I have a full plate after a week off that included some feasting in Portland, Ore., considered one of the country’s best food cities.

I didn’t go there to graze; it was a trip with my hubby (retired Beacon Journal reporter Jim Carney) to see family. But ya gotta eat, and when in Portland, do what the Portlandians do — eat good food. More on this later.

This week, we bring you news about the May openings of City Barbeque in Fairlawn and Pick’s at PLX in the former Hook, Line and Drinkers in Coventry Township.

City Barbeque, based in Dublin, Ohio, which specializes in smoked-on-site brisket and other meat, says it will open in Fairlawn in May. It will be the chain’s first foray into Northeast Ohio.

I’ve eaten a whole lot of carryout from City Barbeque while visiting family in the Columbus area.

The “fast-casual” chain has a menu and feel similar to Stark County-based Old Carolina Barbecue Co., offering a host of sides, including collard greens, baked beans with brisket, green beans with bacon and potato salad. (Yes, the two chains spell barbecue differently.)

The new City Barbeque isn’t far from an Old Carolina location in Copley on Ridgewood Road, near Interstate 77, only 1.4 miles from the City Barbeque site via Miller Road.

City Barbeque’s phone number will be 330-800-2532. Hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

It has locations in six states, 20 in Ohio. Less than two years ago, the chain’s founders sold a large portion of the company to private equity firm Freeman, Spogli & Co. That’s the same outfit that earlier had a stake in First Watch restaurants, and currently is an investor in Arhaus furniture stores, based in Boston Heights.

Pick’s to open in May

Pick’s at PLX has revealed its grand opening date: May 9.

Donnie Boyer, owner of Legends Sports Pub and Grille, is opening the bar and restaurant at 530 Portage Lakes Drive, on the West Reservoir in Coventry Township. Most recently the 16,000 square-foot property was Nicoletti’s Park Place, which closed in 2015. Before that, it was Hook, Line and Drinkers.

A posting on the Pick’s Facebook page says the establishment, with two kitchens and four bars, will offer dining, live entertainment and a banquet hall for private events.

Brothers Tom, Bob and Herb Hutchison purchased the art-deco-style brick structure in 2016. Parts of the building date to the 1940s.

Grazing in Portland

Now for a brief culinary trip to Portland, Ore.

It was on foodies’ maps before the show Portlandia in 2011 began poking loving fun at the city and its denizens — including their appetites for food trends. The premiere of the series (on the IFC channel) featured a hilarious scene with a couple at a farm-to-table restaurant inquiring not only if the chicken is free range, but the name of the person who raised it, and the name of the chicken itself.

Here are some quick bites in case you are lucky enough to visit.

I’ll start with breakfast: a fluffy buttermilk pancake bigger than a dinner plate, appropriately called a “Quarter Acre,” at Cameo Cafe.

Along with supersize portions of breakfast staples, owner Sue Gee Lehn offers some Korean fare. I only ate half of my Quarter Acre so I had enough room for some spicy kimchi hash, a mound of hash browns and fermented cabbage topped with two eggs and bacon or sausage.

For dinner one evening, we shared a load of carryout from a hot place called the Screen Door, which touts “Traditional Southern Cooking With NW Food Values.”

Everything made you want more, save the hush puppies appetizer, which was pretty ordinary (maybe because it had cooled quite a bit before we ate it). My faves included the Low Country shrimp and grits and the crispy buttermilk-battered chicken that was oh so moist and tender.

Near the Screen Door is an ice cream place dubbed Fifty Licks. Specializing in nontraditional flavors, it touts that it makes its base for its ice creams in house. We picked up some banana pudding ice cream (with vanilla wafers) for dessert. Later in the week, a friend bought some “Chocolate as #$%&” with housemade ganache for us to try. The name works, for me anyway.

Other highlights included an iceberg wedge salad from Podnah’s Pit Barbecue. Why am I mentioning a salad at a barbecue joint? Well, it was that good. Topped with bacon and croutons. No egg. No tomatoes. The secret is the killer rich homemade blue cheese dressing. I tried to emulate this salad for Easter, making my croutons with day-old Italian bread from DeVitis Italian Market. It was good, but I need some of that dressing!

I’ll stop right there. You’re probably full of Portland eats by now.

Taste of West Africa

“A Taste of West Africa” will be the last Local to Global dinner at Crown Point Center in Bath on April 26.

Aida Quattera, a native of Burkina Faso and an experienced cook and baker, will prepare the food and give a presentation. The dinner begins at 6 p.m.

While Quattera’s background is in psychology, she has followed her passion for cooking through pastry workshops and a home baking business, according to Ellen Otto, advancement coordinator for Crown Point, a farmstead offering sustainable agriculture programs. Quattera plans to share her homeland’s cuisine, using such ingredients as millet, plantains and manioc, a plant cultivated for its edible tuberous root, also called cassava.

Cost is $45, including wine. For reservations, go to www.crownpointecology.org or call 330-668-8992, ext. 106. Crown Point is at 3220 Ira Road and is a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Open on Sunday

Beginning April 22, Sweet Mary’s Bakery in downtown Akron will be open Sundays.

