Toward the end of May, Casey O’Brien and Eric Schindele – with new executive chef Patrick McKee – opened their southern-inspired restaurant and jazz club, SouthFork, in the former Smallwares space at 4605 N.E. Fremont in Beaumont Village’s Fremont Commons building.
“We had a few logistical challenges getting the doors open, but we ended up with the space we wanted and couldn’t be happier,” said O’Brien. “We’ll begin easing in the music program in June, probably one night a week on Saturdays, and will work towards two nights a week as we figure things out. We want to get our beverage and kitchen service dialed in before we start ramping up the entertainment.”
SouthFork hosted a “soft” opening for neighbors and friends on May 11 and held their official opening on May 17. Louis “King Louie” Pain and LaRhonda Steele performed at a private party for investors to give the music space on the northern side of the building a trial run. The comfortable, down-home-picnic inspired restaurant space features family heirlooms and antiques on the walls with rustic, wooden tables and a soothing, bayou-blues color scheme. The lounge behind the restaurant is hung with up-cycled, bike-part artwork work by Brian Echerer of Velo Gioielli’s.
McKee has a rock solid reputation in Portland restaurant circles after ten years at Paley’s Place in Northwest Portland and a recent adventure with his own space, Common Law, inside the Pine Street Market. His opening menu offers a mix of comfort food with some more daring plates – including bourbon-tamarind glazed pork loin, chicken sausage gumbo, cornmeal-fried oysters, a green cabbage and beef tongue salad and the Southfork BLT.
“We’re loving the Beaumont and Alameda neighborhoods so far,” said O’Brien. “We want to become a neighborhood spot with reasonable prices, where people can come in two or three times a week and not feel like they’re breaking the bank. Nothing too fussy. We’re also looking forward to providing a venue for Portland’s awesome jazz musicians to perform.”
The new restaurant’s hours are from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. daily, with brunch service on weekends planned for the near future. For more information call 503-477-4453 or visit www.southforkpdx.com.