I Saw the Light

Ali and I have been lucky. Actually, that is a gross understatement. Ali and I got very lucky with our new location. We decided over two years ago that we wanted to open a restaurant of some shape or form. About seven months ago we both quit our "day jobs" so that we could focus our energies full time on finding the "perfect" location. We looked...and looked...and looked. There are plenty of beautiful spaces available in our fair city, don't get me wrong. But there always seemed to be an issue with each potential space we looked at. This landlord might have a perfect space in a good location but is unwilling to dole out any TI money, that property owner is interested in offering improvement money but the location is not right, somebody else has a space in a good location and is willing to shell out some money but the space needs a lot more work than we wish to perform. Month after month we continued to pursue our dream only to encounter this same song and dance. Then, "it" appeared. Just blocks from our home, Tom (god bless him), put up paper on the Nopo Coffeehouse windows, literally rolling the dice and waiting to see what happened. We happened. I think I called him the day after the paper went up, and LUCKY for us, he was willing to take a chance on us "kids."

I wish I could say that it was love at first sight when we first saw the interior, however 'lust' seems a more appropriate descriptor when it comes to capturing the tone of our mutual feelings on that fateful day. We knew right away it was the best space we had seen during our seven month journey, and we knew we wanted it...bad. Not too big, not too small, a big spacious kitchen, close to our home, and most importantly, there was very little we could foresee wanting to change other than the color of the paint on the walls. This had over time become the most significant factor for us in terms of finding the 'right' location. It didn't take long for us to learn how fast money can disappear in a space that requires electrical and plumbing work. We knew we needed to find a space that was already a restaurant. We could try to make a space our own, but we just couldn't afford to make a space.

This past weekend Ali and I took advantage of the fact that the cafe is not yet open, and went on a two night camping trip. When we returned home last night we found a number of packages on our doorstep (which we later discovered to be our new outdoor tables), as well as an exciting message on our answering machine: our light fixtures had arrived! Though we don't have the means to build out a space from scratch, we are thoroughly enjoying putting our thumb print on this existing space. The new lights we ordered are perhaps more decorative than practical, but should no doubt add to the comfortable and classic environment we strive to create.

We headed down to Schoolhouse Electric early Monday afternoon, excited to finally see in person what we had ordered via telephone three weeks ago. The showroom alone is worth the trip if you are even remotely interested in lighting or light fixtures. What seem like hundreds of light fixtures and shades adorn the ceilings and walls of the space, making for some very remarkable eye candy. The only downside might be the fact that there is so much to choose from, and given that each fixture and shade are made to order, it seems as though it could be easy to run up a pretty expensive tab at this place.
After we picked up our lights Ali and I made the 1/2 block journey to one of our favorite places to eat in Portland, Pho Green Papaya & Deli. Located on SE MLK, just a block north of Stark St, this place cooks up some mighty fine Vietnamese cuisine. They do serve up the best Pho I have eaten. The restaurant boasts a very balanced menu that caters to carnivores, while also offering a large number of vegan and vegetarian options. Go there soon. You will be glad you did. And if you aren't too shy be sure to say hi to Adam for us, he usually is running the front of the house show and is always courteous and on top of the game.

Pho Green Papaya & Deli
402 Se MLK Blvd
Portland, OR 97214


Metolius Mark * Student of...Everything said...

Yeah, well...and the electrician is coming....when was that?

Ali and Evan said...

No need for an electrician...we don't have to move any light boxes. Like I said before, we are lucky.

Anonymous said...

Hey you two! Congratulations with the cafe. I operate a cafe on NE Fremont! I'll come visit when you open. When will that be?

Best wishes! the ice cream looks great...can't wait to try it:)


Anonymous said...

Awwww....I was hoping for a picture of the new lights!!! In my opinion this is a tease. But all the more reason to check you guys out!

Ali and Evan said...

LOVE your blog! Our espresso machine is not up and running yet, can we come by your cafe in the meantime? Please email us with your cafe's name at littleredbikecafe@gmail.com and we can stop in sometime. Thanks for writing!