Have you ever dreamed of what your ultimate lunch or dinner might look like if you could choose a combination of your favorite foods from the top chefs in Portland? Hold your breath no longer, this dream has become a reality! Pine Street Market is Portland’s flagship food hall; part of a growing trend of culinary marketplaces sweeping the nation.
Eight of Portland’s best restaurant operators have come together under one roof, setting up shops and making a wide variety of artisan-crafted foods in a casual family-friendly atmosphere. After a busy Saturday morning of sports with the kids, we absolutely HAD to give it a try for lunch.
Pine Street Market is nothing like the food court you’ll find in a shopping mall. Innovators at Pine Street Market are pushing the envelope and sharing foods that cannot be found anywhere else in the city. Their ingredients are often locally-sourced to support the community, and the food is made fresh by hand as patrons watch. The casual dining atmosphere is intentionally unrefined, set in the bottom floor of Portland’s historic Baggage and Carriage Building. Community tables fill the center while more sophisticated bar seating can be found at each shop around the perimeter. The combination is incredible. Pine Street Market is as perfect for a date night as it is for a family outing.
Several of the featured vendors are still under construction, but I’ve done my best to review the ones that we were able to try. We were beside ourselves with so many incredible food offerings and so little space in our bellies.
The Pine Street Market Featured Restaurants and Owners Include:
Brass Bar – Billy Wilson of Barista
Common Law – Patrick McKee of Paley’s Place and Earl Ninsom of Langbaan
While I settled the kids at a table, my husband walked to Common Law to grab us some grown-up drinks. This mini bistro offers a full bar along with mouth-watering foods that combine their expertise in French and Asian-influenced foods.
Marukin – the first US location outside of Japan
Op Wurst – Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions
In the middle of the market is OP Wurst, cooking up over a dozen foot-long, ballpark-inspired hot dogs and sausages served in a thick, soft bun with all the toppings. Some include the “Portland” with braised kale, pork belly, and hazelnuts, and the “Hound” with bacon, peanut butter sauce, smoked apple butter, and banana.
Pollo Bravo – Josh Scofield of Toro Bravo
Pollo Bravo serves Mexican and Spanish-inspired rotisserie chicken and tapas from the Toro Bravo menu. A few highlights are their salt cod fritters with saffron aoli, ‘Bird with all the Sauces,’ chips and salsa vermella, and ‘Bravo Ridicchio’ with aged manchego, olive tapenade, cherry vinaigrette, and cherry bread crumbs. They also host a full bar with cocktails authored by Tasty N Alder’s Jeremy Meilen.
Shalom Y’all – Kasey Mills and John Gorham
Trifecta Annex – Ken Forkish of Trifecta Tavern
My kids were clamoring for a slice of pizza, and we were delighted to have our slices served straight from the wood-fired oven by the owner, Ken, himself. The pizza was a hit with our kids. Our son, Ethan, who thinks his dad is the world’s best chef from cooking on our own wood-fired pizza oven at home, said it was some of the best pizza he’s ever had. He said, “It’s almost as good as the ones you make at home, dad.” For our little guy, there is no higher compliment. As adults, my husband and I loved getting to experience a food scene as if it were date night, while also sharing it with our kids. We each got to try our own foods and drinks, and we got to do it as a family.
Wizbangbar – of Salt & Straw
The creative geniuses at Salt & Straw are well known as innovators, pushing the envelope to redefine ice cream and how we enjoy it. This location stands out as their official testing kitchen, where their latest creations are shared with the public. This also happens to be the ONLY location where they offer soft serve! Cones of sweet vanilla dipped in raspberry, custom-made sundaes, and “Concretes” made of soft serve blended with candies are just a few of the one-of-a-kind treats you can enjoy here. We happened to visit on the day of their grand opening, so the line was out the door and wrapped around the building! Behind the counter was a small army making from-scratch waffle cones, cookies, sauces, and ice cream.
I chose the ‘Salted, Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Concrete’ with chunks of dough up to one inch big. OMG. Let me tell you ladies, I didn’t care how many carbs or calories I was consuming, I enjoyed every bite of that ice cream without a single regret. It was that good. My husband ordered a sundae, made-to-order by their dedicated sundae specialist. It was also completely devoured before we left.
What did the kids have to say about this mind-blowing ice cream experience? My son blurted out, “This ice cream is so good, it’s right up there with the Blizzards at Dairy Queen.” Blasphemy! But from a kid’s perspective, we took it as a really good compliment. My daughter was so in love with her ice cream that she couldn’t be disturbed to comment.
Pine Street Market is a great place to visit with kids, for date nights, with friends, and anyone else you can share it with. The exquisite offering of food and variety of choices can’t be found anywhere else in the city. The casual setting makes it such a welcoming place, it’s a perfect combination. We can’t wait to go back.