Zefiro co-owners Christopher Israel, Monique Siu and Bruce Carey at clarklewis
LA FAMILIA: Twenty years ago, on a nondescript street in Northwest Portland, one place changed everything when it comes to the local restaurant scene.
That place was called Zefiro.
It is not an overstatement to say that Zefiro was ground zero for a new of wave of Portland eating establishments, the same ones that now get all the accolades and national attention.
In 1990 though Portland wasn't considered much of a dining destination. But that year, Zefiro started doing something new and we all knew it. For many of us it was our dining room du jour, someplace we joined friends over salads you could eat with your hands and risotto unlike any other place in town. And as for celebrities? It was not unusual to see Gus Van Sant dining with Uma Thurman or Matt Dillon. In 1991 The Oregonian deemed it Restaurant of the Year. In her glowing review critic queen Karen Brooks said the following: "And Zefiro, more than any Portland restaurant, represents the shifting cultural scene. Everything about its mood and menu signifies a turning point in local culinary aesthetics."
Fast forward to this weekend.
On Sunday night, Zefiro co-owners Bruce Carey, Christopher Israel and Monique Siu—who now all operate their own very successful restaurants—gathered with friends, family and former employees of Zefiro for a 20th Anniversary celebration at Carey's clarklewis. Chef Dolan Lane recreated Zefiro's famous caesar salad and placed it alongside trays of oysters and other delights that made Zefiro so unique.
The clarklewis walls were covered in hundreds of old photos (many of which I shot at Bruce and Chris-thrown pool parties) and Zefiro's ad designer, Heather Dunn, placed the bread bag she designed next to newspaper adverts and menus that spanned the decade.
I was really happy to see everybody. I think everybody was.
You see, this wasn't a class reunion.
This was a hand-picked family who all have gone on to do amazing things in their own right. I think it was nice for them to see each other and remember the good times at what is still, for some of us, Portland's best restaurant.
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Last Updated (Monday, 20 September 2010 14:23)