Violetta, the Jeremy Niehuss-helmed Dwayne Beliakoff-owned "slow fast food" restaurant slated to open in downtown's Director Park back in November of last year and first delayed, and then, thanks to an exploding propane tank, really delayed, has just been pushed back to June. That's the bad news. The good news--for the brand, for Niehuss, for Beliakoff, and the hired shift supervisors--is that the restaurant's offshoot, a rolling truck named 'Etta, will be opening today, serving burgers, fries, soups, salads, and desserts, with the idea of expansion towards breakfast in the next few weeks in the back of Niehuss' oregonzola fry-happy mind.
Still, while an exploding propane tank is nothing to snicker at, there's a little curiosity as to a six-month delay. Beliakoff, in a note sent out to the staff, who may or may not still be staff, explains it all:
The City / Parks has confirmed that due to certain warranty issues with the damaged windows and interior pieces, the space has been completely stripped and they (and we) are starting over with the construction. It is no secret that the material selections for the cafe were quite impeccable-- but that just means that the lead time to replace these items is quite significant. All said, I have been told recently that they will not be delivering the space to us until late April, and we'll need an additional six weeks to transform her back to Violetta. Opening June, 2010, Violetta at Director Park.
In the interim however, we have been busy transforming a new mobile catering kitchen in to the "Etta," our bulked up version of a food cart. She's real, real pretty and we'll be able to serve our natural burgers, franks, soups and salads, hand-cut fries and limited desserts. She'll be at home Monday through Friday, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, at Director Park.
Our plan is to expand within the first few weeks to include our breakfast items, and then go "roaming" late night to serve the post bar crowds downtown. If that goes well, and once Violetta is up and running in June, the Etta will be seen at as many outdoor festivals and events as we can squeeze her (in to).
Chef Jeremy and team will be staffing Etta with the assistance of the four supervisors, and Lindsey and I will continue to work on the catering and Box Lunch programs at the commissary. As soon as we have expanded the hours a bit, we'll contact you to offer those shifts if you are sill available.
Many of you have let us know that you have taken or are pursuing work elsewhere, and we wanted to stress how we understand yor decision(s). While we hoped you could stick out a January or February opening, we certainly do not expect that you wait until June. If you are able to supplement your incomes now, please understand that you all will have employment waiting for you early this summer. We appreciate all of the dedication to the project, and hope to be working together very soon.
Please come visit us at Etta starting Monday-- and cheers to Slow Food- Fast!
No official word on whether Caffe Vita, the Seattle-based coffee chain that's holding on to various real estate all over the city and was slated to bring master barista-ing to Violetta's back door, will still be involved. Staying tuned, as ever, and tips, as ever ever.
·All Previous Violetta Coverage [Eater PDX]
· Violetta [Official Site]