Image: Alan Weiner
Ken Forkish steps up to the plate.
In what could be the first great mash-up of 2013, Portland will soon host America’s first “bakery tavern” courtesy of a French bread mad man and croissant obsessive. Ken Forkish (Ken’s Artisan Bakery, Ken’s Artisan Pizza) plans to open a third project this summer: Trifecta Tavern & Bakery. On Monday, Forkish leased 5,000 square feet at 726 SE 6th Ave, formerly Spike’s Auto Upholstery, behind the original Bunk Sandwiches and a couple doors away from Robo Taco and Lady Luck tattoos.  It’s a new world indeed for one of the country’s premier artisan bakers.
 
The multi-use space will house a small baker’s laboratory turning out exclusive small-batch breads, pastries, and croissant experiments for in-house retail and the tavern only. Trifecta Bakery will also feed ideas to a warm, wood-clad dininghall and lounge serving what Forkish calls a “where our inspiration strikes” menu of seafood-shack snacks, farm fresh produce creativity, steak love, and French-fry geekery. Also in the mix-and-match formula: classic cocktails and a wine list drawn heavily from his personal collection of Oregon pinots and Italian brunellos, barbarescos, and barolos.
 
Naturally, bread will be everywhere—buckets of steamers with grilled bread coming off the wood fire, burgers on just-made buns. “A lot of my creativity is in the moment,” says Forkish. “We’ll have a gas grill, a wood oven, deep fryers. Whatever we need to give us flexibility to make the food we’re craving.”
Image: Ken Forkish
The future home of Trifecta Tavern & Bakery
Expect the kind of cozy interior that makes Ken’s Artisan Pizza one of Portland’s iconic spaces. Forkish calls Trifecta Tavern & Bakery “a big-city tavern, but Portland-style. Convivial, relaxed, everyone’s a regular.”

Forkish has hired a dining room chef, but he isn’t talking yet. Trifecta Bakery will be his own private workshop, a place to push his craft away from the duties of running two businesses. Far from his middle-of-the-night experiments at Ken’s Artisan Bakery in 2001, Forkish’s new breads will mostly bake in the afternoons and evenings for table service and retail. As he puts it: “Trifecta is my atelier, a chance to bake and play without getting up at one in the morning. I've been dreaming of that for a very long time.”