The offerings at Piccone’s Corner in Northeast Portland focus on local, sustainable meats and produce.
Piccone’s Corner is an Italian by way of the Pacific Northwest butchery and (as of press time) to-go restaurant. The butcher shop puts an emphasis on sustainable meat from their own hybrid heritage pigs at Wallow and Root Pasture Farm and other local farms. It’s also an Italian-inspired salumeria producing guanciale, spicy coppa, finocchio and more.
Piccone’s Corner had been open for about a month when I ordered dinner for pick up through their website. I placed it around 4:20 pm with a pickup time of 5:03 pm. When I walked up a few minutes after my scheduled time, I was told my order wasn’t quite ready because the roast chicken needed a little more time. The person I spoke with helpfully offered to bring it out to my car. I ended up waiting about 30 minutes more. It all smelled great as I drove home.
The menu was a little bit of a stretch for my kids, who can be reluctant to try new things. I ordered the pork-stuffed arancini ($9) and fritto misto ( $11) with them in mind. The fried risotto balls proved too unknown for either kid, but my 6-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter killed the battered, fried broccoli and onions in the fritto misto. I asked for the spicy Calabrian honey on the side, but I flicked it on my own bites; it made the fried veggies sing. (I had overlooked the meatballs on the menu, which would have been more familiar to them.)
My husband tried the roast chicken ($24). It had a delicious smoky and spicy skin, but unfortunately had the texture of being brined a little too long and cooked a little too long. Still my 6-year-old liked it even if my husband didn’t. My husband did praise the side of roasted potatoes and root vegetables in a lemony gravy. I tried the baked mushroom ziti with crispy shallots ($18). The rich and spicy pasta was packed with wild mushrooms. The portion was so huge and filling that I ended up eating over three meals. I also ordered the Seeds and Stems salad ($13), which can best be described as weird, but really good. It was a satisfying combination of toothy wheat berries, creamy roasted winter squash, salty ricotta salata, sunchokes, crunchy hazelnuts, and sweet dried blueberries. And even my kids were impressed by the presentation that managed to be ultra pretty — even in a takeout box. Several days later, I was still thinking about this salad. In normal times, I’d probably try to recreate it myself, but I don’t have the bandwidth for that these days. I’d probably just make a point to order it again. Pro tip: Everything was pretty spicy, with the exception of salad. If mild is your jam, be sure to let the restaurant know in the order comments.
So Piccone’s Corner got a few dings for a late order and slightly overcooked chicken, but also had some hits. I think it will be worth visiting again after the kinks have been worked out. And I am definitely interested in checking out their butcher shop and salumi.
Piccone’s Corner: 3434 NE Sandy Blvd., picconescorner.com. Restaurant delivery and pickup available Tuesday-Sunday: noon-8 pm.