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Portland food truck turns bricks-and-mortar


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Clay Norris and Jenna Friedman outside their soon-to open Middle Eastern restaurant Baharat.

For two and a half years CN Shawarma roamed the streets of Portland dispensing delicious falafel in its wake. Come late fall, the Middle Eastern food truck hits the brakes and goes inside.

Enter Baharat, the newest addition to East Bayside. This soon-to-open full service restaurant will specialize in food from Lebanon, Jordan and North Africa. Filled with curb appeal, the gleaming new space anchors the ground floor of rental complex 89 Anderson, which opened in October at the base of Fox Street.

Husband and wife team Clay Norris and Jenna Friedman are selling their cobalt blue food truck (a fixture at breweries) trading 60 square feet for 1,452. “We are proud of the truck, it got us here,” said Norris, on a tour of the sun-filled space accented with garage doors.

The couple, both Bath natives, have strong culinary backgrounds. He studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York and grew up in a restaurant family. She worked at Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland. Living in Montreal and New York, they developed a taste for Middle Eastern cuisine and share a love of this tasty, comforting, unfussy food featuring grilled meats, hummus and roasted vegetables.


The couple inside their sunny space with three garage doors.

When Baharat, which means spice, opens in early December, guests can expect a zinc bar, cobalt blue decorative touches, a large char-grill, a community table and enough mezze sharable plates to satisfy all cravings. Everything will be grilled, from local lamb, poultry and fish for kebabs to butternut squash for tahini dipping sauces, to citrus for infused cocktails (that’s right).

“The menu will be user friendly, built to mix and match,” said Norris, who is hiring a slew of food truck operators to help out in the kitchen.


Developer Jonathan Culley of Redfern Properties, who operates the complex, was looking for a food purveyor “compatible with the neighborhood, offering affordable food.”

How affordable? All menu items clock in between $8 and $14. Baharat will be open for lunch and dinner.

Final note food truck fans, CN Shawarma’s last day is Oct. 22 at Bissell Brothers tasting room on Thompson’s Point. After that the rig is up for sale!!


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