UPDATED: Turns out Caprial’s filed bankruptcy in 2006, but had problems making their repayment plan. Interesting article in Oregon live
The rumor has been going around for the last year: Caprial & John’s Kitchen wasn’t going to make it. I’ve heard it so many times I should have written this months ago and put it on hold. Now, according to Byron Beck, the restaurant has washed its last plate.
Originally opening in 1992, Caprial & John’s was once a big deal. I heard about it before I ever moved to Portland, and it was one of the first places I dined. Back then, the food was pretty good, Caprial usually worked the front desk, John kept the kitchen running and the service was always top-notch. With her yearly television cooking shows, Caprial’s books flew off the shelves; I still have some favorite recipes from them that I use to this day.
Unfortunately, over the years the pleasant dining experience slowly began to slide. John and Caprial seemed to disappear from the restaurant. The food quality went down, as the prices went up. I think they made the mistake relying on the tourist dollar to keep the restaurant going, while they busied themselves with family and other ventures. Eventually, the food was so poor and yet expensive, I stopped going.
Finally, the economic problems seemed to catch up with them. The breathless descriptions in airline magazines no longer brought in tourists, and the locals had lost their interest. A few desperate measures were taken over the last year, but, in the end, weren’t enough to save this dying restaurant.
Even though I haven’t been for years, I’m sorry to see them close. It is one of the memories of my early ties to Portland. I wish them well and their employees well.