Lil’ Wares is a summer pop up that opened from June – August just across the street from Smallwares at Northeast 45th and Fremont. It was just filling in the time between the old Red Fig cafe and when the developer who purchased this small restaurant with its patio (seriously the patio is bigger than the inside of the little house/restaurant) is going to do something with this space. That means the last days of Lil’ Wares are approaching in less than a week as it closes on August 31.
Seriously a great patio, with plenty of shade.
If you haven’t been on a weekday (on weekends they serve the Smallwares brunch), you may not have known they have a special fun Asian-influenced but definitely not Asian (I think it’s best described as a mash up of Asian and American comfort) menu. According to Eater some of the menu items may appear on the Smallwares menu eventually, but since you don’t know what that will be, maybe you should squeeze in a visit now!
Lunch at Lil Wares extended their Portland Burger Week burger, the Sleaze Burger, composed of a ground pork and chinese sausage patty with peanut sauce, cabbage slaw, fish sauce, tomato and pickles on a sesame bun… though it’s no longer at the special $5 price that was for that week (it was a secret that you could get the Portland Burger Week burger at Lil’ Wares from 11-3 to avoid the madness of everyone getting it in the evening at Smallwares!).
Other meaty options include a Mu Shu Burrito with pork sausage, woodear mushrooms, egg, cabbage, charred scallion ginger salsa, black bean hoisin sauce and rice, or a General Tso Sandwich with fried chicken, broccoli slaw, charred thai chilies and fried shallots. I hope to have a chance to try a few other menu items I have missed before the end- like a Grilled Stuffed Avocado with chili sesame dressing, fried egg, red onion, toast, nori jam, and optional add on of bay shrimp, or the Chop Chae Noodles with shiso pesto, pine nuts, pickled shitakes, sweet potato noodles, salted black beans, and optional add in of dungeness crab.
My favorite item on the menu is the Poware Bowl with lentils, cilantro mint cashew sauce, black tea peach chutney, beets and paneer. One of the best vegetarian bowls I’ve ever had! The burger paled compared to flavors this bowl- isn’t that saying something?
Drinks available include a Kimchi Bloody Mary with vodka, spicy kimchi base, veggie skewer of brussel sprout, shitake and beet plus an oyster add on
Or try the Sake Citrus Soda with sake, lemon, ginger, and soda muddled with herbs, or the Vodka Slush with vodka, strawberry, lime, salt and pink peppercorn. Both are perfect for outdoor patio sipping and relaxing.
August 31 is quickly approaching, so hurry on over and visit now while they are still there!