Okay, this one is pretty far-fetched, but still… I’d hate to have sat on it and found out it is true.
Balvo will be closing
23 Hoyt will re-open in it’s place
Chris Israel will again be at the helm.
Wild rumor. Take it with a grain of fleur de sel. Somewhere someone is probably laughing that something they made up over too many martinis actually made it to the site. Still, Balvo is having problems. Chris Israel is back in town. Saucebox has REALLY gone up in quality. Chris was the original chef at Zefiro, one of the most highly regarded restaurants ever in Portland.
There is a newish bar on N. Williams called Vendetta, known for having a really nice patio area. A good place to while away the afternoon. Until now. The rumor mill tells me “One of the owners went after one of the other owners with a knife there this weekend. The police were called and he was hauled off. Charges are being pressed”. Beer and a drama show – $4.50
Dylan, chef un-extraordinaire at Gracies, the “new” restaurant in the old Mallory hotel is gone. Involuntarily. Now maybe the restaurant will go somewhere. A concept menu as bad as Spice, and cooking to match.
balvo is shutting? big shocker!
is this bar on williams you are referring to Vendetta? co-owners in a knife fight @ a place called Vendetta? crazy!
bring out the big rumour. we can take it.
Well, at least they named the bar appropriately, Dude. And regarding the big story, I really hope they come back (just guessing, of course).
Food Dude says
kwijbo – Yeah, I forgot to put in the name. Doh. I love your spin.
Chambolle – I do too, although they would have a terrible time living up to their previous reputation; going up against themselves, as it were.
He is the only genius I have worked for in town. No offense to the others, but wow!
I hate being left in the dark!
I never got to eat at the previous incarnation, so it would be fantastic if true. Tell me it is so… ;) (that is if I am thinking of the same “they” as you are) You really should just let the cat out of the bag. You are already making crazy Zefiro rumours, so why not let ‘er rip. We can all pretend we are in the late 90’s again. Zefiro, Couvron, maybe Cafe des Amis as well. Sweet.
Actually, Zefiro and Cafe des Amis were at their peak in the EARLY 90s. They were both customers of mine. Zefiro used to give quizzes to its staff.The answer to the question “Where to we get our produce?” was simply: Steve.
The 1st review from WW that really launched them into the spotlight and icon status, the ‘suave figs’ wrapped in proscuitto were mine. I do know a little about local figs. Remember their arugula,pear,hazlenut and warm goat cheese salad? My arugula. Back then arugula was a specialty item, now it is a commodity available in any grocery store.
That was an exciting time for Portland dining. Back then my customers included Zefiro, Cafe des Amis, L’Auberge, Atwaters, the Heathman, Papa Haydn, Genoa. Myself. a couple other growers and a handful of chefs really set the stage ond opened the door for the 2nd wave of growers who came on the scene about 6 years later when Wildwood, Paley’s, Higgins opened. It is now a full blown tsunami of new growers (the majority of new farms being started by women) and new restaurants.
Random ramblings from an old geezer.
Zefiro was the seedcorn of the Bruce Carrey empire…smart move that I had mused about privately myself….the key will be keeping the”bling weevils” out of the mix. Hopefully they will capture the original spice that made Zefiro zing and not just bottle and repackage(merchandising) the name. Chris Israel’s involvement gives one hope that this will be done right.
I wish them the best with the venture.
Off topic, but for those of us reading your site via RSS, we get new versions of the same old posts every time you edit. While I appreciate your site greatly, this is driving me crazy! Is this annoying anyone else?
I noticed the “For Lease” sign removed from the original Zefiro location. Any news on what might be in store for that space?
I think problems is the Voting buttons on the “Should Reviews Have a Rating?” are making the RSS feed think it has new content when someone votes, because it keeps showing up as “new” for me as well, even though the text hasn’t really changed.
In a strange convergence, the space that once housed Zefiro looks like it might have new occupants- the for-lease signs have been taken down. Maybe they’re going to ditch the Balvo space entirely (fingers crossed) and return to 21st for nostalgia’s sake.
I have very fond memories of Zefiro. I do hope they come back and it would be perfect if they came back in the old space. It wouldn’t be Zefiro to me if it was located where Balvo is now.
Food Dude says
Allen/Jeff – I think you are right. While I try to figure out a way to fix this, I’ve removed the poll from the post itself. Thanks for your patience.
Lavendersoda—don’t you think that space is smaller than the Balvo? I would think the’d want the bigger space.
