Billy Wilson to Open “Barista” Coffeehouse
A new coffeehouse is to open in the space last occupied by Acorn, or before that, Little Wing Cafe. Why is this news? Because it is owned by Billy Wilson, formerly of Albina Press, currently of Coffeehouse NW. Billy is known for having a huge following of coffee aficionados, and for winning the NW Barista Competition. The shop will be in a tiny space inside the old Pearl District building. Seating will be in the public lobby. The coffeehouse is called Barista.
Lucier Restaurant has Closed
That’s the rumor. I don’t normally post these things until the doors are locked, but I’ve been deluged with reports that they will close their doors on Saturday night. Look for lots of wine flooding the market soon. Anyway, take this news with a small grain of salt until the closed signs go up. Even though (I think) this restaurant was poorly conceived from the beginning, there will be lots of folks out of work, and jobs aren’t exactly easy to get right now – I blame Karen Brooks for everything.
Beaker & Flask from Kevin Ludwig Opening Soon
News from Clyde Common: Kevin Ludwig and Tim Davey have been working the bar since last summer, and has been responsible for an upturn in the quality of their drinks. They will be leaving soon to get Kevin’s new restaurant, Beaker & Flask, up and running. In his place, well-known bartender Jeffrey Morganthaler from Eugene will take over as bar manager. This town has so many top-tier bartenders, it is an embarrassment of riches. I’m hooked on Ten 01’s fine libations. Kevin says he can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and hopes to open the doors of Beaker & Flask in 2009.
Ned Ludd will be opening December 11th, in the old Wildfire Pizza spot on MLK Blvd.
From the note sent out to every chef in town (and CC’d instead of BCC’d – Oops!) “Our restaurant is called Ned Ludd and will offer fine Euro-Portland cuisine from a wood-fired oven. Our wood is pear and apple wood from the Hood River Valley. Our tap beer and wine list will feature a global, seasonal selection.”
I threw myself on the grenade and ordered Bacon-Apple Pie at Lincoln Restaurant
I don’t know what I was thinking, but I also ordered an entree of pork shoulder and pork belly. I’m lucky to be alive! My verdict: better than I expected – I thought the apples would be horribly greasy – I’d go so far as to say it was really good, especially with the cinnamon ice cream on top, which worked really well. On the other hand, I don’t think I’d want it more than once a year. It’s on the menu as a serving for two, weekends through Christmas. Want to make it yourself? We have Jen’s recipe for her Bacon Apple Pie here!
Lance Mayhew’s Hot Buttered Rum!
Finally, Lance Mayhew has posted his Hot Buttered Rum recipe on his website. I love good hot buttered rum, and this is one of the best recipes I’ve seen – beats the heck out of most bars in town (IMHO). Cold weather is -supposed- to be coming. Prepare a batch of it now!
I’m guessing…hoping…. your “I blame Karen brooks for everything” is tongue in cheek, FD but she was just pointing out the obvious. It was, as you said, “a poorly conceived restaurant from the beginning” that put the people out of work, not one review. Rumor has it also that they are planning a relaunch, a la Ten-01, at some point in the near future. It is never a good time to be out of work, especially now, but all the comments talking about how unfair her review were are just wrong. The well run restaurants will continue to survive, although I think the restaurant closing carnage in town in just beginning. I’m guessing the first quarter next year, when people are over the holiday distractions, will be brutal and more shakeout is on the way.
I’ve been a restaurant critic, and I feel for Karen and the other Lucier reviewers right now. As a critic, if you try to factor in the effect of your review on the restaurant owners and staff, you cannot tell the truth as you experienced it. It takes guts to be a critic, and when the reviews are thoughtful and very honest, they serve a useful purpose. So bravo to those critics who told the truth as they experienced it.
This said, I got out of the critic gig when I realized that it was much easier to write an entertaining review when the review was negative than when it was positive. (Well, that realization and the episode with an owner/chef’s wife recognizing and then attacking me in the grocery store. Listen people, those frog’s legs were putrid!) It is also exceedingly difficult for most folks to not be swayed by the bad or good press that has preceeded their review. So my only “advice” here is that as a critic if you notice a hint of glee while you are writing the review, stop and listen to Krishna Das CDs (Breath of the Heart) for awhile. :-)
on Nedd Ludd – i didn’t realize we’d established a local cuisine called ‘Euro-Portland’ – anyone care to define that for us ignorant foodie readers?
The rumor is true, Lucier will close their doors Saturday evening, until Spring? They say. Very unfortunate for all the hardworking employees right before the holidays, and especially in this economy. I wish you all the best in your further endeavours.
Euro-Portland means it’s fresh, local and says “poids net” on it. (sorry, every time I think of euro food I think of poids net on the label.)
But when did the Acorn close? It seems like I was just there pretty recently.
