During his 12-year career, NFL running back Marshawn Lynch provoked fear in the hearts of opposing fans with his bruising “Beast Mode” style, bouncing off linemen and evading tackles on his way to several thunderous playoff runs, including at least one with its own Wikipedia page.
BEAST by Marshawn Lynch & Kama’aina, a partnership between Lynch and Kama’aina chef Kevin Yamada, is expected to open by October at downtown Portland’s Broadway Tower, according to a news release. The new restaurant will be a “Hawaiian cuisine and sports themed restaurant” and will take up 3,241 square feet at the northeast corner of Hotel Vance, a just-opened Marriott property with 180 rooms.
“BEAST is a great match for a city that is on the move like Portland, where style, quality, and community commitment matters,” Lynch says in the release. “We are looking forward to serving a BEAST menu that is second to none that matches Portland’s reputation for food, craft beverages, and hospitality.”
Many of BEAST’s dishes will draw inspiration from Lynch’s Filipina grandmother, who raised the potential Hall of Famer in Oakland’s cultural melting pot. Those will be executed by Yamada, a U.S. Army veteran and owner of Kama’aina Comfort Foods and Two Zone Korean Fried Chicken in the Portland area. Jun Park, the owner of Musashi Sushi locations in Seattle and Portland, a Lynch favorite, is also part of the project.
Lynch also lends his name to Beast Mode, a lifestyle brand with a flagship Oakland store.
Interestingly, the new Portland project could line Lynch up against a new opponent: Portland chef Naomi Pomeroy, whose own Beast restaurant was a Northeast Portland landmark for more than a decade. Though Pomeroy’s Beast closed at the start of the pandemic and has yet to reopen has yet to reopen, now operating as the market Ripe Cooperative, Pomeroy says she still holds the rights to the Beast name, and plans to reopen “when feasible,” possibly in a new location.
“It was dismaying this morning to learn that a trio of owners intend to open a restaurant called Beast in downtown Portland,” Pomeroy wrote in a statement to The Oregonian. “The Beast brand remains a great source of pride, both for me and for the City of Portland, as we worked for thirteen years to build and nurture it, both locally and nationally. We have reached out to the ownership team of this restaurant, as the obvious resolution to this unfortunate situation would be for them to use a different name for their concept.”