The other thing is that the space was remodelled for both Zinc Bistro and the Italian Restaurant that followed (can’t recall the name). It’ll never be the same as the old Zefiro…
This is hilarious watching y’all take what Food Dude admitted was a rather weak rumor and making it into a done deal.
Food Dude prefaced it with “Okay, this one is PRETTY FAR-FETCHED”
The last few posts sound like Balvo is already boarded up, Kenny’s left town and Bruce & Chris are reopening Zefiro on NW 21st. I don’t seeit.
I think Bruce is enjoying all of the free buzz–any buzz is good buzz.
T Lehman says
Note credit to portlandfoodanddrink.com in 09/27/06 issue of Willamette Week.
Singingpig – When I read through the posts it seems to me that people are discussing the rumor, I don’t think anybody has said it is a done deal nor does anybody think that. Hey, we’re all just speculating and it’s fun.
Steve: Just wondering if your shoulder hurts from all the back patting ;-). Reminds me a little of Bart Simpson parading around the room, banging on a pot and chanting, “I’m great.”
Seriously, were you the only high-end produce vendor to the new wave of fine Portland restaurants or were there others as well? What about meat and seafood? This was before Nicky’s and all the coop ranchers. I wasn’t paying attention to such things back then, being a youngster and all ;-).
Speaking of youth, I vaguely recall visiting what I think was Cafe des Amis (on W. Burnside across the street from The Ringside) for a high school prom. This would have been in 1979 or 1980. Are you sure about your “early 90’s” time frame for them? And what about L’Auberge and L’Curie, and even Genoa? Weren’t these also 1980s places that actually predated and perhaps paved the way for the great Zefiro?
We have a meeting on Thursday, and they will clarify what’s going on. The speculation is pretty much the same in the restaurant and all over town. But if they’re reinventing Zefiro on 23rd…who really thinks that it can bring in the numbers that the space requires? It’s too big! I hope they can turn it around, but there isn’t a lot of confidence around the restaurant…most of the waiters are barely making money…
Speculation no more!
Everyone see the thing from the Oregonian?
There is a link on MSG’s site.
mczlaw, Genoa started in 1971. I believe that was the year singingpig killed the farm.
So Chef Dylan’s gone. Personally I thought that his bit about women not belonging in the kitchen was rather unoriginal. Better luck next time.
Did I say I was the only produce vendor? I said “Myself, a couple of other growers, and a handful of chefs…”
When I started in 1989, there were 6 growers, including me, who were selling high quality, local produce direct to restaurants. There were a few more selling direct to retail outlets. How many are there now–approaching 100 maybe more selling directly to Portland area restaurants.
I didn’t say Cafe des Amis, L’Auberge or Genoa opened in the early 90s, I said that Cafe des Amis and Zefiro were at their peak in the early 90s. I am well aware of the history of Cafe des Amis, L’Auberge and Genoa. You are correct in observing that they paved the way and really readied Portland for Zefiro.
I didn’t mention meat or fish becuse I was strictly talking about growers of fresh produce.
I make no apologies for taking pride in what I do.
Nor should you—or any of the long list of others who have brought Portland so far forward culinarily over the last 30 years or so.
You disappoint me, I expected a big city lawyer to have better reading skills than you have displayed.
You’re a lawyer who represents restaurant owners, you write food articles for the “O”, you’re connected, you have a Rolodex, why don’t you call Chris Israel and ask him if I’m blowing smoke?
You opened with a quote from Bart Simpson, let me close with a quote from Homer Simpson “You can kiss my hairy yellow #@$&”
Food Dude says
mkzlaw wrote: “Speaking of youth, I vaguely recall visiting what I think was Cafe des Amis (on W. Burnside across the street from The Ringside) for a high school prom. This would have been in 1979 or 1980. Are you sure about your “early 90’s” time frame for them? And what about L’Auberge and L’Curie, and even Genoa? Weren’t these also 1980s places that actually predated and perhaps paved the way for the great Zefiro?”
Well, in the late 70s and early 80s, I was a young adult living in Portland. L’Auberge was in a space on W. Burnside at that point. I ate there a couple of times. They left the space when an arsonist lit a fire to the apartment building where L’Auberge was situated (in the basement). I don’t think Cafe des Amis opened until a few years after that. And I don’t believe it was ever on W. Burnside.
