Who doesn’t love a good plate of ribs? OK, maybe somebody who prefers a bad plate of ribs, but how many of them do you know?
The point is, old-school BBQ isn’t that much of a Gorge dining presence, but all that will change this spring when Matt Ramey and Jennifer Peterson open the second outlet of the popular Lake Oswego rib joint, Pine Shed Ribs.
Their new diner will occupy space with a storied history — the former North Shore bar, then the popular Viento dinnerhouse, then a short-lived burger bar, a Greek place, and most recently, the easternmost outlet of the Portland burger group, Killer Burger.
Building ownership changed hands in April 2016, when longtime Gorge real estate investor and concert promoter Steve “Squrl” Curley and his wife, Tracy Ramsey, bought it and an adjacent building from commercial Realtor Lee Ast.
Squrl tells us that Ramey and Peterson saw his sign while out exploring the Gorge. On previous visits, they had begun to fall in love with the Gorge (sound familiar?).
“Jennifer and I, we just liked it out here,” says Ramey, who has been dishing up ‘cue for well over 16 years, with a couple trailer-hitch gigs, and then since 2011 at Pine Shed.
They were looking for expansion opportunities. They checked out the old Solstice pizza location, but the ground floor was taken. Then they had lunch up at Everybody’s Brewing, which had been supplying one of their tap handles at the Lake Oswego place.
“When we came down the hill, we saw the ‘for lease’ sign on the building” in Bingen, Ramey recalls.
He called Curley, and took a look inside.
“This little building, it kinda fit the bill,” he says. “It had so much going for it.”
Ramey says he feels more at home in the Gorge than he does in Lake Oswego, “and I’m just visiting.”
The build-out is using a lot of reclaimed, weathered beams to create service counters. Ramey plans to add a covered patio on the east side of the building, and bring it around and across the front as well. He also is thinking of closing in the open walkway to the current entry, and moving that closer to the street, to avoid drafts for diners already inside.
The menu will feature ‘cue staples. They’ll do a tri-tip, pulled pork, chicken and sausage sandwishes on Grand Central ciabatta. Sandwiches are true to the tradition — bread, protein, sauce. They’ll come with potato salad, slaw, barbecue beans. The menu also includes a mac-n-cheese sprinkled with chopped bacon.
Pine Shed also makes and bakes its own cornbread, served with honey butter.
Beverages will launch with beer and wine, then add 12 classic cocktail renditions using top-shelf liquors.
For the tightwads (or the savvy and discerning bargain hunters, if you prefer), happy hour will feature 16-ounce cans of PBR and Rainier. Taps, among others, will include Double Mountain and Mt. Hood Brewing products.
Target open is in mid-March. Stay tuned for updates.