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Exclusive: Easy Company To Close and Become Big Trouble

Thursday, September 25, 2014

 

Easy Company

The front window of Easy Company

Old Town cocktail bar Easy Company will close Oct. 11 and reopen four days later as Big Trouble. 

Ryan Margarian and his business partner, Kurt Huffman, have decided to shutter the six-month-old Chinatown cocktail bar Easy Company. 

The beer and cocktail bar is from two members of the killer team that brought Portland Oven & Shaker: Ryan Magarian and ChefStable's Kurt Huffman.

Easy Company is located at 329 NW Couch Street in Old Town/Chinatown. It was here that Ryan created an incredible cocktail list (he calls it the "best of his best") and served bites from Lardo's commissary kitchen, located just next door in the space that once was home to Andy Ricker's Ping.

When it opened in April it was sure to be one of the hottest and hardest-to-get-into bars in town and is a wonderful oasis of great drinks and great design in a neighborhood that needs a few less d-bags and a lot more bars like this one. 

So why is it closing? 

GoLocalPDX had a chance to talk to both of the men behind the endeavor.

"I grew up in this town," said Magarian, who has worked in the bar and cocktail business for almost two decades. "Having grown up here I knew this area [Old Town/Chinatown] was a worthwhile destination. But on the weekends it seems to devolve into a 'zone of personal misuse.' "

For Ryan, the space was seductive: "We had an inexpensive lease, access to Lardo's kitchen and some of the best work I've ever done behind the bar.

"I put my heart and soul into this."

After opening it only six months ago, Ryan said it wasn't so much a tale of going down fast, but more the fact that it didn't move up in terms of sales as fast they had hoped. But Margarian says this isn't the last you will see of Easy Company. His hope is to move the project to another more conducive space sometime in the future.

For now, though, he hopes Easy Company regulars and anyone who would like to experience this will make it down before Oct. 11. After Easy Company closes, Ryan looks forward to a short break, working on existing projects and developing new concepts for the future. 

As for Huffman, he and ChefStable will continue to support the neighborhood. Four days after the closure of Easy Company, Huffman says, the bar will reopen under the new name of Big Trouble (likely a reference to the '80s Kurt Russell flick "Big Trouble in Little China"). 

"Chinatown is a tough neighborhhood," says Huffman. "We knew that going in. I knew Easy Company would be a risk. I also knew that Ryan would elevate the quality available in the area.

"But we were in a situation where we were just breaking even. It was demoralizing." 

That said, Huffman, who celebrated his sixth anniversary leading ChefStable just this week, said he is committed to the neighborhood.

"I am confident we will have hit on something that will do great down here."

 

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