As the founder of Po’Shines restaurant, Pastor E.D. Mondaine uses the power of food to both create unforgettable experiences for all his customers and empower his community by unapologetically promoting Black culture in predominantly white Portland.
“Wherever I am, I want to make a positive difference so that my culture is celebrated and the God that I serve is glorified,” says Mondaine.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, he arrived in North Portland and founded the Celebration Tabernacle Church in 1988. In the beginning, the Kenton neighborhood had no Black business presence. Picking up hypodermic needles, syringes, and liquor bottles was a daily job.
Recognizing that many in his congregation lacked opportunities to fully utilize their talents, Mondaine started Girl Guy Fridays in 1992. The secretarial service and cafe grew into a full-fledged business known as Fridays Espresso & Cafe, and eventually became Po’Shines, named after a deacon who played a key role in developing the business.
Now, the restaurant known for its soul food and wall-to-wall Black art is considered a jewel of Kenton. Po’Shines also has two locations in the Moda Center (where it is the longest-tenured food vendor), a catering location that includes a culinary school on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, and a training program called Teach Me To Fish that helps people develop and build careers using their natural talents.
Looking ahead, Mondaine plans to open up a location in Lloyd Center and eventually a dinner theater. He takes immense pride in the positive impact Po’Shines has had on the Kenton neighborhood.
“We brought a change into Kenton that’s undeniable,” he says. “We had a great effect on the upward mobility on this community, and that makes me very, very proud.”
Written by: Bruce Poinsette
Photos by: Intisar Abioto
Published: March 2018