Meet Your Neighbor: Andy Bischoff from Portland Fruit East

Our “Foster Folk” feature makes a spring return with a profile of one of its little gems, Portland Fruit East. And with good timing, too. There’s been a lot of local rumbling about how bad the Foster Fred Meyer can be, specifically in the produce section. So why not let us introduce an alternative: Portland Fruit East. Meet its owner, Andy Bischoff.
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Who are you and what is your connection to the neighborhood?
We are Portland Fruit East, and we are the neighborhood family-owned produce and grocery spot. We provide a fun, laidback place for people to shop, where they can really get that personal, get-to-know-your-neighbor feel, while also getting the best price.

Portland Fruit EastOther than fruit (duh), what does Portland Fruit East provide?
We’ve got produce, local dairy products, honey, salsa, canned goods, nuts and dried fruit, along with beer, cider, mead and kombucha on tap, and so much more. We’ve got everything for the neighborhood, and we work really hard to get the best prices to our customers. Our top priority is keeping everything local. We like to know who is producing our food.

How did you choose to live/work on Foster? What are some of the challenges and opportunities to doing business in the neighborhood?
My dad bought the store about 6 years ago from a good friend, and I run this location while my brother runs the Beaverton location. One of the challenges we have found is getting the younger crowd shopping with us. We want to see young people caring about local food too!

Just as Foster is evolving, how do you see Portland Fruit East changing with it?
These are exciting times for our business! Change is good, and we are getting ready to evolve with the area. We recently redid our Facebook, and just got Twitter and Instagram pages – we’re making some jumbo ‘happy fruit’ installments for the outside of the building, painted by one of our guys in the store and I cut them out, making the area a little more friendly looking. We recently did some major renovations to the building by adding garage doors to the front so now the building is all open when the weather is nice. We also have tons of bottled beer in the store, and now we have tons of beer, cider, mead and kombucha on tap. Plus we have tons of starts for your garden! We really just want to see lots of people at the store, having fun and learning about local products.

What are your favorite haunts in the neighborhood when you’re not working?
I don’t know that I could pick a favorite, and I don’t live in the area so I don’t get to hang out as much as I wish, but I always like supporting any fellow Foster Rd business. It hasn’t always been easy out here, but we have a great spirit in this area, and we love our community.

If you had two wishes for Foster, what would they be?
One would be to see more people supporting local rather than chain stores. And the second would be to see everyone in town come to our Let’s Get Local Spring Kickoff! It will be on April 18th from noon to 4pm, and we’ll have tons of local businesses handing out samples, such as humm kombucha, Romero’s salsa and a lot more. Plus we will have a free juice stand hosted by local startup Generation Juice, for anyone that wants to see what this whole juicing thing is about. Check it out here at https://www.facebook.com/events/1599098543668423/.
Oh and don’t forget to like us on facebook!!
https://www.facebook.com/Portlandfruiteast and follow our twitter and Instagram for fun updates about the store! www.twitter.com/pdxfruiteast and www.instagram.com/portland_fruit_east. 

Cheers! Thanks, Andy

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

Dang, 73 degrees. That’s what happened yesterday. And today’s getting off to a sunny start, too. We’ll get a brief rain break tonight, but then back to mid-to-high 60’s into Monday. Hopefully you all find something to get into over the weekend.
Here are your weekend tidbits…

- We have a few business openings next week: The Portland Mercado will have its soft opening on April 1, and Velvet Goldmine will start slangin’ their vintage and handmade clothing on April 2. The latter is opening its retail space in the former Renaissance Guitars storefront, sandwiched between Nayar Taqueria and Meticon Bikes.

- Not far behind the Mercado and Velvet Goldmine should be The Hallowed Halls, the recording studio and future record label that is currently turning the Wikman Building into its home. And maybe soon, too, we’ll get an update on Henry Higgins Boiled Bagels. (Lots happening in the ‘hood.) For more happenings on the street, including the pot shop making the former Smokey’s Tavern home, check our “catching-up” piece from earlier in the week.

- Ok, actually one more “new to the neighborhood”—mostly because we’re intrigued by their name: Dickey Doo’s Pub and Grub. It’s not on Foster, but it’s still in the neighborhood, located on Powell and 66th. You may know the spot by its predecessor, Undefeated Sports Bar, and its more established neighbor across the street, The Lodge. Let us know how it is if you’ve been.

