Restaurant destroyed by fire makes a huge comeback

Restaurant destroyed by fire makes a huge comeback

PORTLAND, Ore. - It's a comeback story the entire Portland restaurant community can be proud of - this week Aviary was named 'Restaurant of the Year' in Willamette Week's annual restaurant guide.

The award comes just a year and a half after a fire, started by a firework, gutted the local restaurant at 1733 N.E. Alberta Street.

"It was hard to not just sit down and cry somewhere," said co-owner Sarah Pliner. "I thought we had lost it. I thought we would never come back."

She and her co-owner did not know many other restaurant owners in Portland. They had been working in New York for years and had no idea that the community was about to rally to help them out.

One restaurant after another, from all over Portland, made donations and did fundraising to help Aviary's owners get back on their feet. And they moved fast - just five months later, the restaurant reopened.

"It sounds cheesy, but the whole experience of our lives is a little better for being part of a community that we appreciate and that appreciates us," Pliner said.