Across the world, food is the common langue of love, family, and friendship. It bridges generation gaps, cultural boundaries, and calls all creeds to the collective table. There are other human elements like a loss that also binds loved ones closer together and creates a much-needed community of support, out of which silver linings and new beginnings find room to shine through. Weaving the vibrant fibers of the world of food and laughter into the stories of deep family loss is treacherous at best, but Kyle and Eva at Happy Valley Station’s Issabella’s Eatery are sharing their food, passion, and story with hungry palates and kind embraces.
“Kyle and I were blessed when we had our daughter Issabella on July 05, 2016 and devastated when we lost her August 25, 2016, to SIDS. This is our way of honoring her every day, it’s a promise to her to keep going and follow your dreams because life is much too short. Our inspiration for our food is our family, all of our recipes are family recipes named after the family member who inspired it. Our goal from the beginning has been to give back and help other grieving parents.” ~ Eva Hernandez
From burnt ruins and embers of devastation, Kyle, Eva, and their son Noah have found solid footing and a welcoming community in Happy Valley. Turning out Italian favorites like Sal’s Super Sub, Pauly’s Pastrami, and Grandma’s Lasagna, they fill a void that has been sorely missing in the local culinary offerings. “Borrowing” many of the recipes from Kyle’s family, which operates five restaurants back in Long Island, these are bonafide, soul-hugging flavors that showcase classic palate-pleasing East Coast style.
They’re not just serving up pastrami and anti-pasta, sweet tooth seekers are treated to what can only be described as decadence on a plate. The cheesecake has started fights between friends and brought an end to war. With the Classic New York Style offered every day and another variation like cherry-covered or Oreo-crumble, paired alongside it, the meal always ends on a sweet note.
*Please Note: I despise cheesecake. Is it a dessert trying to be savory, or is it a cheese plate disguised as something sweet? That said, this sweet treat was simply awesome. The few bites my wife allowed me to have, may have swayed my feelings for this confused after-dinner delight. If you are a cheesecake fan, then there is no way you can miss this, if you’re not, you may be one after you have a taste.
Kyle and Eva are creating not only a small slice of Foodie Heaven in Happy Valley, but they are also giving a voice to frustration and sadness. They are taking the transcending memory of their daughter Issabella and letting her shine in every dish, smile, and relationship they make. For all of us, food is much more than a quick meal, it’s a shared moment with friends, or simply a quiet moment enjoyed with your special someone. Currently, Noah is working with his dad to find his own signature dish, and the soon-to-be-here Baby Brooklyn championing the Brooklyn’s BLT, the whole menu is an ode to family.
With the hopes of opening another food cart in the Portland area within the next year, Kyle and Eva are taking the message and story of Issabella’s Eatery to the hungry masses. Every dish served is a cathartic expression of love and dedication that gives this blossoming family the chance to connect, give back, and bring life to their vibrant memories.