the walls of Happy Grillmore. “I really liked her style and the fact that she had portraits of R&B artists. They spoke to me because I’m a DJ also,” McGill tells Eater. “It’s funny, she did a portrait of Chance the Rapper that was at our art show. A couple days after, he came to Nate’s to eat, and we got to sit down and talk to him, but I didn’t have the painting, otherwise I would’ve had him sign it.”
The McGills are banking on the strength of their signature burgers to reel in customers, which isn’t a long shot considering Happy Grillmore won various reader’s choice awards in Portland and Seattle over the years. Some sandwiches have movie-themed names like Chubs and You Can Do It; they’re joined by over-the-top options like the kalua pork hamburger, a messy take on a Hawaiian dish the McGills used to serve at their original cart in Portland.
There will also be chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry milkshakes with ice cream from Central District Ice Cream Company and deep-fried handpies — sweet to start but maybe savory down the line — filled with flavors like mixed berry, and dark chocolate smoked sea salt. Each dessert will also come in a seasonal style to mirror the ice cream shop’s monthly rotation. The first special might be related to fan-favorite ube cheesecake, a collaboration with Hood Famous Bakeshop, or it might be the Marshawn Lynch Beastmode Marshmallow, which is returning to the ice cream shop for a charitable run in August.
The restaurant has a liquor license, but at first will only serve bottled Rogue beers and Rainier or PBR cans alongside sodas and house lemonade and iced tea. The McGills are hoping to begin Sunday brunch this fall to coincide with football season, at which point they’ll serve cocktails and wine with a menu inspired by their Filipino, Hawaiian, and Native American backgrounds.
Another of the the McGills’ projects, grilled-cheese window Melt at Bar Sue, recently closed to make way for an unnamed venture from Lex Petras (Altstadt, The Atlantic), according to The Stranger. But the couple certainly are keeping busy in the CD.
Happy Grillmore will initially keep the same hours as Nate’s: Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.