- The Egg Carton made an appearance on the Food Network’s Chopped. If you missed the episode earlier in the week, it’ll re-air on April 2 at 8 pm. Props to them for putting Foster (and its namesake sandwich, FoPo Cristo) on the map.

- Things have been quiet on the Bob White Theatre front lately, but it’s still active if you were wondering. In fact, the theater will play host to a film festival this weekend, and it might be worth your while to check it out. “Celebrating the world’s finest neo-Victorian,  retro-futurist Cinema since 2011,” the Steampunk Film Festival takes place this Sunday, March 29. Shows start at 2 pm, and the program guide can be found: here.

- One more call-out to writers, contributors, people-in-the-know, web designers, Foster creepers and slackers: we’re in the hunt for people wanting to get involved with the blog. Hit us up at fosterpowellpdx@gmail.com

Enjoy the weekend, all. Be cool, be safe.
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Seen in FoPo

What really happens when you sleep? Stuff that goes on behind my house…

Alleyway picnic, tweaker party, or discarded goods? You be the judge.

image

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Catching Up: What’s New?

We knew we’d be a bit fewer and farther between posts as we figure out this parenting thing. And sure enough, posting these days is proving a tad difficult. Not impossible, though. So bear with us…we’ll just be jamming more material into fewer posts over the coming weeks.

MercadoHere’s our attempt to get folks up to speed on goings-on in the ‘hood. And as always, leave comments to add anything we missed.

- First up: The Portland Mercado opens in just over two weeks. While the Grand Opening is set for April 11, doors will actually open to the public on April 1. The Mercado will not only fill a food/grocery/cultural/third-space void in the neighborhood, but it should be a catalyst for more growth and improvement of Foster Road.

Velvet Goldmine- Also opening at the beginning of April is the Velvet Goldmine. The retail space sandwiched between Nayar Taqueria and Meticon Bikes will specialize in vintage and handmade clothing, adding that much more flare to this burgeoning stretch of Foster. And if nothing else, the paint job is pretty rad and a nice improvement in itself.

Foster Buds- Speaking of openings, we can now (sadly) say the Smokey’s era is officially over. Sure, the triangular dive (that was more known for being the bar near Slingshot and across the street from the Gun Room) has been closed for months now. But its replacement is now solidly open. I guess the only real difference is that we’re swapping bad beer with pot. Hello, Foster Buds.

Phoenix Pharmacy- The folks behind the Foster Window Project have put finishing touches on their work at the Phoenix Pharmacy Building. Buck’s trash barrels have been given new life with plants; the mural’s been dedicated with all sponsors acknowledged; and clearly less debris that once gave the entrance a barricaded look. If only we could now get someone to buy the building before it falls apart behind the facelift.

Da Hui- For any of you who once feared going into Da Hui, 1) you’re a wuss (kidding, we’re not that insensitive), and 2) you no longer have to worry about the riff raff. In regards to the latter point, you just won’t have to worry about the riff raff who wear “affiliated colors or patches”—we can’t guarantee colorless and patchless riff raff won’t still be there (but we kinda hope they will be…it wouldn’t be the same otherwise).

One more thing: Foster is on the verge of something great. Small businesses keep sprouting up; investments are being made; there’s good local energy to go along with the decidedly up-and-coming-but-still-grimey, DIY ethos that exists in this part of Southeast. Make sure you support what we have. Go see music at Starday Tavern; check out the food carts; get your bike fixed at Meticon; buy a board game from Red Castle or record from Green Noise; get your coffee from Pieper Cafe and produce from Portland Fruit Company; stroll up and down the street to find the little gems you didn’t know existed.
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FoPo’s Newest Recording Studio and Record Label to Make Wikman Building Home

IMG_2191Ok, we already knew Foster had an active (though, sorely underrated) music scene. It would be rare to find Starday Tavern without someone performing any given night, and between O’Malley’s, Gemini Lounge, and (at one time) Torta-landia, you’ll usually get at least another performance (or two) on Friday and/or Saturday nights, as well. Even Bar Carlo and NWIPA get into the action on occasion. Oh, and SMART Collective skate shop also bills itself as an all-ages music venue, too.

