PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland's Sellwood neighborhood is welcoming a new restaurant aimed at sports lovers and families. Grab some delicious food from a famous, local Top Chef, and let the kids run around and play Pac-man and cheer on, or holler, as your favorite team plays on TV.
Holler has been open for take-out through the pandemic, but now they've just had their grand opening for dine-in. It's on the bottom floor of the new Meetinghouse apartments on Southeast Milwaukie Avenue's main drag. The block was formerly the home of the Boys & Girls Club.
It's big, it's new, it's family friendly for kids. They thought of everything: felt, varsity letters on the back of the bar stools, antique trophies and sports-related tchotchkes line shelves, giant weather-worn football stadium scoreboards have been re-wired with bright lights, beer is served in old-school, stadium-style hard plastic cups. There are even nods to Oaks Park Skating Rink with vintage roller skates and their storage box.
"We divided this restaurant up so there's a place for people to escape for dinner, brunch or whatever and not be inundated with TVs everywhere but you can pop into the bar and grab a beer and check out the score," said co-owner Jen Quist.
Quist and co-owner Chef Doug Adams are best friends and business partners. They opened Bullard and Abigail Hall downtown, both in the Woodlark Hotel. Holler Hospitality has been their restaurant group, and now it's the name of their new baby.
"Yep, we have a big horseshoe bar, beers on tap, lots of TVs, it's great," said Adams as he walked us through the space. It was supposed to open last spring, but the pandemic put those plans on hold an entire year.
Adams is an East Texan and he said, "everybody knows they're going to get a great bucket of chicken here at Holler." He's famous for it. "Perfectly cooked and juicy and perfectly crispy on the outside," Adams said.
Doug Adams is also famous for his third-place finish in 2015's Top Chef Boston. With the Bravo show set now in the Rose City, Adams said it's great to finally open Holler.
"As a fan of the show I'm just glad that Portland gets to show off our chops," he said. "We're such an amazing city, we're a resilient city filled with people who are so passionate."
Adams has put together a huge menu. Bar snacks like house-made jalapeno poppers, crispy pork cigars filled with mushrooms, carrots and jalapeno jelly, bruschetta with tomatoes, olives, feta and herbs, mini corn dogs, Caesar salad and a spicy cabbage salad, which you can add grill or fried chicken to. And smash burgers, veggie burgers, even a chili, jalapeno mustard cheeseburger. And of course buckets of chicken that come regular or spicy. See their dinner menu here.
One of Adams' favorites right now is the chicken fried trout sandwich with dill mayo, jalapeno jelly, butter lettuce, and pickles on Texas toast. "It's the fish filet of your dreams," he said. "It's sweet, salty, and a little bit spicy."
Holler is open for lunch and dinner, and there's brunch on the weekends, with plans to expand it. See the brunch menu here. Parents will appreciate the kids menu. The usuals they like but also veggies! And the toddler and baby meal-saver: half avocado.
Not to mention the games: "We have pinball, we have Skee-Ball, we have Pop-A-Shot, we have everything for this room that's ready to go the second that it's safe," Quist said, showing us around a spacious back room with tables and great varsity-style championship banners.
"My favorite is old school Ninja Turtles, 4 player and I have to be Leonardo," Adams said with a laugh.