I agree that Indigine, Genoa, Cafe des Amis, and possibly others paved the way for Zefiro and Wildwood.
cognos: thx for the clarification. I could swear I had the fillet w port/garlic sauce in that very space and that was the Cafe des Amis specialty. but, hell, it was a little while ago. Good call out, btw, on Indigine–Millie Howe, right? I keep trying to think of others too. Winterborne?
sp: We come in peace.
S Selland says
This is the only place I’ve been able to find mention of Millie Howe. She did a very good dish with braised radishes, the details of which evade me. Is there any word of where she has gone?
pasta maven says
You are correct. Cafe des Amis did start in the old L’Auberge space on W.Burnside, across the street from the Ringside. I recall arriving one night for dinner, our table was not ready, so they sent us to the bar at the Ringside, and then fetched us when the table was ready.The fillet with port/garlic sauce was excellent.
This is a hoot, all these folks going on and on about restaurants and who started what. You want to go back to the 80’s? Early? Belinda’s, Le Cuisiner, 21 Northwest, Genoa, but not the tired worn out space that it is today. What is up with the whole menu chef concept? Cafe des Amis in the original local on Burnside moving to what is now Hurley’s after it burned down is what was a pretty spectacular fire. The old L’Auberge prior to Meriwethers. singing pig deserves a ton of credit for bringing produce locally grown into the spotlight. He has been around a long time and provides top quality produce. He is talking about des Amis in the Hurley location. Lot’s of places from the day that led to the revolution in dining in PDX. Not any one person responsible.
We loved both of Indigine’s menus, the Saturday night Indian choices as well as the weekly continental fare. And we dedicated our disposable income to Millie’s restaurant from its inception until its later demise. Does anyone know whatever happened to Millie Howe? Still in Portland area? Still doing cooking professionally? Absolutely and totally retired?
I know Millie personally. In fact I am one of two people in the world who still does. Millie is an incredible woman and has been one of the most important figures in my life. My mother was a server and later chef in the final fifteen years of the restaurant, in fact some of my earliest memories take place there. As a child Millie was my de facto babysitter and I was terrified of her. She taught me about the world with too much graphic detail, i.e. I learned too young what a suicide bomber was. She is highly educated: Stanford, Berkeley. She was the first woman economics professor at Reed. Always wears a flower in her hat, loves cats. She is a very solitary woman. Her time is spent reading the New York Times. Angela Merkel is a personal hero and she saves every article on her—I think it is more her strength as a woman politician and respect for non-partisanship, than her actual politics. I wish that more people knew Millie’s story. Perhaps a cookbook… if not a whole biography. Although she is still well, in the last years she has shown signs of dementia. I hesitate to share some of these details online, I don’t want to tarnish the lustre of fantasy that they hold for me. Millie is my mythology, but she is also a living being, and I am not sure she would want her details shared like this. Nonetheless I think its safe to share this here. It is over ten years after the OP after all.
S Selland says
Just checking back on this site and found your note about Millie Howe. I think a good cook is like the tip of an iceberg… there is a fascinating and complex person just below the waterline.
I’m still trying to figure out how she did those radishes. Is a cookbook possible?
Can you (or can anyone) expand on Belinda’s and 21 Northwest? I vaguely remember the names, but nothing of the substance–style, menu, chefs, owners. Was 21 Northwest the place upstairs from what is now Sal’s in the Uptown Shopping Center?
There was another prom-related high-style place I wonder if anyone else remembers–the Inn at Alder Creek aka The Forest Inn. It was about 1/2 way to Mt. Hood on Hwy 26. I only remember thinking “wow” in response to the goodies on my plate. My parents turned me on to that place.
And yet one more obscure fine dining stop from the late 70’s or early 80’s. It was called The Echo, ws located in a Beaverton strip mall and was owned and run by a Beaverton H.S. grad named (I think) Jim and his younger sister Melinda (?). Jim was the chef, Melinda the server. I ate there 3 or 4 times with a buddy who went to Bvtn with Jim.
Does anyone remember in the mid-80s there was a place on NW 23rd where Sammy’s now is that was started by a Reedie and some other guy. They brought in guest chefs from other cities. I think they even got somebody in from Green’s in SF (which was a big deal at the time). The partners eventually had a huge fight and the place folded. But the food there was great. It was the only place in PDX that ever impressed my East Coast mother (follow with any word of your choice).
I remember the Echo vaguely. The food was good (very good for Beaverton at the time) but it could be inconsistent and the service was not ever very good.