This spring, Snow Peak, the Japanese outdoor lifestyle brand, will celebrate 20 years of growth in Portland with the opening of a new North American retail flagship and headquarters in the heart of bustling N.W. 23rd street. Snow Peak has evolved from a modern mountaineering company to an outdoor lifestyle brand, seeking to bring people together around the fire for connection, food and drink. The new retail experience embraces this concept with its forthcoming restaurant, Takibi, a partnership with Submarine Hospitality and globally renowned bar operator and cocktail icon, Jim Meehan.
“Takibi” is Japanese for bonfire, and everything about the restaurant is built to evoke the feeling of gathering around the fire, forming bonds over a shared meal. The restaurant will serve Japanese-inspired cuisine by way of the Pacific Northwest, centered around seasonal cooking on the binchotan and wood-burning hearth. Snow Peak approached Submarine Hospitality (Ava Gene’s, Tusk) to partner on the restaurant, in part because the company’s hyper-local, seasonal ingredient sourcing mirrors the philosophy behind some of the best food in Japan. Submarine recruited Alex Kim from Kyoto to lead the kitchen as executive chef, bringing with him ten years of cooking Japanese food in the U.S. (Kajitsu, Rintaro) and Japan (Kikunoi Honten, Kappo Sakamoto), many boasting Michelin stars, as well as experience working on vegetable and seaweed farms.
“Snow Peak came to us with an idea to help create a ‘mountain izakaya,’ says Submarine Hospitality Founding Partner Luke Dirks. “We love their focus on the outdoors as more than a place to escape other people, but also as something to experience with people. Both of our companies define success in similar ways: seeing people form and experience community around food and drink.”
Submarine Hospitality’s co-Founding Partner Joshua McFadden and Jim Meehan met years ago working in New York, and had been talking about opening a restaurant together ever since Meehan relocated to Portland five years ago. An enthusiastic outdoorsman and admirer of the Snow Peak brand, Meehan envisioned bringing his craftsmanship to the campsite, and the opportunity to open Takibi with Submarine and Snow Peak presented the ideal opportunity to do so. Having opened and run the James Beard Award-winning bar PDT in New York and a second branch in Hong Kong, this will be his first bar in Portland. Meehan has traveled to Japan seven times and intends the bar program to mirror the approach of the kitchen, with super-seasonal drinks that reflect the Pacific Northwest, enhanced by Japanese ingredients and tools.
“We believe that time spent gathering with others in nature is the antidote to the stresses of modern life,” says Matt Liddle, chief operating officer at Snow Peak USA “Food, drink and fire are the essential elements of an outdoor gathering, and a vast amount of Snow Peak's gear is for cooking and sharing incredible meals with others. Featuring a restaurant as an anchor of our new headquarters allows us to bring our mission to life in the middle of the city.”
Partnering with Portland’s Skylab Architecture, the new Snow Peak retail flagship will showcase the brand’s entire line of Japanese-designed, lifetime-guaranteed products for outdoor living. The design inspiration for the space is based on the concept of “dwelling outside.” Nature will be translated indoors, from the dark wood floors, reminiscent of stepping onto the forest floor, to lush live plants throughout the retail space. The restaurant will feature a bar, open kitchen and patio seating around fire pits. Architectural features such as traditional Japanese timber framing and century-old Douglas Fir beams reclaimed from a Portland-area warehouse will honor Snow Peak’s heritage in both Japan and Portland. The Snow Peak USA Flagship and Headquarters is located at 404 NW 23rd Ave. and will open, with Takibi, in late spring of 2020.
About Snow Peak: Snow Peak’s journey began in 1958, when its founder Yukio Yamai, an accomplished Japanese mountaineer, created his own line of superior gear out of the dissatisfaction with available products. Yamai‘s natural inspiration came from his life in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. A range of mountains that rise up to an altitude of 1000m form a wall on the boundary between Niigata and Gunma prefectures, and the rivers and streams born from the peaks and valleys flow out to the East Japan Sea. It is this place that inspired Yukio, and to this day continues to inspire all of the products that come from Snow Peak.
Today we strive to create products that inspire people to enjoy the outdoors, we seek harmony between people and nature, and we look to manufacturers with such high-quality standards that you may pass on your equipment to the next generation. This is where all of our designs are born. snowpeak.com
About Submarine Hospitality: Founded by Joshua McFadden and Luke Dirks, Submarine Hospitality connects diners to a community of local chefs, servers, farmers, ranchers, artists, and designers. The group’s motto—“Locally Sourced. Aggressively Seasonal”—speaks to the intent to promote both ethical food systems and optimal flavor. The group believes that true hospitality derives from a collection of details—from handcrafted ceramics to locally-grown celtuce, from custom candles to the customary greeting at the door. Each of Submarine’s projects exists to cultivate the creativity and knowledge our staff requires to realize these experiences of hospitality for every guest who walks through our doors. Current projects include Ava Gene’s, Tusk, Fora, Cicoria, and collaborations with the Hoxton, Portland (Tope, Lovely Rita and 2NW5).
About Jim Meehan: Jim Meehan, a bar operator, educator, and author of The PDT Cocktail Book and Meehan’s Bartender Manual worked at some of New York City’s most revered restaurants and bars including Gramercy Tavern and the Pegu Club before opening the James Beard Award winning bar PDT in 2007 and a second branch in Hong Kong a decade later. In 2014, Meehan moved his family and consulting firm Mixography Inc. to Portland, Oregon where he writes and develops cocktail menus for the American Express Centurion lounges nationwide. Mixographyinc.com