I visited the new upstairs of the Public Market House last week. So far, vendors are: Peanut Butter Jelly Time (namesake; set to serve countless variations of everyone's favorite sandwich, plus cereal); Pie in the Sky Pizza (Tuscan-style pizza made by the same people who own Big Sky Bread); and Market House Coffee (serving Rock City coffee, hooray, plus Tony's Donuts and baked goods from Two Fat Cats and Standard Baking Co.). Kris Horton, president of Market Vendors -- the group that runs the market and the community kitchen in the basement -- says that they're still looking for a few more vendors upstairs, and that a pair of soup-makers might move in.
The wide-open space -- which also has room to accomodate crafty day vendors ($25/day) -- is bright and cheery, with a capacity of about 50-60 people. Chairs and tables look out over Monument Square, making it a prime people-watching location (and the yet-to-be-completed glass elevator, also overlooking the square, will only heighten the experience).
"All of a sudden I'm beginning to feel this is really what I hoped it would be," Horton says of the endeavor, which she sees not just as a public market for fresh foods and produce, but also as an "incubator for businesses."
For example, Horton and the other Market Vendors members (Martha Elkus, of Big Sky, and Bill Milliken and Andrew Braceras, of Maine Beer and Beverage Co.) have been approached by someone who wants to produce local kombucha in the downstairs community kitchen; an Iraqi baker who speaks little English toils away in the kitchen during the night, making traditional breads that he sells locally. By encouraging these projects, Horton says she feels like she is "part of something that helps Portland."
And our taste buds benefit. Can't wait to try the PB&J.