Micro restaurants become big deal in Portland

Micro restaurants become big deal in Portland

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by Joe Smith, KGW Business Reporter

kgw.com

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 28 at 6:57 PM

PORTLAND- For years the word "mico" has meant big business in Portland, first for breweries and now for restaurants.

At the corner of Northeast 24th Avenue and Glisan Street sits the Ocean Project. It's now making waves in Portland's food scene.

It's a cluster of tiny restaurants, about five to six hundred square feet in size. There's enough room for a kitchen and a few tables and chairs and that's it.

The cheaper rents gives entrepreneurs a chance to get started on a small budget in a very small space.

Outside, on a nice day, customers can use a common space for dinning.

The idea for the Ocean Project started a year and a half ago. Architect Kevin Cavenaugh turned a former auto dealership into a space for resturants that were a unique cross between food carts and traditional eateries.

Michael Banash, owner of Slowbar, decided to open Slowburger at his customer's insistence.

"People can come here as a family," said Banash. "A couple of people can have burgers, a couple of people can have tacos. They can bring their taco over here and eat. They can take their burgers over there. We all kind of share the area."

As neighbors, the six restaurants share with each other. If one restaurants runs out of something, another restaurant is likely to come to their aid.

Shop owners also encourage their customers to mingle at each others tables. It's all about community.

This experiment has worked our so well, Banash said there is now talk of perhaps setting up another mico pod in St. Johns.

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