They say you should eat your dinner before you move on to dessert. But Nico Vergara is shaking things up by breaking into the restaurant scene on the heels of his ice cream shop’s one-year anniversary.
Nico opened his brick-and-mortar ice cream business (Nico’s Ice Cream) in May of 2021 on Northeast Fremont Street. The shop may be small with just five indoor seats, but the popularity of its New Zealand-style ice cream made with real fruitis anything but.
Nico’s Cantina will occupy the former Beeswing Restaurant space. | Photo via Nico Vergara
Now, Nico has set his sights on a new venture: Nico’s Cantina. For the past couple of months, the Portland native has been working hard to get the restaurant on Northeast Cully Boulevard ready for launch in just a handful of weeks. The space, located just five blocks from Nico’s Ice Cream, is a big step up in terms of size — with indoor and outdoor dining accommodating a total of 100+ guests.
🇲🇽 The vibes
Providing a place where the community can come together in a traditional Mexican cantina setting is Nico’s goal. Specifically, Nico wants to pay homage to his family in Guadalajara, offering a laid-back atmosphere, simple menu, and affordable prices. “My whole thing is building spaces where people can continue to come together,” he said, “and supporting BIPOC-owned small businesses within my spaces as much as possible.”
Nico aims to sell each taco at his cantina for $3. | Photo via Nico Vergara
🍽️ On the menu
Miss Delta owner Marcus Oliver is helping curate the cuisine, which includes a lineup of seven tacos: shrimp, tripa, lengua, chicken, asada, and two vegetarian options. Nico will source many ingredients locally, like tortillas from Three Sisters Nixtamal, peanuts from La Oaxaqueña, and beer from Xicha Brewing.
As for drinks, Nico said the list will focus on beer, tequila + mezcal. Veteran bartender Adriana Alvarez of República is helping put together the cast of cocktails. Even the bourbon will be sourced from Mexico. “Really, not cutting corners in as many senses as we can and just bringing something different to Portland,” said Nico.
Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz | Thurs., Aug. 4 | 7-9 p.m. | Ecliptic Brewing, 825 N. Cook St. | Free | Bring your trivia knowledge to the brewery’s mothership and win prizes and gift cards for knowing it all.
“L’Orfeo” | Thurs., Aug. 4-Sun., Aug. 7 | Lincoln Hall, Room 75, 1620 SW Park Ave. | $50+ | Witness the tale of a love that goes beyond “until death do us part.” 🎭
Drink, Paint, Create | Thurs., Aug. 4 | 7-9 p.m. | Backyard Burger Co., 18750 Willamette Dr. Ste. A, West Linn | $35 | Get in touch with your inner Van Gogh + return home with a new masterpiece for your wall. 🖌️
First Thursday Street Gallery | Thurs., Aug. 4 | 5-9 p.m. | Northwest 13th Avenue between Hoyt + Kearney streets | Free | Walk along city blocks (closed to traffic during the event) packed with artists selling their handmade, original creations. 🎨
Pop-Up Nature! | Fri., Aug. 5-Fri., Aug. 26 | 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | Hoyt Arboretum Visitor Center, 4000 SW Fairview Blvd. | Free | These family-friendly events include learning activities along the forest’s trails with different natural science themes each week. 🌲
Ghosts of Summer | Fri., Aug. 5-Sat., Aug. 6 | Times vary | Oregon Convention Center | $12+ | It’s said that these halls are haunted by local vendors, escape rooms, “scare actors,” horror flicks, and other ghouls of spooky season, waiting to make your blood run cold. 👻
Unique Markets: Portland Summer 2022 Market | Sat., Aug. 6-Sun., Aug. 7 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Veterans Memorial Coliseum | $5+ | Shop from 150 of Portland’s best emerging brands and designers, plus enjoy free drinks, DIY activities, photo booths, food, and cool AC. 🛒
Art in the Dark 2022: Glass Shadows | Sat., Aug. 6 | 7:30 p.m. | Mary S. Young Park, 19900 Willamette Dr., West Linn | $70+ | A-WOL Dance Collective will dazzle spectators with an illuminated aerial dance show within the trees. 🌛
78º | Partly to mostly cloudy | 12% chance of rain
Sunrise + Sunset
Rise: 5:58 a.m.
Set: 8:34 p.m.
A mother and son found safety in Portland after fleeing Ukraine. Tanika Barsegian + her husband Raj Savara opened their home to the pair and hope others will consider sponsoring refugees through the Uniting for Ukraine program. “It’s a benefit to everyone in our society and the world to put that effort out,” said Raj. (KPTV)
Union Gospel Mission recently received a $3 million grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The grant will help the Portland-based nonprofit build a new LifeChange recovery center in Bethany with 52 rooms for women and children experiencing homelessness, addiction, and abuse. 💸 (Beaverton Valley Times)
Handsome Pizza and Seastar Bakery are closing up shop after seven years of business. The pizzeria + bakery, which share the space at 1603 NE Killingsworth St., announced their plans on social media, calling their journey a “challenge” that was also “lovely.” The last day of service is Sun., Aug. 14.
The Gladstone Community Festivalreturns this week after a two-year hiatus. The festival, which first began in July of 1894, will include a beer garden, free bounce houses, a parade, watermelon-eating and pie-baking contests, live music, and more at Max Patterson Park on Fri., Aug. 5 + Sat., Aug. 6. 🍉 (Clackamas Review)
Still hunting for an adequate replacement for Pok Pok’s chicken wings? Newly-opened Thai restaurant RukDiewmight be your answer. Try them (or one of the many other popular dishes) at the colorful space on Southeast Belmont Street. Bonus: RukDiew means “one love” in Thai — a nod to the owner’s mother. (Willamette Week)
It’s time to move oolong. Stash Tea is leafing Tigard + returning to its hometown. The company, which was founded in an old Victorian house on Portland’s South Water Avenue in 1972, will open its headquarters at the corner of Southwest Yamhill Street and 9th Avenue later this year. ☕ (KOIN)
Lents, St. Johns, Powellhurst-Gilbert + Foster/Powell: these neighborhoods are among the 25 most affordable in the Portland metro area, according to the Portland Business Journal. The list is based on second-quarter sales data, with 11 of the neighborhoods falling inside Portland city limits. 🏠 (Portland Business Journal)
If a healthy diet is your top priority, then you’re in the right place. A new study from Innerbody Research ranked Oregon as the healthiest eating state with 1.82 “healthy” restaurants for every 10,000 Portlanders, based on data from Google search trends, Yelp + the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. 🥦 (Innerbody Research)
Portland Thorns forwardChristine Sinclair has been appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the province’s highest honor for its citizens. The 39-year-old from Burnaby, BC, is the leading international scorer — among women and men — of all time, netting her 190th goal in 315 senior appearances last month while playing for Canada in the CONCACAF W Championship.
Sinclair has been Canada’s player of the year 14 times, was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 2017, and is included in the country’s Walk of Fame. She’s also a three-time Olympic medalist. A ceremony to formally bestow this latest title will take place in Victoria, BC, in late fall.
“Sinclair is an inspiration for soccer players of every age, from the smallest to the most advanced, a model for women and girls in all sports, and a steadfast worker for equality and equity at all times,” BC’s Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat said in a statement.
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