Acorn’s last day is Friday, December 19th. Let ’em know you care while you still can. (And then be sure to give Billy a big ‘ol welcome when Barista opens. But someone should really have helped him pick a better name…)
Lil Ta says
Until maternity leave, I used to work near Acorn and they are/were the BEST for sandwiches in the Pearl! Only they had the magic pickles, too, which got me through my pregnancy. Sad to live across town so I couldn’t keep going there. Open something on Hawthorne! :) Best of luck, guys.
Lur Kerr says
Let it also be considered that Donny Sullivan as GM has some responsiblity for Lucier’s demise. He interviewed a bevy of restaurant people for key positions before he opened, and then never called them back once he had made his hiring decisions. Now that some time has passed, and with social networks what they are, we are all just now getting around to “comparing notes” on this matter, and have all remarked that because of his lack of professionalism, none of us ever dined there, nor did we recommend it to our guests/friends/family.
Portland is too small of a town/city to not call back after interviews, regardless of the position. But when you are interviewing half the city for Maitre ‘d/Somm/Captain positions, and you don’t call back? You get snubbed by half the city.
You know what Lur, I am sure the “powers that be” in reflection will change their tune on the re-open of the new yet to be determined space. Today its easy to point fingers. But really the staff is all in “shock” over the news of the closing. One has to feel for the staff.
I hope the Dussins’ re-open a la “Ten-01” and make a go of it. It really is a pretty space with a fantastic “outdoor” venue. Imagine a baby grand paino in the bar with Thomas Lauderdale and maybe drums and an upright bass on the grand re-opening?
I am sure Donnie Sullivan will not be the GM at the new venture. The Dussins need to run the ship real lean at first. Granted you dont need another Spaghetti Factory, but you dont need to re-create Lucier.
I can’t imagine Pascal runnning the kitchen either. Too bad for the pastry chef, and really too bad for the whole staff. It is tough and the first quarter will be even tougher for EVERYONE !!
I guess the staff of Lucier will at least be with family over Christmas. But I am sure they would rather be working. To the staff of Lucier, BON CHANCE et Joyeaux Noel !!
I interviewed with Jeremy for a kitchen position (sous chef) before they opened, and before I got home, I had a message in my inbox saying that “I was not eligible for hiring due to the fact I arrived at 9:50 for a 10:00 interview, “we expect our managers to be here atleast 15 minutes before the scheduled time”. It was a blessing in disguise, Thanks Jeremy, i sure wouldnt want to have your monkey on my back. ;-)
Once again, best wishes to all the employees of Lucier
Obviously FD was tongue in cheek, but the owner didn’t mind calling out Brooks on the WWeek web site.
So Lucier is a confirmed casualty as of this weekend. Wine oriented minds want to know: what’s going to happen to that million dollars worth of inventory? An even better question: why did they have a million dollars worth of wine??!
why did they have a million dollars worth of wine? because they could. why did they open with the concept that they did? because they could. lot’s of reason why they failed, but not really paying attention to the market and impending condition of current economy had a lot to do with it. they will not be the only place feeling the sting of closure which is too bad because lot’s of hard working people are on the short end of the stick and it wasn’t their fault. am pretty sure that they will keep most of the wine for the next incarnation in that space.
A classic example of “just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it.”
Thats a good question, I would like to be in on the “rummage sale” if and when there is one. I am sure it will be on here
Burgundy Boy says
Don’t get too excited about a “fire sale” put on by the Lucier folks. They don’t have a proper wine cellar. Go ahead with sturdier wines if you like, but don’t touch anything mature, it will have been damaged by improper storage. Buyer beware…
Good advice burgundy boy, Cherry picking is at the utmost forefront here my friend. Obviously, current vintages are the most desired. If you know what wines they are, and who distributes them, it is somewhat safe to say that even the older vintages are a safe gamble. After all, they were only stored for a few months ;-)
burgundy boy says
Hi Guignol and friends,
One more word of advice, and some math, bear with me, this could be a bit wordy… They’ve been open for 6 and a half months and spent a $million on wine before opening. I can only guess what their sales were over those 6 and a half months, but let’s be liberal and suggest that they sold about $500K in that time. That’s alot considering they weren’t very busy most of the time. The real variable is how much of that was from their original inventory or from purchases that followed. Again, liberally, let’s assume that 75% of their sales were from the original inventory. That would be a miracle considering they fired the guy that bought all of that wine before opening, and it’s been said that they had serious problems finding things in their “cellar”. This means that 62.5% of the original inventory is still there.
So what’s “there” like? Their cellar is really just a gutted retail space with windows facing south and west, no humidity control and an ancient standard room air conditioning unit which can’t keep up with temp flux. Temperature and humidity fluctuation over 6 months doesn’t necessarily mean that wines are destroyed, but at best it will cause the wines to show age a little more quickly, and at worst, could cause heat damage, maderization, leakage and oxidation, etc., especially in wines that are fairly delicate like older wines from almost anywhere, white wines, paler red wines. These wines can be affected by heat and sunlight like a redhead with freckles in the dessert!
