Long-time midtown restaurant favorite, FEZ is moving just a few lights south on Central to 105 West Portland, adjacent to the Roosevelt light rail station.
Fez has built their success on a fun, accessible atmosphere; an eclectic, reliable menu; full bar; late night hours and menu; and a well-trained staff. The new location will be all of that and more. The location of the new FEZ will be familiar to some as the old Portland’s, but Mark Howard (pictured right), one of the co-owners of FEZ, (as well as Bliss/Rebar) is quick to point out that “it won’t look at all like the old Portland’s. We’re giving the whole space a complete lift.”
The new FEZ will have a great mix of recognizable, but upgraded assets: expanded patio seating, including a larger patio in front and one on the Portland Avenue side; trees, planters and mounted heaters; a 25-seat bar, in a cool hexagonal shape that will make it easier for people to see and talk with one another; and bright new everything.
“We’ve opened up the space,” said Howard. “It’s going to look so fresh, new, updated. Everything will be brand new – all the furniture, lighting, equipment in the kitchen, bar, everything.” He continues, “There will be so many cool things. We’re taking all of the fun elements of FEZ and just upgrading them.” They’re using all local, small business, and independent trades for the remodel and construction. To create the fresh vibrant look of the new location they are working with artist, architect, and designer Rocco Menaguale, of Rocco Designs. Additionally, Menaguale is creating a fine art ceiling sculpture for the bar area. Local furniture designer Levi Christiansen is creating a community dining table
“People have come to us for 10 years for what they know and what they love,” said Howard. “Our menu will always have the same good, wonderful, unique, consistent items, but we’re going to expand it a bit. We’re adding more brunch items and a few more entrée pieces. But basically it’s the same menu, same great staff, same great atmosphere.”
Howard knows that accessibility is one of the keys to their success and will continue to be key in the new location, which will build on FEZ’s reputation as a fun destination and a great place to hang. In addition to the easy biking, walking, and light rail access to the restaurant, there will be plenty of parking. The garage just behind the new location has 70 free parking spaces, and there is parking all along Portland on the greenbelt.
“You have to know who’s coming downtown,” said Howard. “It’s not suburbia. People who come downtown like eclectic, not-high-end concepts. They like the idea that they can eat there every day; that it’s reliable, consistent, affordable, more accessible.”
So FEZ fans, start spreading the word. FEZ will not close in its current location until the end of the year, and the new location opens on January 2, so there will be no lapse in getting your FEZ fix.
If you go:
What: FEZ in their new location, 4,00 sf restaurant, plus 68-seat expanded patio
Where: 105 W. Portland. Next to the Roosevelt light rail station.
When: Opening day is January 2 (the current location will remain open through the end of this year)
Hours: 11:00 am to midnight every night
Parking: 70 free parking spots in the garage and street spots on Portland Ave.
Renderings by Rocco Designs. Courtesy of FEZ.