This month’s Cathedral Park Jazz Festival will feature two new events that benefit local food banks!
Pancake Brunch and Bloody Mary Challenge
Sunday morning, July 22nd, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
The Jazz Festival will host their first-ever Pancake Brunch from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. The cost is $7.00 for adults. Children accompanied by a paying adult eat for free. This will also be in Cathedral Park. Look for the tent with the Pancake Brunch sign.
Bloody Mary Challenge
Meanwhile, adults over 21 can build their own Bloody Mary between 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the Deschutes Brewery Beer Garden. Cost is $8.00 per person. Tomato juice, garnishes, and a short of vodka will be provided. At 11:00 a.m. in the beer garden, six bartenders from Portland establishments will compete in front of a panel of judges for “Best of the Fest Bloody Mary” honors. This event is sponsored by Everett West and Tito’s Vodka.
Proceeds Benefit Local Food Banks
While admission to the festival itself is free, everyone is urged to bring two nonperishable food items. Donated non-perishable food and proceeds from the Pancake Brunch and Bloody Mary Challenge will benefit local food banks including:
St. Johns, is home to talented artists and an active art scene. June 2nd and 3rd we celebrate the creative spirit of our neighborhood with St. Johns ArtBurst, a weekend of art events.
St. Johns Art Walk
Friday, June 2nd — St. Johns Downtown and Cathedral Park Place
Enjoy artist receptions and demonstrations at local businesses along N. Lombard, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. From 7:30 – 10:00 p.m. dance to live music at the artist reception at Cathedral Park Place Gallery, located at 6635 N. Baltimore.
Event details and let them know you are attending: Facebook Event Page. Light snacks will be provided.
Saturday, June 3rd — US Bank Parking Lot, N Lombard & Philadelphia
On Saturday, between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., come out for the family-friendly St. Johns Art Constitutional. The Art Constitutional joins the St. Johns Farmers Market by bringing together art, music, and food. The Art Constitutional offers a combination of artworks, demonstrations, hands-on art making, and performances.
Connect and shop with local artists and crafts people including painters, illustrators, jewelry designers, woodworkers, fabric artists, glass artists, and more. Some will be doing live demonstrations!
Enjoy music from St. Johns locals and a diverse array of genres. Thank you to Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust for supporting our diverse musical performances this year!
Community Happiness Art Project
St. Johns Center for Opportunity wants to know what makes St. Johns residents happy. They are asking residents to paint their own canvas flags with a representation of what makes them happy. The canvas flags will be collected and displayed at neighborhood events and during the September Art Walk.
It’s been a long winter, but it’s finally time for the St. Johns Farmers Market!
Saturday, May 20th we open the market season in the St. Johns Plaza, located at N. Lombard and N. Philadelphia. The market goes from 9am-2pm every Saturday through October 28th.
This Saturday, come out for fresh and local produce, baked goods, cheeses, salsa and hummus, meat and eggs, fish, plant starts, and more! Have brunch or lunch at the market with a crepe, tamale, sausage, or steamed pork bun – even bring a deck of cards and stay for a while!
Of course there’s always music, and on opening day we’ll have Jeremy Fama (a high energy busker-supreme who has some stories to tell) and Twenty Three Suns (known for their otherworldly tunes designed to move you).
Demos and Community Offerings
New Seasons at the demo booth showing you how you can use those spring vegetables! Also at the market this year: a kids corner where little ones can read and color, a community booth to learn more about our neighborhood organizations, and a swap station where community members can share gently-used clothes, shoes, and books.
SNAP Accepted and Doubled
At the St. Johns Farmers Market, you can double your SNAP dollars! For every $1 of SNAP funds redeemed at the market, a matching $1 in Double Up Food Bucks is provided (up to a $10 match each visit) to purchase additional fruits and vegetables from local farmers and producers. See the info booth at the market to redeem.
St. Johns is getting lot’s of new restaurants to discover these days and a wonderful addition to our community is Pizza Nostra. Located on the corner of Philadelphia and Lombard in the Marvel 29 building, it’s hard to miss when coming or going over the bridge.
It’s always great to find out what makes a business special and I was able to sit down recently with Abdul Ahoti, the owner of Pizza Nostra. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation.
Q: Tell me about Pizza Nostra.
A: We started Pizza Nostra in Northeast Portland in 2011, specifically the Beaumont area for its feel and that its family oriented. There are a lot of family businesses there that provide jobs and that’s why I chose to be in my first location. After five years, we decided to open another location and we had St Johns as the main destination. Thankfully we got this great location by the beautiful St. Johns Bridge and we’re doing great here.
Q: What has your journey looked like?
A: I was working at a pizza shop in 2007, the same year I started going to Portland State. I started entry-level, just doing dishes. A few years after that I was a manager, then a general manager at a new location they opened. I worked in that pizza place for five years until I found a great space in Northeast and decided to go on my own and open my own restaurant.
Q: What things did you encounter along the way?
A: I started the business in 2011. That was my senior year in college, so of course it takes a lot of time to start a new business. I was working 70 to 80 hours a week and took a lot of effort. I worked with my fiancé at the time, my wife now, spending as much as we could financially and in time and effort.
Q: How did you come up with your name?
A: I was just brainstorming, thinking “what’s name I’m going to start with”? I wanted to do something that sounded Italian, but also told our story. I was talking to my mother and she said “why don’t you call it “Our Pizza” and that’s what’s Pizza Nostra literally means!
