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March 24, 2023

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Bless Your Heart Burgers to open at The Mill in Vancouver

December opening set for Portland-based family-friendly eatery

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At the end of the pandemic, as workers who formerly frequented restaurants in city centers continued to work at home, urban-based restaurants began to reconsider the suburbs as a place to open.

In the Portland area, Beaverton, Ore., became the spot where Portland businesses like Top Burmese, The Sudra, and Salt & Straw and notable chains like Shake Shack and Dave’s Hot Chicken opened their suburban outposts.

Vancouver has begun to catch up by drawing some Portland restaurants. The Waterfront Vancouver was the site of the first two spots, but recently a less glitzy part of the city has drawn one of these businesses.

After some pandemic-related delays, Grassa, known for fresh pasta coated in bold sauces, opened an airy space with views of the Columbia River on Aug. 10.

Sesame Collective, owners of Shalom Y’all, Lil’ Shalom, Mediterranean Exploration Co. and Dolly Olive, will open a Bless Your Heart Burgers the weekend of Dec. 16 at The Mill, 7950 E. Mill Plain Blvd., in a spot that formerly was part of the parking lot. This is the restaurant group’s first business outside of Portland.

According to co-founder and co-owner Jamal Hassan, Sesame Collective was looking to expand Bless Your Heart Burgers. It seemed like the most obvious concept to take outside of Portland city limits because everybody likes a good burger. In addition, BYHB is a family-friendly business.

Travis Henry of Henry Point Development showed Hassan the spot at The Mill. At the time it was just a clump of dirt in a parking lot, but Hassan saw potential based on all the neighborhoods around it and its proximity to large businesses like hospitals. “It feels like it’s in the center of this massive community,” he said.

The restaurant will seat 40 indoors and 40 outdoors on their patio. The initial menu will be similar to their Northeast Portland location featuring their signature smashburgers with Duke’s mayonnaise, brown mustard, ketchup, sweet onions, shredded lettuce, homemade zucchini pickles, and American cheese on a toasted potato bun as well as hot dogs and fries. Soda, beer, wine, and draft cocktails will also be available.

Food and drink offerings will shift and expand based on customer response. “It’s important to us to not just take a Portland restaurant and move it to Vancouver. We want to connect to the community here,” said Hassan.