3 Ways to a Creative & Community Conscious Kitchen

Posted on: July 18th 2016

Pub food. What images does that invoke in you? Fried batter? Microwaved hot dogs? Fish and chips dripping grease into a questionable looking ramekin of something resembling tartar sauce? Mmmm… Okay, admittedly, traditional pub food is delicious — but one thing that it’s usually not, is exciting. So it’s no wonder that when our Portland Pub opened in the summer of 2008, the draw for most people was what was in our pints, not on our plates. Black Butte Porter, Fresh Squeezed IPA, The Abyss Imperial Stout — we’re proud to boast a line-up of some of the Northwest’s most-loved beers.

But it might surprise you to learn that we also serve some of the highest quality, most innovative food that region has to offer. From hand-made sausages and pasta, to fresh-baked bread, everything that can be made in-house, is. Even the desserts are made entirely from scratch, carefully crafted in the wee hours of the morning to be enjoyed later that same day. It’s pub food, elevated.

“Consistently providing food we are excited about is our number one priority,” says Portland Executive Chef, Jill Ramseier. And it’s true; together with quality, the most important aspect of Chef Jill’s kitchen is clearly creativity. At first glance, the menu doesn’t look too unexpected… There’s a pretzel, burgers, salads and fries, but upon further inspection, the thoughtfulness and talent that went into crafting each item becomes readily apparent. Chef Jill has a high standard for what goes on her menu, requiring that it not only be exciting, but also locally and sustainably
sourced. In a world where frozen, mass-produced meals are much easier and cheaper (and expected), how (and why) does she seek to raise the bar on pub grub?
In her own words…

Local — “There is an extra cost from partnering with local purveyors instead of buying frozen, but it is worth it and is reflected in the quality of the product. Local often means it’s fresher, which tastes better, and is better for you. Not to mention we are keeping business local: Money spent within a community generally stays within that community.” (Not to mention that Portland Creamery’s chèvre comes from award-winning show goats… seriously, Sweet Fire, try it.)

Sustainable — “[Sustainability] is a responsibility everyone shares, but with a business our size, and the amount of product we go through, it is so important to recycle, compost, eliminate waste, and conserve resources.” And, no big deal or anything, but we’re kinda winning awards for it…

Exciting — Twists on classic dishes and entirely new ways of using familiar ingredients is a staple of Chef Jill’s kitchen. It’s no wonder then that when talking about the talented team behind her, she smiles wide and her eyes light up. “I love that each Sous Chef brings their own spin to things, and each has contributed items to our diverse menu.” A menu that regularly changes with the seasons not only keeps the creative wheels turning behind the scenes, it also
means that there is always something new and exciting for our guests to try!

Many of us, in and out of this wackadoo city, are familiar with the Portlandia “Local Chicken” skit (“Colin had a lot of friends, other chickens as friends?”) — and while the show’s writers lampoon the ridiculousness of taking “local consciousness” too far, they tap into something that many Portlanders have come to value about their town: Commitment to community.

Here at Deschutes, there is a firmly-held core belief that we have a responsibility to help “Build a Healthier Society.” It’s a mantra that resonates through all of our decisions, from the charities we support, to the food that we serve; from the benefits we provide our employees to the relationships we cultivate with local farmers. We buy locally, and operate sustainably because we’re not just an Oregon company, we’re Oregon citizens.

So drop in, say hello, and see what new dishes we’re excited about! We might not have time to recount to you the details every chicken’s social life, but we’re more than happy to talk about our menu, and our mission — where your food is coming from, and where the money you spend with us is going to! It’s more than pub food, it’s Portland food, and that’s definitely something worth sharing…

-By Doug Reynolds, Portland Pub Server Extraordinaire


Photos by Kelsey Murphey, Portland Pub Brand Ambassador