Heidi and Scott have lived in Portsmouth for quite some time. They’re invested in making their community better, a place where people can form strong bonds with each other. This is one of the reasons they opened up their new café, Portsmouth Pantry, at the corner of North Lombard and Haven. Here’s what Heidi had to say about her new adventure as an owner of Portsmouth Pantry in North Portland.
Heidi and Scott have lived in Portsmouth for the last ten years. For the past eight years, they’ve run a wholesale nut roasting business, Albina City Nuts. Oregon is the number one producer of hazelnuts in the United States, and they wanted to do something with the region’s agriculture. They were running their business in a kitchen they’d long since outgrown when an ideal space at the corner of North Lombard and Haven opened up.
Heidi and Scott were thrilled to lease the space, which is 2,000 square feet and has a large commercial kitchen, for their hazelnut company. But they also realized that they had an opportunity to serve their own neighborhood and facilitate people crossing paths in a way they wouldn’t normally get to do. Thus, Portsmouth Pantry in North Portland was born! It’s now been open for three months.
Here’s how it works. In the back of the space, nut production for Albina City Nuts is going on. In the font of the space, Albina City Nuts are on the shelves. And the Portsmouth Pantry café is also in the front. That’s where people from the community can come sit down, have a cup of coffee, and relax for a second before going on with their busy days.
The café has an espresso machine. Nearly all of the baked goods are made in house. They do things from scratch at Portsmouth Pantry in North Portland. Heidi makes a wide variety of delicious hand pies (including vegan hand pies). You can also buy scones, sweet breads, and Danishes. They also make a lot of biscuits; in fact, their Sunrise Sandwich, a basic but delicious egg and cheese option, is a top seller.
Portsmouth Pantry has also hosted several pop-up dinners since opening up. Obon, a local vegan Japanese restaurant, came in and served everyone killer vegan Japanese food. Another time, they had a raclette night (raclette is a Swiss cheese). Heidi and Scott are working hard to bring in some things that haven’t been seen in the in the neighborhood before.
So what makes Portsmouth Pantry in North Portland special? Mainly, it’s how the owners and staff (which Heidi says is really a family) interact with people. Heidi and Scott try to instill in their team that kindness and generosity will go a long way with anyone, whether customer or not. The staff will always smile at you and ask what they can do to help you. And that can really change an environment.
Heidi also finds it extremely rewarding to be part of a micro-economy. The ingredients that go into the food at Portsmouth Pantry are as local as possible. Their wheat, for instance, is all grown in the northwest. The food is local and is sold to local people. Heidi says that it’s fun to see how close they can make their business. And she’s especially interested in supporting the farmers and agriculturists in our region. She knows there are many others out there who really want to spend their money locally, and she wants to help them do that.
So, what does Heidi want to say to you if you’ve never been in but want to give Portsmouth Pantry a try? It’s a little bit of a new frontier in Portsmouth. In other neighborhoods, there might be ten cafés that are all really great. But this little area of Portsmouth isn’t known for good cafés, and you should give it a try because it’s something different in your own town. There’s something really great about experiencing something unique in your own community.
Portsmouth Pantry is really just in its infancy. Heidi and Scott have a vision for the café that extends far into the future, and we look forward to seeing what it will grow into! Welcome to Portsmouth—we’re glad to have you here.