In May, Concordia neighbor Pastor James Dixon opened Dixon’s Rib Pit Bar-B-Que in the parking lot north of the former Roses Ice Cream building at 5011 N.E. 42nd Ave., and this summer North Portland neighbor Pepe Trejo and his family will open a second outpost of their popular Los Pepitos Locos restaurant inside the space.
The building’s owner, Cully neighbor Eli Spevak of Orange Splot development, purchased the Roses building and business from Beaumont neighbor Lew Evans last spring and then sold the business and leased the space to former Roses manager Gina Landtiser.
“Gina put her huge heart into running Roses Ice Cream, but ultimately wasn’t successful at getting the business through the winter,” said Spevak. “We took the opportunity to give the main dining area a fresh start by removing the drop ceiling, putting up new sheetrock, and scraping off the vinyl flooring to grind and refinish the concrete floor. We’re sad to see Gina go, but we’ve signed leases with some exciting new tenants who I hope will be a great fit for the neighborhood.”
Spevak will continue the tradition of hosting Cully Farmers Market in the parking lot every Thursday evening throughout the summer and, since Ted Snider’s Cully Farm Store moved across the street earlier this year, he has replaced Snider’s container on the south side of the building with one of Orange Splot’s tiny houses – Rosebud – where it now faces the garden area built last year with DePave. Spevak is offering the diminutive structure for lease as office space.
Dixon and the Trejos will share some facilities. Seating inside the building will be for Los Pepitos Locos and tables outside the building will be available for Dixon’s customers. The original Los Pepitos Locos at 2727 N. Lombard St., across the street from King Burrito in the Kenton neighborhood, is known for big burritos, big margaritas and friendly service.
“We are so excited to open a new store,” said Trejo. “We will have the same menu we have on Lombard with all the same food, but will have more cocktails and more desserts. Lots of friends who live close are asking me when we will be open and I tell them I think it will be soon but that they will have to wait. When we are open, I can promise it will be delicious.”
A jurisdictional bishop for the Church of God in Christ United and a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers, Dixon has a long and notable history in the community and with neighborhood barbecue. He opened his first restaurant at 5804 N. Interstate Ave. in the Overlook neighborhood in the late 80s, before moving to the Alberta Rexall building, where he did business for several years. Neighbors line up for Dixon’s barbecue at festivals and events throughout the city, including Last Thursday on Alberta and Sunday Parkways.
“I do most of the meats you’d ever want to barbecue,” said Dixon. “I do beef brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork. I do some hot links and chicken. I try not to overdo and have too much of a variety, because I want to keep the quality of the food real high. My wife does a range of sides. We’ve got mac and cheese, greens, red beans and rice, candied yams and cornbread. I’ve been around awhile and I know how the weather runs here. I’m sure glad about the Farmers Market. I enjoy participating and I believe it’s a great benefit to the community. A lot of people come when the weather is good and it’ll get better as time goes on.”
Some Concordia neighbors have taken to calling Dixon the “Mayor of 24th Street.”
“I’ve been on 24th street a long time and it’s a great neighborhood,” said Dixon. “It’s family oriented and we all know each other. I know all the parents. I know all the babies. I can name every one, just about, that I’ve seen born on that street. A lot of kids have passed through our house over the years. We raised relatives’ children who fell on hard times and we watched out for each other. We’re getting ready to have a block party for past residents and present residents and for whoever else in the neighborhood wants to come. Alberta Street is where we have had our history. The Buffalo Soldiers used to ride up and down that street on Last Thursday – before it got really big. We could ride right down the middle of Last Thursday and tie the horses up somewhere and hang out and get up and go ride back to the stable. People from the old days still remember us bringing our horses down to Alberta. I’m going to bring the horses over here to 42nd Ave. when we do a grand opening this summer.”
Dixon’s Rib Pit is open daily from 11:00 until 7:30 or so, weather permitting. Los Pepitos Locos is on track to open this month. For more information about Los Pepitos Locos, visit www.lospepitoslocos.com. For more information about Dixon’s Rib Pit, call 503-753-0868. For more information about Orange Splot, visit www.orangesplot.net.