Davis Street Tavern Owner Leases Fenouil Spot

Fenouil along the park

Urban Works Real Estate has announced that the folks behind Davis Street Tavern will be opening a second restaurant, Jamison, at the former Fenouil space. According to their blog post, the “menu will focus on classic New American cuisine while emphasizing local farmers and purveyors, using seasonal ingredients, and showcasing comfortable elements of fine dining”. Can’t fit many more buzz words in that description!

Fenouil, a French restaurant, which closed in May of 2011. If you have been reading this site since 2006, you may remember my “Customer Service F for Fenouil” story that ran back then, and generated a huge amount of traffic.

The 220 seat dining room and mezzanine will undergo a revamp, and they expect to open in May 2012.

Now for the editorializing.

220 seats is a huge space, especially for Portland. This has to be one of the most expensive restaurant leases in the Portland area, so they are going to have to fill the seats every night to make it. It scares me that the last owners, Spaghetti Factory which had such deep pockets who owned Fenouil couldn’t make it there. Also, another part of the problems were issues with the building itself. With it’s glass doors and view of the square, it is one of the most striking dining rooms around, but those same glass doors resulted in cold dining experiences in the winter months, and the upstairs mezzanine made it difficult for the kitchen to get hot food to those tables. I’d bet .50 that, if they are going to try to correct those issues, they won’t make their hoped for opening date.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. Gary O. says

    If Chef Jake and Chef Kristen could not make the space work out, then I don’t know how the team at Davis Street will make the space profitable.

  2. Gary O. says

    Newsflash—-of all the variables that impact the the success or failure of a restaurant, I do think that the chef and the food prepared by said chef is the THE most important variable.

  3. PDX2CDG says

    Must have been a deal made for rent…..too big a nut to crack otherwise. Of course it would be great if this space is filled. Nice to dream big.

  4. sarah says

    I’d be curious to see what you have to say on this one. I went for brunch this weekend, and it was no wonder the expansive space was empty. The service was super slow, and the $9 order of eggs (in a scramble) comes with no side. Mind you, it was tasty, but really. For a big breakfast town, I don’t see it working. Perhaps dinner is better, although I doubt I will return to try it before it shutters.

    • says

      You know, I haven’t heard one good comment on the place. That is a bit alarming. On the other hand, I only know a few people who have been there! It’s on my list.

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