Q: Why did you choose St. Johns?
A: Great question. St. Johns has a local feeling and restaurants here are small and emerging. It’s a familiar feeling I had when I started my first business. There are quite a few cafes here too. I’ve seen that St. Johns residents love the feel of their restaurants, so I wanted to be part of that. I’ve also been hearing for years that St. Johns is an up-and-coming neighborhood in Portland, so that’s another reason why I wanted the opportunity be here.
Q: How did you design and create your interior space?
A: We like it and wish it was a little bit bigger, but we’re happy to have this space. I wanted to keep the theme of the red and white colors with some stainless steel and add a little bit of wood. I thought that’s good combination of color and kind of the identity of our pizza.
Q: What’s great on your menu?
A: We have a variety of items on our menu and wanted to include everyone. We have traditional pizzas and vegan options as well. We have thick crust, New York-style crust and a gluten free crust. Also one of our specialties is a 26-inch Giant Pizza that barely fits through most doors but, that’s kind of a novelty thing that we just want people to remember us by.
Q: Any advice for a new entrepreneur?
A: I think number one is don’t be afraid to take chances. I took a chance on myself by opening a new location and leaving a job in my senior year, but it’s paid off. Work hard. Never stop learning and surround yourself with a good crew and good people. I think that’s the most important thing about any successful business.
Q: Why do you think people support small, local businesses?
A: Well that’s what Portland is about and that’s what I love about Portland. We love to support local businesses! I like to see small businesses drive a local area and complement each other. Look at the business next door to ours, Hoplandia. We have a great relationship with them. They don’t serve food and we don’t serve beer, but we have excellent relationship together. I’m proud to be in a place that supports local businesses and where people can order a lot of different foods.
Q: Why do people like pizza so much?
A: I believe the pizza is fun! Adults like it and children like it. It’s an affordable meal a family of four can have. When you order a pizza, everyone shares together! People love pizza and if it’s good quality and delivered to their door, then they’ll probably love it even more.
“Better together,” could be the unofficial slogan for Salty Teacup. What started as two stores on separate side streets has evolved, with the combined strengths of owners Emily Stanfield and Karen Urban, into a St. Johns’ favorite.
On May 14th at the St. Johns Bizarre, the Boosters conducted a survey to find what the public believes are the favorite shops, restaurants and service professionals in our business district. Salty Teacup came away with the most votes and the win in the Shop category.
Salty Teacup’s official slogan, “Provisions for the modern life.”, is a curated mix of clothing, jewelry, gifts, cards, and art.
Karen and Emily, in their own words
Our shop is designed to create a fun laid back, treasure-filled experience, like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice’s Wonderland. We are a bit of an escape from the everyday where modern meets eclectic and things are continually changing.
Our success is due to the loyal support of our amazing customers. We continually work to evolve our space and our product mix to meet our customer’s needs, and be responsive to changing trends and what customers are not finding at other boutiques.
This includes clothing in size ranges that are typically not well served by boutiques as well as jewelry, accessories and other objects created in house.
We love to include local artists and designers, even some that live in St Johns. Michael Barley, Francesca Bernini of Unusual Cards, The Portland Tarot, Wynn Gunter, Singing Blackbird, and Rebecca Russelle all live and create in St. Johns.
Other local Portland and Oregon based designers include:
Forge + Fire
New Refined Basics
Bridge Nine Candle Co.
Trixie & Milo
House of Six Cats
Canvas mounted prints by Deanna Cantrell, also the official photographer for the St. Johns Boosters, grace the shop walls.
Still, product is not enough. No shop can be a “favorite” without excellent customer service. Meet, Tracy Weber, Sales Associate Extraordinaire.
Tracy’s kind and bubbly attitude is part of Salty Teacup’s success. She knows how to direct a customer to that perfect piece to complete an outfit or the “just right” gift for a friend. With so many products in this delightful shop, having a sales associate who knows where everything is and how to make a customer feel special is important.
We would be no where near as successful without Tracy. We definitely miss her when she is off.
Salty Teacup owner
The best idea
When asked what generated the idea of joining forces into one shop, Karen and Emily mentioned that being located on side streets made it harder for customers to find them. The opportunity to team up in one bigger space was too good to pass up.
Salty Teacup, at 8416 North Lombard, is easy to find.
One more reason Emily and Karen are better together:
We each have different strengths that together form a strong team dynamic. That, along with our amazing staff, keeps us relevant in an ever changing retail economy.
Salty Teacup owner
Stop by Salty Teacup and see all it has to offer. This shop, along with the many other retailers, restaurants, coffee shops, and service professionals in our business district, is part of what makes St. Johns a thriving community.
The Oregonian has spoken … well posted, actually, their 10 Favorite Shops in St. Johns. Leading all the rest is The Olive & Vine, our very own gourmet specialty store.
If you haven’t visited, you should. Owner Kim Shaw is delightful and knowledgable. She sources organic olive oils, aged vinegars, sea salts, herbs, spices and fine teas for the shop as well as for her home kitchen. She is brimming with ideas that will liven your table with deliciousness.
The Olive & Vine is more than a job for us. Food has always meant family, friends and love in our home. The shop is really an extension of our home. It’s a look into our pantry and our lives. We use these products and enjoy sourcing new items and sharing them with our customers.