I don’t know about you, but if Karen Brooks was right, then to cherry pick that list means getting a very special bottle, and if you’re like me, I expect a lot out of a wine like that. It had better be exacly what it should be. I wouldn’t bet on that from Lucier’s cellar for a mature red wine or almost any white wine. You’re right about current releases, though. If you know when the wine was delivered to Lucier, you know how long it was in that nightmare of a cellar. Again… buyer beware.
I know this sounds like I’m just spouting all the doom and gloom I can muster, but the fact is that if they really do intend a relaunch, it would be foolish to do a fire sale from the wine list. Why sell it now at fire sale prices when they can just hang on to it and relaunch with as much of it as they want and sell it for 3 times the cost? Lord knows they can afford to hold it for longer than that. So the whole question may be moot in the end anyway.
Just a thought (or five)
Two questions of highly varying degrees of seriousness:
One: how do you spend that much money on high-quality wine and not plan for properly storing it? I don’t even partake, and I still know that temperature and humidity control are important when you’re storing quality wines. [Possible follow-up: if the “cellar” design was really that ill-conceived, how far should one really trust the judgment of the folks who assembled the cellar’s contents?]
Two: if your redhead’s freckles are in the dessert, isn’t that a clear indication that she’s had too much wine anyway? [Song cue: “Have Some Madeira, M’Dear”….]
burgundy boy says
Funny… 1. Excellent point. I can’t pretend to have any insight into the minds of the brain trust that set this thing up. All I know is that somebody left out the most important piece of the equation, facility.
2. Too true. I do know if I were a redhead with freckes and stuck in the desert I’d want something alot stronger than wine to ease the pain…
Food Dude says
LUCIER TO TAKE HIATUS
Portland, Ore. – Dec. 12, 2008 – This Sunday, Dec. 14, in response to the current economy, Lucier will temporarily close its doors for the winter season with plans to re-open for business in the spring of next year.
“We appreciate the support and enthusiasm from our loyal guests and employees,” said Chris Dussin, proprietor.
Lucier, located in the Riverplace district, opened in May 2008, and expanded the culinary boundaries of Portland’s dining scene, bringing exclusive cuisine, design and service to the city. Owners and proprietors, Chris and Tyanne Dussin and executive chef Pascal Chureau, have decided to suspend service in light of the country’s economic meltdown and decrease in consumer spending. The space will remain available for special events including weddings and private parties.
“The current economic reality contributed to our decision to scale back our efforts at Lucier for the next few months,” said Dussin. “We are committed to providing a high level of service and rather than compromise our standards, so have chosen to close our doors for a few months. We are incredibly grateful to our guests and friends and look forward to serving them in the future.”
Is this a press release? If so, who prepared it?
Food Dude says
Yes, this is from their PR Firm. I just thought it was an interesting spin, so posted it over here too. It’s from Lane PR
I believe they work with a PR firm… though you’d never know it.
burgundy boy says
“expanded the boudaries of Portland’s dining scene…”? I’ve eaten Pascal’s food, if anything, he pushed the boundaries of good taste! As for exclusive cuisine and the rest. I think this proves that Portland wants inclusive cuisine, design and service. Maybe things would be different if they hadn’t made so many mistakes. I guess we’ll never know. Too bad really.
Sounds like a whole lotta hubris going on with various involved parties. Or perchance a tax shelter?
Meanwhile, please tell us, Burgundy Boy, that you’re making it up about the “wine cellar.”
burgundy boy says
Why would anyone make up a sad story like that? I love great wine and hate to hear of anything like this. No, I’m just relating the situation as I understand it from several friends, one who works for them and a couple who have delivered wines to that unfortunate “cellar”.
I too, had interviewed for the sous chef position. Given the the blatant stoginess and rude demeaner of the current sous chef whom interviewed me, I wouldn’t put it past them to have poor reviews of food. Seems ego’s were more important there then true talent and worthy cooking skills. Oh and I did get the job but, after a few ‘off’ remarks, I felt Lucier would eventually seal it’s own fate and the mish/mash of ideas and ‘innovative food concepts’ (which incidently were not all that innovative) would become evident and worn on the sleeve with time.
There were some very hard working individuals there, and best of luck to them. To the rest, get over yourself and try to remember that one does not work to let ego shine.
gotoguy: good for you. Very few people succeed at running a restaurant with their ego. A great restaurant should be a mix of great service, great food, great atmosphere, a great drive and a well thought part of ego.
We are in a hospitality industry. We are in it to please people first, staff AND clients. If we have an attitude, it better damn well be subtle and deserved.
Your comments and Guignol’s made me chuckle; I twice interviewed for a Sous Chef position at Fenouil when Jeremy was there; I got there 15 minutes early and he made me wait 20 minutes past our scheduled time. I guess the courtesy doesn’t go both ways.