I sped by this sign on Powell boulevard, and couldn’t quite believe what I’d seen. A few days later I saw it again and strained to read the words correctly. “Husky or Maltese Whatever” ?????? What in the heck? A pet shop? A bizarre direct translation from Vietnamese or something? The next time I drove by I picked out the word “restaurant”. I’m further baffled by this. I can’t think of one reason in the whole world why someone would give this name to any shop, let alone a restaurant. Well I googled it, and found there are a whole lot of people who are similarly intrigued. AND I found out WHY it is called this!!
First, here are two links to others who couldn’t believe their eyes :
Now, for the story!
The restaurant got its name as the result of a miscommunication between the owner and her accountant and the instinct of the Vietnamese former inmate who painted the sign.
The reason it never seems to be open is because the owner, Limin Tian, who goes by the nickname Abby, only opens the eatery in the winter months. In the spring and summer, she makes more money selling crepes out of a trailer in the shadow of the Fox Tower downtown.
“Just like there’s different kinds of dogs, there’s different kinds of food,” she said, making her first crepe of the day recently at Snow White House on Southwest Ninth Avenue and Yamhill Street. “If you have good food, people all love it. Same with dogs.”
Tian signed a 15-year lease for a restaurant in the Powell Center strip mall at Southeast 36th Avenue and Powell Boulevard, not too far from where she lives, early last year. Trying to think of a name so her accountant could register it and file for a county health license, she mentioned how much she loved her dogs, Sparkler and Fluffy, and how nice it would be to include them in the name.
“Which one?” her accountant asked.
“The husky, Maltese, whatever,” she said.
He filed the papers.
So she planned to change the name on the sign. The artist she hired, Tom Nho of Portland Signs Studio, argued against that. Something about Nho Ñ his willingness to paint the sign by hand, his six years in a Vietnamese prison, something caught Tian’s attention.
“He gave me confidence,” she said. “I’m never going to change it.”