PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A downtown staple for nearly 15 years closed earlier this week.
Clyde Common was part of what made Portland a foodie town.
Long before the restaurant opened in 2007, Clyde Common owner Nate Tilden already had a passion for food.
“Well, I’ve always loved food,” Tilden said. “I remember being 11 years old and riding my little BMX bike past the Albertsons on the way home from school. And I was like, ‘I have an allowance. I’m gonna go buy flank steak.’ Literally, when I was 11, I started cooking a lot.”
Not only did Tilden step into the Portland restaurant scene — he and his downtown restaurant also played a part in getting his hometown recognized as a foodie destination.
“It was so cool — it was like literally one table full of musicians or actors and another table full of Portland regulars, and then another table full of people who were visiting from London,” he said. “And everyone was talking to each other.”
Eventually, he felt that high energy begin to wane.
“I sensed something happening pre pandemic,” he said. “I feel like our city got really crowded. There are a lot of options. I kind of felt that us being the center of the universe down there was slipping.”
Just as much of Downtown Portland was truly changing, the people at Clyde Common could see and feel those changes — which then led to some tough decisions.
When the pandemic hit, Tilden’s efforts to get money from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund fell flat.
Even keeping the space alive under a new owner didn’t work out.
“A pandemic shut us down,” Tilden said. “It’s not like someone did a bad thing to us and I was unhappy with our government’s response. I’m unhappy with the local government, the amount of crime we’re seeing in restaurants — they seem powerless to make a difference.”
“I don’t think they did something wrong,” he added. “I just think a pandemic happened and they were not equipped to deal with what’s happening. And we’re all in the same boat.”
Nearly two years into the pandemic, Clyde Common closed for good.
Now, Tilden’s spending much of his time in Bar Casa Vale in Southeast Portland, problems are far from over. He says he deals with break-ins or damage about once a week, but he doesn’t fault the police.
“I’m not going to call the police and be like, you should have been here,” Tilden said. “They are doing the best they can.”
But he said the situation in Portland will not deter him.
“I will stick here to the bitter end, and I will do everything I can to put the bricks back together and to rebuild Portland, Oregon,” Tilden said. “This is my home. But am I frustrated? Yeah, and I’m tired. I’m tired. This has been a long, long battle.”
Tilden has other businesses, like Olympia Provisions and Spirit of 77, but the charm and memories from Clyde Common are special.
He tells KOIN 6 he got messages from alums — not just in Portland but even Vancouver, B.C., New York and Denmark.