Olea Restaurant in the Pearl has closed.
Employees showed up to work today and found the doors locked. There were rumors of problems a few months ago, but when I contacted owner Richard Glass, he had no comment.
The restaurant opened with a big splash in 2005. Lots of money was spent on the huge lavish interior, making it one of the largest restaurants in Portland.
When they opened I wasn’t too impressed with the food, but after they were named as “one of the best new restaurants in America” by Esquire magazine, I had to go back. It took me five visits to figure out what I wanted to say in my full review.
Long story short, I wasn’t impressed. Everything from the space to the menu, to the food, had a very LA, corporate feel. Chef Scott Shampine was formerly from the French Laundry and Hurley’s restaurant where he was chef de cuisine, but that didn’t necessarily mean he was ready for such a large undertaking. I thought he was being too ambitious; a recent menu had over 38 items. Don’t reach for Mars if you only have fuel to get to the moon. Still, I’m sorry to see a restaurant with good potential burn out. Best of luck to the employees.
That is sad. I liked that place. Well I only went there once, but I liked it when I went.
I liked it too. It was a huge space so I imagine the rent was pretty steep.
The burned through their credit line. There are going to be many other surprises in the coming months.
Was this really a surprise?
Tell us more, pdx_banker!!! Me love juicy gossip. Though I never visited, I’ll admit the food on their website looked LOVELY.
Like banks actually lending a few stimulation $ to some businesses from the billions they’ve been glad-handed recently?
I always loved this restaurant. Some of the best food and service I have had in the city. It compared to high-end French experience that I have had in the past. It is a tragedy to a failing economy in this city. I wish the owners the best because I know that they are very good people and always treated us amazingly.
Unfortunately this doesn’t come as a great surprise. The past couple visits there, the place just didn’t have enough customers to put together a good night. Olea should have survived. The sad truth is that a lot more good restaurants will fold in the coming months unless the public gets out and supports them. The fact is that most restaurants have a rent structure simply doesn’t match today’s economic reality. If we want the independents to survive, it’s essential that we all stop hunkering down and start going out to eat again. I’m not suggesting breaking the bank, just saying that if you want these owners, chefs, servers, dish washers, food vendors, etc. to survive, we have get support them. Portland’s an awesome town because of the “little” guys. Think of it as good karma or just good business.
i worked there in 2008, at that time we had a reaaly good chef and we were a nice crew in the kitchen and on the floor….it´s sad to hear it went down but not a big surprise.
the chef left, the line cooks left, the owners were kind of pain in the but. it´s alaways sad to see people open restaurants and have no clue what they are doing. they want it as their second living room. i also think there is to many restaurants in portland that pop up all the time. focus on what your are doing, why you are doing and for who you are doing it….