Po’ Boys & Pickles, the quirky New Orleans-style sandwich shop at 1124 Forest Ave., has been sold to Portland resident Christopher Bettera.

The sale is noteworthy because the restaurant has been an oasis of good, fresh food in a desert of fast-food joints along that stretch of Forest Avenue. Bettera promises fans of the restaurant’s po’ boys and Louisiana gumbo that he’s a fan, too, and he’s not planning changes to the menu. The staff cooking the food remains the same as well.

“To be honest, our customers really shouldn’t see any major differences at all,” he said.

The taps had been temporarily turned off during the change of ownership, but Bettera got his liquor license Tuesday, and they are flowing again.

Bettera has never visited New Orleans, but plans to travel to the Big Easy in January for inspiration. He comes from a restaurant family. His grandfather had five restaurants in greater Hartford, Connecticut, and his parents founded La Trattoria, a restaurant in Canton, Connecticut, 45 years ago. Berreta says he worked all aspects of the family business at La Trattoria, which is now being run by his younger brother, and has worked as a line cook at a seafood restaurant as well. In Portland, he worked as a prep cook at Bonobo’s, a wood-fired pizza restaurant in the West End.

Peter Zinn, who opened Po’ Boys & Pickles in 2009, said it was time to sell the restaurant so he could concentrate on expanding his cookie business, Choomi. The original Choomi, a chewy coconut macaroon called Desert Island Coconut, became so popular at the restaurant that they often sold out before lunch. Zinn added a second flavor, Rainforest Coconut, made with banana, chocolate and almonds, and now has plans for two more.

Zinn said that in his final days at Po’ Boys & Pickles, visits from longtime customers made selling the restaurant a bittersweet experience. One 5-year-old who has been coming to the restaurant since before he was born gave him a thank you card, Zinn said.


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