“Facts are facts, you want us open on Sundays and you shall have it!” owner Mary Hospodarsky says on the shop’s website, sweetmarysbakery.com. Sunday hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The full menu will be available, including quiche, biscuits and gravy, pie, pastries and cookies.

Sweet Mary’s arrived in late 2015, heralded as another bright spot in a downtown seeking to become more vibrant. The bakery is at 76 Mill St. in the Greystone building at Mill and High streets. Call 234-706-6088.

German dinner

An April 21 dinner at the German Family Society’s facility in Brimfield Township is called “Danube River Cruise.”

“We surely are stepping outside of the box this time around with the food choices,” said Sandy Clark of the society.

The menu features sauerbraten (German stew), semmelknodel (bread dumplings), bayrischekraut (shredded cabbage cooked in beef stock, with onion, apples and vinegar) and jaegerschnitzel (fried pork chops with gravy).

Doors open at 5:30 and dinner is at 6 p.m. The evening will include a casino table, scavenger hunt, games and dancing.

Reservations are required. Call 330-633-3949 or 330-335-8985. The German Family Society is at 3871 Ranfield Road in Brimfield.

Wine calendar

• The Kent Cheesemonger shop, 155 E. Erie St., Kent, will team up with Crafted Artisan Meadery of Suffield Township for an evening of meads — honey wine — and cheese from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Seating is limited; cost is $25. To register, go to www.kentcheesemonger.com.

• The Fishers Foods in Perry Township, outside Canton, is going local for its 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 13 wine tasting.

Taste 12 wines from three Ohio wineries — Maize Valley, Mon Ami and Raven’s Glenn — at the store at 4401 W. Tuscarawas St. Cupcakes, cheese, dips and crackers from Fishers deli and bakery will be available for noshing. Cost is $10.

• Wise Guys Lounge & Grill, 1008 N. Main St., Akron, will host a Napa valley Wine Tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. April 25. Seven wines with food pairings from Chef Dino Reed will be featured.

Cost is $60. For reservations, call 330-922-3006.

• Wines of Spain and Portugal will be offered from 7 to 9 p.m. April 27 at West Point Market, 33 Shiawassee Ave., Fairlawn.

Twenty wines from the Iberian Peninsula will be featured with appetizers, small plates, cheeses, breads and sweets. Cost is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. For reservations, go to www.westpointmarket.com or call 330-864-2151, ext. 129.

• Vaccaro’s Trattoria, 1000 Ghent Road, Bath, will host a Wallet Friendly Wines dinner, featuring five courses, each paired with a wine priced at $15 or under a bottle, at 6 p.m. April 19.

Cost is $55. For reservations, call 330-666-5158.

• Blue Canyon, 8960 Wilcox Drive, Twinsburg, will host a five-course Highway 12 Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m. April 26.

It will feature dishes created by Executive Chef and Partner Brandt Evans and prepared by Executive Chef Scott Coffman. The winery’s national sales director Marko Fiorito, Amy Arida of Cutting Edge Selections distributing and Amy Malachin of Blue Canyon will discuss the wines.

Cost is $60. Reservations are required. Call 330-486-2583.


• The Graduate Chef Dinner is Saturday, featuring food prepared by graduates of the University of Akron’s Hospitality Management Program.

Seven courses will be presented, each with a wine pairing, at the Crystal Room Bistro inside Gallucci Hall, 360 Grant St., on the UA campus. Cost is $50. Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Phone 330-972-6615 for more information and reservations, which are required. It will benefit the UA Culinary Artists Club, which focuses on students learning and competing in fruit, vegetable and ice sculpting.

• The inaugural Hudson Restaurant Week begins Monday and runs through April 13. The Leadership Hudson Class of 2017 created the event, with participating restaurants donating a portion of sales to the Hudson Food Pantry.

To see a list of participating eateries, go to the event’s Facebook page. Restaurants have created their own promotions; some will surprise diners with $50 gift cards.

• Tickets are still available for the Akron Zoo’s April 14 “A Wild Appetite” five-course dinner featuring dishes inspired by the diets of zoo animals.

Zoo spokesman Vince Jeffries said the dishes will be “a gourmet representation of what the animals would eat.” Each course also is designed to highlight efforts to protect various species.

Courses include clam chowder, “Power Greens” salad, beef short ribs and shanks, and tarts with blueberry yogurt in puff pastry shells.

The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $65 for members and $70 for nonmembers. Go to www.akronzoo.org/a-wild-appetite. Cost includes two drink vouchers good for beer, wine, soda or water. A cash bar will be available. For information, call 330-375-2550.

The zoo is at 500 Edgewood Ave. Enter from Euclid Avenue.

• The sixth annual Ramp Up Peninsula festival, a celebration of the wild leek, will be from noon to 5 p.m. April 28, in the village’s downtown. Vendors with ramp-centric dishes and others will set up along state Route 303, and there will be fresh ramps for sale, musicians and a wine and beer bar.

The event is sponsored by Peninsula Area Chamber of Commerce, explorepeninsula.com.

We’ll have information on vendors later on.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at www.facebook.com and read the Akron Dish blog at www.ohio.com/food.