Often considered the premiere beer and food destination in Portland, Grain & Gristle on NE 15th and Prescott has been sold to new owners. Grain & Gristle was partially owned and founded by Alex Ganum of Upright Brewing and Old Salt Marketplace. Grain & Gristle opened in December 2010 to much anticipation, and quickly wowed with its live edge wood bar, rustic charm and extremely food friendly, hyper local food and beer list. Willamette Week in 2017 said that G & G had the best burger in town and was “simply one of the best places in town—for everything.” The good news is that Grain & Gristle is not closing, and two veterans of Old Salt are taking over.
“Me and the guys all wanted to focus on our main gigs, and it was tough trying to stay motivated to operate the g&g without being there day in and day out,” says Grain & Gristle co-founder and Upright Brewing owner/brewmaster Alex Ganum. “I’m stoked to be able to dive back into the brewery 100%, that’s obviously where my heart is and it’s demanding more attention than ever.”
Grain & Gristle was founded by Alex Ganum and partners Marcus Hoover and chef Ben Meyer. Charcuterie, cheese, and farm fresh local was the name of the game, as well as craft beer and a simple but classic cocktail list. Ganum, Hoover and Meyer went on to open Old Salt Marketplace together and utilize that space for butchery, curing, fermentation and prepping ingredients for both restaurants. Old Salt Marketplace sadly closed in July 2018, but the three owners still own the building and it has now become the Oakshire Beer Hall.
“When Jeff and I heard the partners might be interested in selling Grain and Gristle we couldn’t let the opportunity pass us by and made an offer,” said Heidi Whitney-Schile, who will take over G & G with husband Jeff Schile. “Alex, Marcus and Ben will continue to be advisers to the restaurant and we couldn’t be more excited to now own Grain and Gristle and to continue the amazing legacy these men have established.”
The Schile’s were veteran employees of Old Salt Marketplace. Jeff Schile was the butcher and charcuterie specialist and Heidi was their brunch chef.
“We have always strongly believed in the same values as the partners; that great food should be affordable and pair with great drinks and beers. That we should highlight the farmers and ranchers that grow our food and do our best to honor it by creating delicious and beautiful dishes that showcase these vegetables and meats,” says Whitney-Schile of the core values they continue to share with the original founders. “Portland also offers some of the best beers and locally made spirits around which makes our job even easier to pair these delicious items together.”
Whitney-Schile says the G & G will continue on under the same guiding principles it was originally founded on. Upright Brewing will still be featured, but it sounds like other breweries may be featured as well. The beloved G&G burger will stay on the menu, as well as the regular 2-fer meal and beer for two specials. Some changes are in-store as well, like steak frites from with Hawley Ranch beef and a beer special called Beer and Bites that features a rotating three beers and snack pairings for each. The menu will change every 4-6 weeks for seasonality but the mainstays like the burger, steak frites and specials will never go away.
Upright Brewing fans will be excited to learn Ganum is refocusing his efforts on the brewery and may open a new taproom, meanwhile Ben Meyer co-founded Revel Meat Co.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.