An adventurous culinary hub on Northeast Broadway, The Nightwood Society is an event space and dining hall where one-of-a-kind experiences are created around food. The seating is upholstered in blush velvet, the chandelier is made of flowers and a powerhouse collective of women brings each event to life.
A Women-Run Collective
Opened in October 2017, The Nightwood is the brainchild of creative consultant Michelle Battista. Wanting to create a physical space for her dual passions of food and design, she started reaching out to likeminded people. “At first it was about, ‘How do I want my life to look?’” she says. “And then I realized I want to be surrounded by women.”
That impulse led to the assemblage of a tribe of female designers, food makers, artists, farmers and other creatives, each contributing their skills in unique ways. Along with Battista (who also owns a creative agency), the day-to-day team includes co-owner and proprietress Kati Reardon, Let Um Eat co-founder Leah Scafe and former Renata chef Sarah Schneider. The full collective is composed of a dozen core members.
As Battista notes, the food industry has often lacked leadership opportunities for women. The Nightwood seeks to change that by serving as a creative incubator for women and providing support for their ideas to flourish. “We’re creating a space for women to grow, learn and develop,” Battista says. “There are all of these new ways to work in food and love food. We can be a new vehicle to feed people. We can be this change that we want to see.”
Events & Classes at The Nightwood
For guests, The Nightwood’s offerings fall into two categories: experience and education. On the experience side, the 3,000-square-foot (280 sq m) venue hosts public and private events, including dinners, pop-up markets and afternoon tea parties. Its first season featured beer-and-seafood event “The Feast of Seven Fishes” with Migration Brewing; fundraiser “PDX Feeds Puerto Rico,” starring Puerto Rican chefs and baristas; a holiday market showcasing the wares of women makers; and the inaugural “Farm 2 Turntable,” a dinner-turned-dance party with beats by DJ Sanju.
At the heart of The Nightwood’s approach is collaboration: Guest chefs and makers can let their visions shine. “We don’t want to impose rigid rules on collaborators,” says Battista. “This is a space where people can come and explore their own creativity.”
Portland is a hub for artists, entrepreneurs and creators alike, with community studios, warehouses and makerspaces that let you DIY your way around town.
Galleries, public art, events and avant-garde institutions fill Portland’s vibrant arts scene.
Portland is surrounded by fertile farmland and local chefs make the most of the bounty, often letting the week’s farmers’ market hauls dictate their menus.
Camas Davis, founder of the Portland Meat Collective, curates The Nightwood’s evolving series of culinary classes. Instruction in whole-animal butchery is on the roster, as are sessions on fermentation, preservation and inventive ways to use a single ingredient. (Can it be pickled? Can it be confit-ed?)
Though both Davis and Schneider are butchers, the venue is primarily vegetable-focused. Davis, whose culinary ethos was influenced through studying the art of butchery and charcuterie in southwest France, says, “My goal is getting people to rethink the role of meat in their everyday lives, eat better meat, eat less of it and use it as an accent.”
It’s a notion that ties in with The Nightwood’s mission to shake up the status quo. “Why is meat always masculine and vegetables feminine?” muses Battista. “We want to change that perception. When we do meat it’s an accompaniment. It’s beauty on top. The way things are presented — that’s where the magic is.”
The Future of The Nightwood Society
Part of the organization’s focus on vegetables stems from its goal to partner with female food suppliers like Vibrant Valley Farm. Located on Sauvie Island, the farm was founded by Kara Marie Gilbert and Elaine Elizabeth Walker and provides most of The Nightwood’s vegetables and flowers, as well as a peaceful reprieve for the collective’s members. The collaboration also produces other projects: indigo grown on the farm will be used for dyeing aprons, and a “floral tornado” installation is in the works. (And yes, there are plans to offer floral and maker classes at The Nightwood as well.)
With so many different skill sets at play, The Nightwood is able to continually transform, with no real limits on what takes place there. (The collective also curates off-site events.) Installations and artwork by visual artist Jess Ford and floral designs by Rosemary Stafford rotate seasonally. In summer, the patio opens, offering a verdant space Battista envisions becoming “like a greenhouse.”
