Chef Eric Bechard leaves Seattle, Opening “Thistle” in McMinnville
When Alberta Street Oyster Bar and Grill opened, Chef Eric Bechard was Oregonian’s Rising Star for 2006. Known for a playful take on “modern American” cuisine, his cooking received accolades from many reviewers, including Michael Charles on this site:
One highlight of my most recent visit was chicken “oysters”, a starter as playful as it is delectable. This heretofore unknown (to me, anyway) fowl part, otherwise called a chicken “love handle,” is a dark meat segment that apparently resides between the bird’s thigh and backbone. In the Alberta St. OB&G incarnation, three of the crispy-skinned “oysters” are presented in a bowl with gnocchi, sweet peas and the same golden raisin sauce that not-too-sweetly used to accompany the sweetbreads starter.
Eric left Portland in June of 2008 to be chef de cuisine at Opal restaurant in Seattle. Now sources tell me that he is following a dream, leaving Seattle and heading South to McMinnville. The restaurant, THISTLE, will have approximately 20 seats in the dining room and six at the kitchen counter. In addition, they have made an offer on a plot of land, and are going to start a small farm with chickens, rabbits, goats, vegetables and fruit trees. Eric is known for working hand in hand with farmers, ranchers, and fisherman, so this sounds like a perfect opportunity for him. They have a good amount of work ahead but are scheduled to open July 1st on 3rd street in McMinnville.