No Valentine: Restaurants, ready to go, whacked by storm

Multnomah County

'We're kind of used to it after this last year'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Valentine’s Day is often a very popular time at restaurants and many people were looking forward to being able to bring people back inside for the first time in a while.

But then the storm hit. And then the power went out. So restaurants that have long suffered during the pandemic got whacked again just as they were about to be able to open, at least a little bit.

Jamal Hassan, the co-owner of Mediterranean Exploration Company in the Pearl District, February 14, 2021 (KOIN)

The heavy snow proved to be too much for outdoor dining areas like the one at the Mediterranean Exploration Company in the Pearl District, where their tent collapsed. Co-owner Jamal Hassan said he’s just thankful employees were able to return to work and offer some takeout for the weekend.

“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a lot of practice in dealing with hardship over this last year-and-a-half,” Hasson told KOIN 6 News. “This is the one outdoor structure we have and we’ll be working hard to rebuild it next week and get it back up and running.”

Olympia Provisions Public House on Division saw snow damage to their outdoor set-up, too, while some east side food carts sat cold and quiet on this wintry Sunday.

Other restaurants closed up shop.

David Foulke, the general manager at Quaintrelle on North Mississippi, said customers have been understanding and willing to delay their plans. The restaurant closed for the weekend and moved their Valentine’s tasting reservations to next weekend.

Snow and ice affected the outdoor dining at Quaintrelle in North Portland, February 14, 2021 (KOIN)

“We’re kind of used to it after this last year. We kind of expect shoes to be dropping all the time,” he said. “This is definitely a relatively major hurdle, but we’ll get through it.”

He added they’ve been contacting people for the last 3 days to let them know what’s going on.

“We’d rather keep everybody safe and do it right next weekend when we can,” Foulke said. “I feel lucky to live in Portland where we have such a supportive community, where people are wearing their masks and being understanding and helping us get through this. It’s a part of what we do.”

Hassan admitted this took “a little wind out of our sails. We have gotten support from the community and we’re just out here to try and feed the community and, at least, make someone’s Valentine’s special.”

Some diners changed plans for date night.

“We actually went out to dinner a few days ago because we knew it was going to be snowing,” Grace Taylor said.

“I’m really glad we did it a few days earlier,” added Jarin Oda.

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