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Kayla Pasko Kayla Pasko

Portland’s Vegetarian Jewish Deli Ben & Esther’s to Open Two New Locations

Portland’s popular Jewish deli will soon be serving plant-based lox, knishes, and Reubens at two new locations!

Ben & Esther’s is expanding the vegetarian Jewish deli scene with the opening of two new locations—NE Alberta St in Portland, followed by a location in San Diego. Opened in 2019 in the Roseway neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, the deli originally served meat up until last year, when the owner, Justin King, decided to transition the shop to serving fully vegetarian items. Now, he’s taking his vegetarian Jewish deli one step further by working toward a fully vegan concept by the end of November.

King named the deli after his grandparents, and aims to make plant-based Jewish food more accessible with the expansion.

Ben & Esther’s to Go Vegan

While Ben & Esther’s is still in the process of transitioning to a fully vegan deli (the deli is 90% vegan as some products still contain honey, egg, and dairy), the deli has been getting creative by swapping salt-roasted carrots for lox, brined-and-smoked hearts of palm for whitefish, and Earth Balance instead of butter in their pastries. The gradual switch has been a success, especially with the vegan community of Portland. Ben & Esther’s plans to be 100% vegan by the end of November.

Traditional Jewish Pastries

The menu features Jewish deli staples, including Not-Lox (house vegan lox, cream cheese, tomato, onion, capers, and dill on a bagel), the Reuben (corned “beef,” Swiss, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on marble rye), and the “Egg & Cheese” with vegan bacon on a bagel. In addition, Ben & Esther’s offers a variety of salads and sides, like vegan knishes, vegan whitefish salad, vegan matzo ball soup, potato latkes, and vegan dolmas. Guests with a sweet tooth can enjoy traditional Jewish pastries such as black & white cookies, babka, halvah, and more.

Portland’s new Ben & Esther’s location will be housed inside the former Random Order Pie Bar at 1800 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211. The San Diego deli will be located at 6663 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115. Both locations are set to open this November.

For all of the latest details, visit BenAndEsthers.com.

Photo credit: @eatinginpdx on Instagram

Kayla Pasko

@kaylapasko

Kayla, a Midwest girl living in NYC, is a writer with a background in media sales. When she’s not scoping out trendy vegan spots, she’s usually taking a yoga class, shopping at Trader Joe’s, or catching a Packers game.

Articles by Kayla

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