An Italian restaurant called Leeward (website, instagram) is under construction at 85 Free Street. The name is a nautical term that means “sheltered from the wind” and evokes the sense of hospitality the owners intend for the restaurant. Leeward has also been the name of the series of pop-up dinners the held by owners Jake and Raquel Stevens in 2018 and early 2019 where they have further developed the concept for their restaurant.
The Stevens are planning a 50+ seat restaurant with a full bar and wine program that’s focused on minimal intervention wines. Handmade pasta will be the primary focus of the menu but it will also include vegetable, meat and seafood based entrees. The Stevens hope to open Leeward before the end of the year.
Before moving to Portland the Stevens lived and worked in restaurants on the west coast. Jake Stevens was the former Chef de Cuisine at Beast in Portland, Oregon. He’s currently on staff at Eventide. Raquel has worked in the front of house in restaurants in Oregon and in LA, and is currently on staff at Drifters Wife. Raquel Stevens grew up in New England and its her connection to the region that initially prompted the move east two years ago.
If 85 Free Street rings a bell for you it may be because it was the original location of the Winter Farmers’ Market when it launched in 2010.