North Portland’s beloved beer bar and pasty tavern, Saraveza, officially reopens today after a week of remodeling, primarily for a kitchen update and freshening up. It’s less of an overhaul and more of a freshening up to give the pub a cleaner look, with more emphasis on food and as a legit dinner option. The beer has not been forgotten, of course.
If you loved the old Saraveza, no need to be worried; the layout is exactly the same, but with a larger kitchen and for the first time a fryer. The kitchen is going from an oven and a hot plate to a complete restaurant full menu operation with gas range, oven, and fryer. That means Wisconsin-born owner Sarah Pederson finally gets to add regional classics from the cheesehead state to the menu, like fried cheese curds, a fried oyster po boy, and buttermilk fried chicken. In other words, there is a lot of new fried food, but notably no burger. Owner Sarah Pederson is worried that once the menu adds a burger, the place just becomes another burger joint, and she has a Wisconsin-themed vision here.
Saraveza’s new Smoked Brisket Sandwich with Pimento cheese
Of course the pasty, the trademark meat pie Saraveza is known for, is still on the menu with a rotating daily selection. More of the food will be seasonal and rotating based on the new Chef Dustin Gettmann’s (pFriem, Pok Pok NY and Meriwethers) choice. There are more salads on this menu, and even though Sarah is not a steak person, she loves the Bavette steak with a celery root puree, broccoli rabe, cipollini onion and demi glaze. I gave the supremely fatty, soft, creamy, and messy pimiento cheese-stuffed smoked brisket sandwich a run for its money. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, the five salads plus a new “Vegan Bowl” of delicata squash, cauliflower, chard, and quinoa should fill you up.
The beer selection is unchanged, as are the bottles, with those same great vintage coolers but now with new custom fabricated shelves from local brewery and tank manufacturers Metalcraft Fabrication. There are still 10 taps, 9 of them rotating and one dedicated to house beer Wisco Tavern Ale from Breakside Brewery. The walls are now a dark grey, and while many of the old beer signs and breweriana are there, some of the random knickknacks and dusty bottles are gone. It now has more of a loungey, moodier cocktail bar vibe to the space, but with the same charm.
Buyer Clark Prather says, “We’ve also expanded our whiskey selection to include more variety by adding some classics like Makers Mark, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, and Jack Daniel’s, but also some higher end options such as Caol Ila, Macallan 12yr, and High West Campfire. We are hoping to continue to curate and develop an excellent selection of whiskies, and are looking at adding a higher-end wine option as well.”
The new menu is available starting today, but it’s just the start. According to owner Sarah Pederson, the bar will soon be “rolling out a lunch specific menu, and happy hour menu and a Packer game menu for game days.” Plus, there will be a Friday Fish Fry. Sarah sees Saraveza as more than a beer and a snack place, but as a full fledged dining destination.
Saraveza’s official grand re-opening party is this Saturday, October 15th and will include a cellar bottle sale, special drafts, cake and a 10pm industry toast with 2011 Cascade Brewing’s The Vine.
1004 N. Killingsworth St.
Portland, OR 97217