Portland Specialty

Establishment neighborhood
Westward Distillery
65 S.E. Washington St., Buckman
Portland has a rich concentration of distilleries, and they've certainly made their mark on the American spirits scene. Get a sampling by heading to distillery row in Portland’s Central Eastside, where there’s an abundance of independent distilleries creating handcrafted, small-batch whiskeys, gins, liqueurs, and more. One standout is Westward, which started in 2004 and has since gained a huge following for its grain-to-glass single-malt whiskeys and other spirits. Cofounder Christian Krogstad considers every single grain that is malted, mashed, fermented, distilled, matured, and bottled. He and his team exude a true Portland maker ethos, evident in how they compliment their fellow local spirit makers. Take a tour here. It’s totally fun—and you’ll learn a ton.
Freeland Spirits
2671 N.W. Vaughn St., Northwest
Our friend Georgia Lee Hussey took us to this vibrant distillery—and we’re still thanking her. Light pours into the front entrance and bar, bouncing off the sapphire-and-copper wallpaper and dazzling gin and whiskey bottles that look like shiny teardrop-shaped jewels. It’s an arresting space. But that’s not even half of its charm. Once Jesse Brantley, the head of sales, started our tour, we knew we were witnessing something different. Freeland Spirits is both founded and run by women (an anomaly in the distilling world). Founder Jill Kuehler, a leader in agricultural education, started the distillery as a way to celebrate and honor Oregon’s rich bounty of fresh grains, produce, and water. You’d think it would be an impossible task for someone with no distilling experience, but Kuehler did it—teaming up with master distiller Molly Troupe. The team has since landed on the radar of discerning spirits enthusiasts around the globe. You’ll want to spend several hours here. Take a tour to learn about Freeland’s history (which is artfully painted on the wall); smell the fresh anise, lavender, and mint; and learn about the cold-distillation process Troupe uses to preserve…
t Project
723 N.W. 18th Ave., Northwest
Owner Teri Gelber brings people together over tea. She blends small batches of organic botanicals and teas, all by hand, and sells them at her light-filled retail studio in Northwest Portland. Her loose-leaf combinations are whimsical and inventive, inspired by her experience working in the food world (she’s authored several cookbooks). The blends are named after songs plucked from nostalgic eras of music. There’s Tangled Up in Blue, an Earl Grey with Indian black tea, blue cornflowers, and bergamot oil. Green Green Grass of Home is a blend of Japanese sencha and Oregon mint. And the herbal Kozmic Blues marries licorice root, mint, and spices. Gelber packages her teas in tins made of 80 percent postconsumer recycled material.
Pasture is an ethically and sustainably focused produce purveyor and custom whole-animal butcher shop founded by John Schaible and Kei Ohdera. With a shared history cooking vegan food, the duo takes a holistic approach to their process, focusing on culling older dairy cows and promoting animal husbandry in their work. Schaible and Ohdera know every farmer they work with and the life of every animal they procure. We were fortunate to meet Schaible at Dame, where he and Ohdera were presenting a pop-up Pasture dinner series. He is incredibly knowledgeable about the food industry, the troubled conventional meat market, and the need to return to honoring the work of ethical farmers. As Schaible says, it’s paramount to “know your farmer, know your butcher, and know your pasture.”
Cloud City Ice Cream
4525 S.E. Woodstock Blvd., Woodstock
Bryan Gilbert made the commitment to revive his neighborhood ice cream shop by, literally signing the lease on it, the day after his mother passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. Today, he calls the business a tribute to her, featuring several flavors based on her famous desserts, like Bananas Foster, and her delicious cheesecake. The business also bears the mark of Gilbert's twin daughters—let's just say unicorns are a major source of inspiration.
Fifty Licks
2021 S.E. Clinton St., Northwest
Owner Chad Draizin moved to Portland for the first time for an internship at Portland Brewing, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Fifty Licks is famous for its ice cream cocktails. Draizin's on the tail-end of a major menu overhaul, so it'll be a few weeks before the cocktails are back in order, but there's plenty to enjoy while you wait: We love the Cuban coffee (which is sort of a Cuban version of an affogato) and the Chocolate Porter float (which is a 21+ root beer float). All of the ice cream is made French style, using real egg yolks, and its not too sweet, so the focus is on flavor.
Heart Coffee Roasters
2211 E. Burnside St., Kerns
Great coffee is in no short supply in Portland, but this café serves up some of the best—their experts roast the beans themselves as soon as they come in fresh from Central America, South America, or Africa. If you’re not into black coffee, their fresh, house-made almond, cashew, and hazelnut milks are a creamy, delicious alternative for those dairy-averse customers and go especially well with one of the flaky, buttery croissants, massive chocolate cookies, or fresh-baked brioches that are brought in from local bakers daily. There's a second location Downtown.
Quin Candy
2805 S.E. Ankeny St., Kerns
Quin is a candy boutique filled with caramels, chocolates, lollipops, gummies, and more, made in-house by a small, skilled staff. Owner Jami Curl sticks to locally-sourced ingredients like Oregon-farmed nuts and berries, caramel and chocolate made from fresh cream and butter, coffee flavors from locally-roasted beans, and extracts from locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. What’s more, this outpost, which is significantly more spacious than the one on Union Way hosts hands-on events and classes for aspiring DIY candy-makers.
Quin Candy
1025 S.W. Stark St., Downtown Situated in the shopping alley Union Way, next door to the Ace Hotel on Stark and the famous Powell’s Books on Burnside, Quin is a candy boutique filled with caramels, chocolates, lollipops, gummies, and more, made in-house by a small, skilled staff. Candy-maker and owner, Jami Curl, sticks to locally-sourced ingredients like Oregon-farmed nuts and berries, caramel and chocolate made from fresh cream and butter, coffee flavors from locally-roasted beans, and extracts from locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. With its no-nonsense philosophy, Quin is perfect for health-conscious parents and their kids (or anyone with a sweet tooth, really). There's a second location on Ankeny Street.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza
304 S.E. 28th Ave., Kerns
Back in the day, Ken Forkish was just making pizza once a week out of his eponymous bakery. But when the pizza nights started getting out-of-control busy, he knew it was time to open a full-fledged restaurant. At Ken’s Artisan Pizza, you’ll find simple, Neapolitan-style pies that comes straight from a wood-fired oven in the open kitchen. The décor is as local as the ingredients, with a bar and tables made from old-growth Douglas firs that were salvaged from one of the city’s old roller coasters. P.S.: Ken’s James Beard Award-winning cookbook, Flour Water Salt Yeast, is a totally worthwhile souvenir. Photos: Alan Weiner Photography