The new owners of White Pepper recently revived the popular neighborhood dining scene. For the past several years, the catering company and event space at 7505 NE Glisan Street has remained closed to incoming customers. His thriving business instead of focusing on cooking for weddings and hosting baby showers, keeps a crew of 22 food service staff busy during peak summer. However, feeling the need to connect with the environment and wanting to reignite the tradition started by the previous owner, Abel Ley decided to bring Burger Thursdays back to his business.
Lada Bodas will be offering Thursday Burgers until March, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the potential for other special events scattered in between. The menu includes their Classic Burger, which is a smash burger with a double bun and double cheese, topped with onions, lettuce, tomato, and mustard. The staff created the Signature White Pepper Burger to enhance the main dish. “That we like a little bit. We do a little bit of feta aioli there, some slices of grilled pork belly, and grilled tomatoes… to bring it all together,” explained Ley. The menu also contains salads, appetizers, and alliterative to the beef burger. “We has a really good fried chicken sandwich with homemade summer squash pickles and white Alabama BBQ sauce,” Ley said. Diners can pair their burgers with house-cut fries and a variety of drinks. White Pepper has a full bar and sometimes collaborates with local businesses. not like Threshold Brewing & Blending.
In 2010, Abel Ley began his career in Arizona, completing Culinary school and working throughout the food service industry. After rising through the ranks to executive sous chef at a high-end hotel, he continued to crave a more creative environment and a balanced work life. After the arrival of the second child, Ley and his wife decided to move the family to Portland, arriving in October 2020. In an interesting turn of fate, Ley was interviewed for a position at White Pepper but declined the job offer, instead of pursuing another opportunity. . When the catering company became available for purchase a few years later, he felt it was a business he could put his creative energy into. “White Pepper as a company has been around for eight years. I took over in April,” explained Ley. “It was this space that really attracted me to White Pepper as a business in itself. I thought there was a lot of potential with being able to connect with the environment, and it was right here in the corner, very visible. The idea that I can create all kinds of concepts or restaurants do pop-ups and have some fun during the offseason, that’s really exciting to me.
White Pepper seats 25 to 30 people at a time. Staff served over 40 people during the inaugural Burger Thursday last week. Many guests had previously attended the weekly event before the pandemic and were excited to see it return. Although walk-in food service is fun for Lada Bodas staff, Ley explained that catering will always be core to their operation. “Our bread and butter is our summer wedding, and that’s basically what we focus on.” Those events, along with other catering jobs, feature foods that highlight seasonal ingredients in the Northwest. However, their smoked fish offering is what they know best. “One of our main sellers is the Pacific Northwest salmon that we smoke on cedar boards, and we put a little parsley pesto on top. It’s a very simple, lightly smoked fish, and I think it’s a perfect example of what we do here,” said Ley.
Burger Thursdays is a fun, community-focused project where the White Pepper culinary team can break out of their catering menu. As the night becomes darker and colder, people have new dining options in warm and vibrant spaces along NE Glisan Street. Be sure to visit them some Thursday evenings or book the restaurant for a private gathering if burgers aren’t your thing.