PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The winter storm sweeping across the U.S. is considered as “The Grinch” by many who have had their Christmas travel canceled, or would otherwise be celebrating the holiday weekend at their favorite restaurants that have had to close down.
However, some restaurateurs like Ramzy Hattar are embracing the extreme weather conditions by becoming Grinches of their own.
Hattar owns the River Pig Saloon and Papi Chulo’s in Northwest Portland. He’s run restaurants in the city for about 10 years, and always takes the holidays as an opportunity to dust off his Grinch costume that’s been upgraded throughout the years.
“This goes so many different ways. I can wear it at work for our customers and staff and then I can wear it to scare my kids and all their friends,” he said. “I’ve really gone overboard with the Grinch thing. It’s been fun. I think people enjoy it. I’m definitely a better Grinch than Santa.”
According to Hattar, Dec. 23 is typically one of River Pig Saloon’s biggest days of the year. The bar even has an ugly sweater and Grinch party scheduled for Friday night, but the turnout is dependent on the wavering weather conditions.
“There are major challenges because we’ve also got to look out for the safety of our employees and our staff to make sure they can get to work and get home after work safely,” Hattar said. “On top of everything, not many people are traveling to Portland right now for vacations. Back in the past [with] holiday vacations this time of year, we’d get a lot of visitors into Portland or family or just visiting the city to enjoy the food and nightlife and that’s not happening anymore. So when you add an ice storm or snow storm… it takes a toll on all these businesses.”
Despite this, he says that River Pig Saloon customers can still count on the neighborhood bar to be open even in case of a storm. After all, a favorite phrase among his friend group is, “If you’re scared, go to church.”
Some saloon regulars seem to agree with that sentiment and endured Thursday’s freezing temperatures to stop by the bar that will remain open for the next couple of days.
“We’re going to be open. We’re going to be serving warm drinks and good food and you don’t need to drive to get here. Obviously, we have a big neighborhood here that hopefully will come out and support us,” Hattar said.
River Pig Saloon is located on 529 NW 13th Ave. If road conditions are safe, it will open at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23, and close at midnight. There will also be limited hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The bar has an extensive holiday cocktail menu that includes Hot Toddies, or you can visit for a photo with the Grinch.