As a child, Bonnie Morales (née Frumkin) watched her parents prepare elaborate, traditional dinner parties as members of her family emigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union. After picking up the newly-arrived family from the airport, they would come home to a table already covered in cold zakuski, or small dishes meant to be enjoyed with toasting and merrymaking. Pickles, Herring Under a Fur Coat, baltic sprats on pumpernickel, caviar, cod liver pashtet—the dishes were so perfectly arranged in tetris fashion across the mismatched tablecloths that it was difficult to stick a finger between two plates. Every chair in the house was drawn up to this table of abundance, and family would sit for hours, grazing and toasting and singing, before hot entrees were presented.
As Bonnie grew up and studied French cooking techniques at culinary school, she felt distanced from the Belarusian cuisine of her childhood. It wasn’t until she brought Israel Morales home to meet her family that she “began to see things anew through his eyes.” The traditions and stories behind the dishes began to unfold, and Bonnie and Israel fell in love with the food and each other. Their goal began to take shape: how could this cuisine and way of eating be brought to other people? As a professional chef, how could Bonnie reclaim the food of her family?
Kachka opened its doors in April of 2014 in Portland, Oregon. Kachka is considered by many to be the best Russian restaurant in the country, and is the only Portland restaurant to be included in America’s Essential Restaurants of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 by Eater, inducted into their restaurant “Hall of Fame.” Kachka was named one of GQ’s Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2015 and Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurant nominees in 2015, and was a semifinalist for 2015’s James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. In 2018, Kachka moved to a new, larger location in the Goat Blocks building on SE 11th Ave, and Kachinka was introduced to the original space. A cookbook of recipes, Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking by Bonnie Frumkin Morales with Deena Prichep, was released in November, 2017 from Flatiron Books to critical acclaim.
Lavka is an all-in-one deli and market featuring imported pantry items, house-made goods such as charcuterie and breads, Eastern European wines, and so much more! Open 9-6 daily.
Kachka Alfresca is a Soviet-inspired open air concept with patio seating located in the upper level parking lot behind the restaurant. The menu is inspired by Chef Bonnie Morales’ upbringing in Chicago in the 90s, and the American food of the era that she craves for comfort. Closed for the Season as of 10/12/2020.