Who we are
In 2011, Jasper Shen founded Aviary, a restaurant focused on borderless cuisine with French techniques, alongside his wife, Kat Whitehead, and chef, Sarah Pliner. Come 2012, Aviary would win Restaurant of the Year from Willamette Week, officially putting them Portland’s ever-evolving foodie map.
With a family friendly atmosphere, thoughtfully designed space, and a curated selection of Chinese comfort food— XLB opened in January 2017 on N. Williams Ave— bringing to fruition years of conversation and camaraderie.
XLB continues to thrive, so much so, a second location opened at 21st and Raleigh in February 2020, offering more comfort to more neighborhoods across Portland.
We acknowledge that the restaurant industry has participated in and perpetuated harm and oppression against its employees, customers, and communities. We, Jasper and Laura, have experienced harm in this very industry, and from this experience, vow to do better.
At XLB, we instill the following values through our policies, conversations, community building work, and workplace training.
That food is political. It embodies resilience, stories, ancestors.
A healthy and prosperous work environment is a human right.
A welcoming atmosphere for folks of all cultures, backgrounds, and personal experiences is paramount.
That we all must collectively work to rid the world of white supremacy and anti-Blackness. “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.” — Angela Davis
That there is room for everyone, especially our lgbtqia+ community, at the table.
That mistakes will be made and thoughtful and meaningful repair can be done.
We humbly acknowledge that XLB is held on the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other Tribes who made their homes along the Columbia (Wimahl) and Willamette (Whilamut) rivers.
Jasper Shen is a chef living in Portland, OR. Born in Maryland, raised in Chicago, and lived in NYC— he enjoys experiencing new places, people, and especially, food. He has cooked at Jean George, Aquavit, 5 Ninth, among others. He received his BA in Business from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When not slinging dumplings, you can find him with his wife, Kat, his daughter, Tessa, and his dog, Cooper— hiking, cooking, or spending some quality time at home.
Laura Tran is a chef living in Portland, OR. Born and raised in Times Square, Laura is no stranger to endless options of delicious food, culture, and community. She received her BS in Women & Gender Studies from University of Oregon in 2010, and moved to Portland in 2013. When not dreaming up a new XLB special, you can find her working on her fixer upper with her wife, Catie, and dog, Milo, camping, mushroom hunting, or firing up her backyard wok.