For Seahawks fans, Marshawn Lynch is an icon. Known as Beast Mode, Lynch is unstoppable when running down the field, blasting through defensive lines like a tank. He has trademarked and banked off of his nickname with his lifestyle brand Beast Mode complete with T-shirts and beer koozies. So when Lynch decided to pursue a Portland restaurant business, he may have thought, “Hey, people call me Beast Mode; let me lean into it.”
Lynch is planning on opening a new Hawaiian restaurant with Jun Park of Pacific Northwestern sushi chain Musashi Sushi and Kevin Yamada of local chainlet Kama’aina Comfort Foods of Hawaii. The restaurant will open in the new Hotel Vance on SW Broadway, with recipes developed or inspired by Lynch’s Filipino grandmother, Lola. The restaurant’s name? Beast, a nod to his reputation, persona, and brand.
However, as Portlanders know, there’s already a Beast in town — or at least, there was. Beast, the legendary Killingsworth restaurant owned by James Beard Award-winning chef Naomi Pomeroy, went on hiatus at the beginning of the pandemic, eventually closing permanently in that space — the former Beast has become Pomeroy’s new market, Ripe Cooperative. But Pomeroy is still holding out hope to reopen her restaurant in a new locale. So, imagine her surprise when news broke that Lynch’s new Hawaiian restaurant, with the same name, would be landing on SW Broadway this fall.
“It was dismaying this morning to learn that a trio of owners intend to open a restaurant called Beast in downtown Portland,” Pomeroy writes in an official statement. “We opened our restaurant Beast in Northeast Portland in 2007… we have always been transparent about our intention to reopen Beast in a new space when feasible. The Beast brand remains a great source of pride, for both me and the City of Portland, as we worked for 13 years to build and nurture it, both locally and nationally.”
Pomeroy says she has reached out to the ownership team of the new Beast, hoping for them to rename the restaurant before it opens; she says she has yet to hear from them.
Eater Portland has reached out to the partners and publicity team at the new Beast, also referred to as Beast by Marshawn Lynch & Kama’aina; Yamada chose not to divulge any new details about the restaurant, saying the team has a “few kinks to work out.” If the Beast team does decide to change the name, Twitter user @CityofThorns has a fun suggestion: Beast a la Mode. Stay tuned for updates on the Battle of Two Beasts.