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VQ to close, sell site to Multnomah County for courthouse


The Veritable Quandary will close later this summer after being in business for 45 years.

Multnomah County announced Tuesday that they have reached a deal with the iconic Portland restaurant to buy the property at 1220 S.W. First Avenue to make way for the new downtown courthouse.

The county will remove the restaurant building and include the site in the new central courthouse project, which will break ground in late 2016.

“We explored a number of alternatives with the county to keep the restaurant open,” said Dennis King, owner of the VQ. “I appreciate the efforts everyone made. In the end, the only viable financial alternative for me was to sell the property.”

The amount of the negotiation will be released after the deal closes.

King has operated the landmark restaurant at this site since 1971, however the brick structure that houses the restaurant is more than 100 years old.

King says one factor in his decision to sell is that the aging building with its garden setting wouldn't fare well during the long construction project.

The VQ will be open through this summer and close this fall.

“The VQ holds a special place in the hearts and memories of many Multnomah County residents,” County Chair Deborah Kafoury said in a statement. “This isn’t easy on any of us. We understand Denny’s concerns about the disruption and changes that our courthouse project will bring. We thank him for negotiating an agreement that is fair to the County and the VQ.”

The county is in the design stage of the courthouse project, to replace its century-old courthouse. The grassy lot at the west Hawthorne Bridgehead property was identified in 2014 as the preferred site, and was finalized in April 2015 after the Oregon Judicial Department approved it in March.

“I’d like to thank all our loyal customers for their faithful patronage over the years and especially Chef Annie Cuggino and the rest of our incredible staff, without whom our success would not have been possible,” King said. “We look forward to welcoming all of our many wonderful customers again before the doors close.”