Portland's Genoa Restaurant Returns After Year Closure
(Portland, Oregon) - Genoa, Portland’s original “farm to table” restaurant, will re-open December 1st under the new culinary direction of executive chef and general manager David Anderson and owner Trish Eiting. Genoa closed last November after a 38-year run as a pioneer in the locavore movement that today, can be traced back to 1971 when Genoa first opened. That same year Chez Panisse opened in Berkeley, CA with a commitment to growing and sourcing local ingredients. Sharing this similar passion, the two west coast restaurants became known as leaders for their ground-breaking support of local farmers and ranchers.
While Genoa’s many diners mourned its closing, Trish Eiting recognized the restaurant as one of the city’s culinary landmarks and took action. She gathered a design team and hired David Anderson, formerly of Vindalho, to run the kitchen, remaining close to the original concept of a prix fixe menu based on classical Northern Italian cooking. Anderson’s menu will feature many of Genoa’s signature dishes featuring hand-made ingredients from grissini and pasta to ricotta and salumi, as well as locally sourced produce, meat and seafood. For the design, the team took a unique collaborative approach and hired a trio of local design and architecture firms to give the traditional restaurant an updated and modern expression.
“The old Genoa will be visible both on my menu and inside the dining room,” says Anderson. “We consulted with former owner Kerry DeBuse to include many of Genoa’s well loved recipes. We also kept the footprint of the existing dining room but updated the design with sustainable fabrics, handcrafted glass chandeliers and handmade ceramic dishes.” The dining room design incorporates creative touches from many local artisans, as well as a higher level of sustainability. “We went more modern, but we didn’t lose the old world charm of the former space,” says Anderson. “We also considered our environmental footprint in all our choices and chose earth-friendly materials when possible.”
Former owner Kerry DeBuse remembers when the first organic greens were added to the menu in 1983 when no other Portland restaurant was partnering with local farmers. “Genoa also imported the first prosciutto in the city and raised the bar for quality service and special occasion dining,” says DeBuse. “Our opening menu in 1971 was seven-courses for $7 which is hard to believe today.”
With a long history of mentoring Portland’s creative culinary talent, many of the city’s best chefs honed their skills in the Genoa kitchen going on to open restaurants and catering businesses throughout the city.
Thirty eight years later, Genoa is working to offer the same commitment to ingredients cooked in the classic traditions found throughout Italy. Executive Chef David Anderson recently spent a month traveling through Italy exploring the region’s markets and kitchens and gaining inspiration for the slow-food cooking methods. Anderson fuses a modern approach to cooking with the time honored traditions that made Genoa a respected name in the near and distant food community.