SOUTHEAST PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Residents of the Woodstock neighborhood in Southeast Portland are concerned a new vegan restaurant coming to town will eventually become a strip club.
“I’m never going to put a strip club there,” Johnny Zukle, the owner of the building, said Wednesday night. “We are going to have a delicious upscale vegan restaurant.”
Zukle is the new owner of what used to be The Hutch on Holgate. He told a group of residents he’s planning to open a vegan restaurant on the property, but neighbors aren’t buying it.
“Small vegan restaurants are not what they do,” Terry Griffiths told KOIN 6 News.
Zukle owns several strip clubs in town, including the new Casa Diablo on McLoughlin. But owners recently applied for an OLCC license, and it says nothing about nude dancing.
“His history as a business owner is that he started a vegan restaurant, a family friendly restaurant, and when that’s not possible it’ll change to having nude dancers present,” concerned neighbor Kristine Simpson said.
But Zukle said, that’ll never happen. He said the neighborhood is too residential for a strip club.
No strip club — but how about a pot shop? It’s part of the plan for the lower part of the building.
KOIN 6 News found out a marijuana dispensary would be legal on the property. But regardless of tonight’s meeting, people still doubt Zukle will keep his word.
“We didn’t even know there was a rumor mill going on until we got an e-mail from someone last night talking about this meeting,” Zukle said. “So we said, yeah, let’s come out here and talk to people and squash any fears they have.”