Food News: A New Vita Cafe, Bye-Bye Byways, and a Croissant to Die For

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Food News: A New Vita Cafe, Bye-Bye Byways, and a Croissant to Die For
by Wm. Steven Humphrey

Twisted Croissant

Twisted Croissant Aaron Lee

It’s been another big week of news for fans of Portland food and drink, and here are your headlines:


The beloved Byways Cafe (1212 NW Glisan) shared the sad news yesterday on Facebook that after 20 years in business, they are closing at the end of the year. They were unable to keep their lease, and now are inviting their customers to join them for a last meal with this longstanding institution.

Those who travel Hwy 26 on their way to Mount Hood will be sad to learn that Calamity Jane’s—that old-timey, instantly recognizable burger shack—has closed its doors, according to the Oregonian. The owners cited increasing labor and food costs as well as “poor health” for the closure.

Not exactly a closure, but… you know. Beer conglomerate Anheuser-Busch has finally sealed the deal to purchase Portland’s Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), which includes Widmer Brothers Brewing, Kona Brewing, and Redhook, according to the New School.


Also according to the New School, the Modern Times brew pub (SE 7th & Belmont) has relocated right next door into more spacious and attractive digs, and in addition to a poop-ton of beer also has an expanded full vegan menu.

What? You heard that the much-loved Vita Cafe (3023 NE Alberta) is closing? DON’T PANIC! According to new owner Johnny Sullivan, this long-running vegetarian institution will be temporarily shutting it’s doors starting November 26, only to reopen on December 4 with a new name (Cafe Gertrude), and a redesigned interior and menu, “but the same beloved vegan biscuits.” Phew!

We’ve been drooling for Kachka’s deli to open, and it’s finally here: Kachka Lavka is open and offering counter service to eat in or out, along with must-have Russian grocery items such as “oils, spices, pickles, smoked fish, as well as Eastern European wines, Russian candy and more.” Meanwhile the deli’s cold case will feature such delights as “Smetana (Russian sour cream), charcuterie (ex. smoked beef tongue, salo, doktorskaya bologna), cured fish (ike beet-cured salmon, salt-cured herring, and roe), pickles, cultured butter, Russian mustard, Brindza Pashtet, Chicken Olivier, and Herring Under a Fur Coat.” OH YES, YUM! It’s located at 960 SE 11th and is open 11:30 am-6:30 pm daily.

RingSide Steakhouse (2165 W Burnside) is wrapping up their 75th anniversary celebration with the final entry in their three-part dinner series that this time will focus on champagne and all the sweet meats it can be paired with. The evening will include “rare champagnes from the cellars of Moet, Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart, the World’s First House of Champagne.” It’s going down on Wed Nov 20 from 6-9 pm and you can get your tickets here.

And you’ve been searching for a really good croissant, right? In the current issue of the Mercury, our Andrea Damewood samples the delicious, flaky “cruffins and cruff puffs” at the new Twisted Croissant (2129 NE Broadway). Check out her review here.

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