Inside the soon-to-open LB Kitchen, one section of the snug, white space on Congress Street will be dedicated to drinks. It won’t just be for local beer, coffee and wine — though all three will flow — but rather, ancient, healthy liquids like bone broth.
“We will serve things that are current and on-trend with what people want,” said Bryna Gootkind, who is opening the East End breakfast and lunch restaurant with partner and wife Lee Farrington.
Though she’s been on hiatus, chef Lee Farrington is no stranger to Portlanders. She opened the globally inspired bistro Figa just as the great recession receded in 2011. Serving dinner only, featuring decadent fare like wild boar, Figa was a success, but closed after two years.
“I walked away horrified and humiliated,” said Farrington, who had a young child and needed to destress.
Now after a regroup, a marriage, new energy and direction, she re-emerges in the same 22-seat space with a sharper concept and fresh interior. “This is all about flexibility,” she said.
Flexibility to serve breakfast like ancient grain bowls with coconut, nut butter, cacao and mulberries to wholesome grains or greens topped with wild salmon, boar, charred tofu and other proteins for a fast lunch. And bone broth, a heartier soup stock that promotes gut and joint health, will be sold like coffee to go, in varieties like Thai tomato beef, coconut mint chicken and kombu sesame mushroom. Is this the new clam chowder?
“It’s simple food with intent,” said Farrington. “That’s different for Portland.”
Feed up with fried seafood offerings long dominating the lunch scene here, LB Kitchen aims higher and healthier. (There will still be a killer chocolate cake that you’d never know was vegan).
Because the front counters are on wheels, the space can be transformed for dinner and cooking classes down the road.
LB Kitchen, 249 Congress St., opens in mid-December. Hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day but Sunday.