Interesting news today from Timothy Nishimoto of Coppia Restaurant.
Former Owner to Remain as Consultant, New Owner to Carry Torch
Portland, Oregon; December 16, 2014: After almost ten years as owners of Coppia Restaurant & Wine Bar (opened in the Pearl District as Vino Paradiso, in 2005, and re-branded as Coppia in 2011 to focus on the cuisine of Piedmont, Italy), Timothy Nishimoto and Todd O’Connor, will hand the keys over to a new owner, Bill Ludwig, in hopes of keeping the dream alive in Portland! The change will occur January 1, 2015. Nishimoto, a Certified Sommelier (CMS) will continue to work closely with Ludwig as an operations and wine consultant, and will occasionally be seen at Coppia, as usual.
“Because of my tour schedule with (the band) Pink Martini, I have run this restaurant, often from thousands of miles away. For almost ten years, I have put my heart and soul into this place; I love sharing my passion with our guests, and the people I work with at Coppia are truly like family to me. But, I am in serious need of a break.
“And, yet, I am honored that Bill (Ludwig) plans to keep the concept, name, wine program, dinner menu, and the amazing staff. And, I get to stay on-board to focus less on the day-to-day business, and, instead, be involved in the things I love doing the most—working with Chef Adam (Ruplinger, see his bio CoppiaPortland.com/chef) on monthly wine dinners, assisting Sommelier Wilmer Stasney on the wine program (who has been at the helm of Coppia’s wine program for four years), and welcoming guests!”
Because of his love of food, wine, music, photography and travel, Nishimoto recently started a blog, TourEatDrink.com, that he pens while on tour with Pink Martini (he is a vocalist, percussionist, and the tour photographer for the band, PinkMartini.com). Plans for his future projects can also be found on the blog.
Todd O’Connor, a seasoned chauffeur, plans to take a nice vacation with Nishimoto, then will get back in the saddle of the limousine here in Portland. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with this staff and the thousands of people who have walked through these doors, but my heart is with driving, and I hope to soon have my own limousine company!”
New owner, Ludwig, recently moved to Happy Valley with his spouse and business partner, Lisa Devaney from Phoenix, lured to Portland by the hot restaurant scene. He has lived around the U.S., managing high-end restaurants in Little Rock, Arkansas, and consulting restaurants in Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Dallas. He has also held management and executive roles in the financial services industry, most recently with Wells Fargo.
“After my first experience at Coppia, I knew I wanted to get back into the restaurant business,” says Ludwig. “Because the product sells itself—the food, wine list, ambience, the way the staff makes you feel like part of the family–I don’t plan to make many changes. We’ll look at expansion opportunities to enhance the Coppia brand, maybe doing lunches, and getting Coppia on Portland’s radar more. Besides that, I want to pay homage to what Timothy and Todd have created here by keeping everything else the same. We’re all very excited about it!”