And then there’s The Bob White Theatre. While it may not be a model of consistency, and still holds more hope and promise than realized potential, live music does grace its stage.

IMG_4353And more recently, Green Noise Records set up shop on Foster, thus giving us a record store and making the neighborhood home to its Dirtnap Records music label.

That’s just the backdrop for a lively music scene on Foster. We also have a fiddle-playing chicken that posts up at Holgate and Foster during rush hour; karaoke at Da Hui and FoPo Tavern; and the occasional appearance of the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers outside of O’Malley’s.

wikman_building_photoEnter The Hallowed Halls, Foster-Powell’s next recording studio, and the name behind the Wikman Building’s hopeful revival. Once a library, and most recently the office for the County’s Department of Community Justice, the Wikman Building has sat vacant since 2011 and was recently sold-off as surplus property. The Wikman was purchased last summer by developers who wanted to retain the unique character of the site, and it appears as if they have their first tenants: the team behind Hallowed Halls. The historic building will now soon be home to a recording studio and eventual record label, which just might solidify the neighborhood’s place in the local music scene.

Welcome, Hallowed Halls. We’ll look forward to updates, as well as info on the new record label.

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Happy Weekend, Foster People

Another Friday, another weekend post. Not sure how many more of these we have left in the tank, as we (I….well, the wife and I) just brought a new, little Foster-ite into the world. (How long before we allow—ok, encourage—her getting that “Foster 97206″ tattoo remains to be seen.) In any event, parenthood is taxing. And, I might add, way more fun than dribbling on and on about Foster on the internet. A slow-down is in order, though we’ll try to keep it alive in some fashion (read: less frequent, so don’t abandon us altogether…at least not yet).

Here are your weekend tidbits…

- We know O’Malley’s fits the bill of an Irish pub mostly in name only. But you can get a pint of Guinness whenever you want, and The Chieftains do actually play on the juke box from time to time. And they always celebrate St. Paddy’s Day. So if you’re looking for somewhere local to go on the 17th, that’s your spot.

– The former Renaissance Guitars retail space is set to become Velvet Goldmine, a soon-to-be handmade and vintage clothing store. And as a reader pointed out, they’ll be joining SMART Collective (down the street) as one of two retail spaces that will sell clothing (though much different) within the general “Heart of Foster” area. That’s great for the once-reluctant pedestrian on Foster. Now that people venture to the commercial district for more than just booze and auto-detailing, adding more retail options just increases the flow. Keep it coming…and good luck, Velvet Goldmine.

- You know those dirt-bike riders that make our alleyways an urban obstacle course every year, usually around Easter? Well, apparently they’re getting too big for their britches. Infighting, discord, leadership changes, and all. Even the Oregonian has picked up on the event that may or may not happen this year. But if it does, don’t be alarmed by the vrooming and buzzing you hear behind your house on April 18.

– Our local bar scene makes another Portland Mercury list, this time in its Happy Hour Guide. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we struck out in the “High-Class Happy Hours” and the “Fancy Happy Hours” categories. Rather, our very own Devil’s Point eeked out an entry in the “Wonderfully Trashy Happy Hours” category. Actually, now that I think about it, that’s way more fitting for Foster. And just where I like us to be. Though, maybe one day we’ll land in one of the other tiers, too. Balance is always good, yeah?

– Linda Austin is at it again, and you can catch her performance, (Un)Made Solo Relay, this Saturday at Performance Works NW. Here’s the description:
      “A new multi-layered solo by LINDA AUSTIN is remembered/mis-remembered by eight other dancers performing their own perfectly imperfect versions in a pass-along relay—the first stage of Austin’s long term project (UN)MADE, a vehicle for the making, unmaking, transforming, transmitting, and distilling of performance and the performative self.
    “At once experiential inquiry and staged performance, (UN)MADE unfolds over the next 2-3 years in three stages: a pass-along solo for 8-10 performers; a group score for up to 40 trained or untrained performers that can be learned, adapted, practiced, and performed over the course of a week; and, finally, a fully-designed and staged dance that draws on material and methods generated over the previous 2 versions.
    “Sound: JOHN BERENDZEN|| Visuals: MORGAN RITTER|| Lights: JEFF FORBES”

– Prepare yourself: The Portland Mercado is nearing its grand opening. Mark your calendars for April 11.

Enjoy the weekend, all. Be cool.

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