Higgins restaurant opens Piggins, an outdoor bistro downtown

Greg Higgins, award-winning chef and co-owner of the Portland farm-to-table restaurant Higgins, has opened his new restaurant called Piggins, an open-air bistro with a satellite kitchen set on the 4,000-square-foot plaza outside the Oregon Historical Society.

The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily throughout the summer and fall. Higgins and Piggins will both be doing curbside pickup as well as outdoor dining at Piggins.

Higgins celebrated the first day of his new restaurant with a champagne toast for those over 21 on Saturday.

“It was a little more than anticipated, but in a good way,” Higgins said.

The restaurant is an extension of Higgins’ kitchen, according to a press release. It will offer pasture-raised meats and all-organic local produce from small farmers in the Willamette Valley, with starters such as farm salads and sandwiches such as the Piggins burger, a Carman Ranch grass-fed burger with applewood-smoked pork loin and cheese.

Piggins will also offer dinner entrees that will change incrementally each week. There will be live music from house musician Jordan Smith on Friday and Saturday evening, and Higgins is hoping to add more nights of music from different local artists.

The restaurant will service 16 bistro tables spaced to follow social distancing guidelines. They’re currently able to seat around 48 people and will be able to seat 64 soon. Each table has a QR code guests can scan to see the menu so staff don’t have to sanitize menus as often.  

The release said the imposed reduction of 50% capacity seating in restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic has called for unprecedented approaches to keep restaurants alive. The only way Higgins saw his namesake restaurant and Piggins surviving was to offer outdoor seating for the summer and fall.

“More folks are more comfortable in the outdoor setting,” he said.

Higgins said as Piggins became more well-known and a part of the Portland community, the bistro could become a place for cultural programs such as film series, chamber music concerts and more.

“We’ve lost some of our classic outdoor venues over the years,” Higgins said in the release. “We want Piggins to become Portland’s new summer destination, overlooking the beauty of the South Park Blocks gardens.”

Higgins also collaborated with culinary cinematographer Brian Kimmel to produce a short documentary titled “When Pigs Fly.” Kimmel has been documenting the development of Piggins and how Higgins has navigated the local food industry during the pandemic, as well as how the community is getting through such a pivotal time in history. It’s set to be screened later this summer or by early fall.  

Due to the pandemic Higgins had to lay off a large part of his staff, but the majority have been able to return to work with Piggins opening.

“In a word this is some positivity,” he said. “There’s been so much hardship and depressing, deplorable stuff going on downtown. Maybe we’re generating some positive momentum for the downtown community.”

— Ty Vinson


503-221-4315; @ty_vinson_

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