While The Nightwood’s internal community is made up of women, the external community, Battista emphasizes, is for everyone. “There have been so many people cheering us on every step of the way,” she says. “They can’t wait to keep experiencing these different events because they are all unique. Everyone’s excited to see what happens next.”
To learn more about upcoming events and classes, visit thenightwoodsociety.com.
Fantastic Feminist Businesses in Portland
You may have heard about Portland’s feminist bookstore, but what about the city’s tomboy boutique, female-focused bicycle shop or radical nail salon?
Future Prairie: A Collective of Women and Queer Artists
Portland’s Future Prairie is a collective of women and queer artists that presents chautauqua-inspired live shows, as well as a podcast.
Meet Queer Indigenous Musician, Black Belt Eagle Scout
Portland artist Katherine Paul draws inspiration from the riot grrrl movement, Nirvana and her Swinomish roots.
Meet the Woman Behind Portland’s She Shreds Magazine
Fabi Reyna's She Shreds is shaking up the music industry as the world’s only magazine dedicated to women guitarists and bassists.
All Jane Comedy Festival
Portland's five-day comedy festival showcases nearly 50 female comedians each October.
POW Film Fest
Every March, POW Film Fest returns to showcase films by female and non-binary directors from the Portland area.
Woman-Run Distilleries in Portland
Discover Portland’s best woman-made spirits and bitters, one sip at a time.
Open every Saturday from March–December, Portland Saturday Market is the largest arts-and-crafts fair in the U.S.
The Portland Flea + Food is a monthly market held on the last Sunday of the month in Portland, Oregon. Every market features 80+ local artists, makers, and curators of the best vintage, handmade and locally-sourced goods in town.
Midsummer continues to be a fun, family friendly and important day with centuries-old traditions and everyone is invited! Enjoy delicious Nordic cuisine, try traditional beverages and scrumptious sweets. Spend the day making your own colorful flower crown and other crafts. Play Kubb and other fun games, take a break in the beer garden before dancing…
The Portland Night Market showcases many unique businesses that call Portland home. Blending food, culture, music, drinks and retail together for an adventurous evening in the Central Eastside. Come meet some of Portland’s best makers and creators! The Portland Night Market is a bimonthly, free event and open to all ages. See the latest health…
The 2021 festival is taking place virtually. Please visit the event website for current information. The Bloody Mary Festival scours Portland for the craftiest and most delicious Bloody Marys. Your ticket includes over two hours enjoying Portland’s most creative and innovative Bloody Marys, created by the finest restaurants, bars and bottled mix companies, along with…
Note: This festival is taking place virtually in 2021. The Good in the Neighborhood Multicultural Music & Food Festival features live music, a parade, an information Village, marketplace, beer and wine garden and a youth venue, along with a kids’ space. The mission of Good in the Hood is to promote the cultural aspects of…
Each June, do good while sipping delicious drinks during Portland’s Negroni Week, when proceeds benefit dozens of charities.
What soothes your soul more? A stand-up bass improvisation backed by brushes on the snare? How about a glass of small-batch Oregon Pinot noir? Oh wait, how about BOTH? Join Portland’s Single Malt Trio at Willful Wine Co.’s urban winery to enjoy a night of jazz, wine, and socially distanced socializing.
Ever wonder what it takes to make your own wine? Just a set of tastebuds, an eagerness to experiment, and a few different barrels of pre-made wine. The head winemaker of Willful Wine Co. (an urban winery right in Portland), Pam Walden, will guide you in the world of wine blending. With 6 Pinot noir…
America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you feast on a fantastic dinner. Just beware! The criminal is lurking somewhere in the room, and you may find yourself as a Prime Suspect before…
The Sauvie Island Farmers Market is back! Please join local farmers and makers on Sunday, June 13th from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Come support local farmers and makers! Please visit the Sauvie Island Farmers Market’s Facebook page for full schedule and safety guidelines.
Lents International Farmers Market opens on Sunday, June 2, 2019 and is open every Sunday through November 24, 2019. The Lents International Farmers Market (LIFM) is the only one in Portland with an intentional international focus. LIFM provides fresh, affordable and culturally appropriate produce to the diverse community of Lents neighbors. Founded in 2006 by…
Was this page helpful?