Image of VP's vino courtesy talkeatdrinkportland
As reported earlier this month, the Pearl District wine bar/restaurant Vino Paradiso is in the midst of a complete re-branding, inspired in part by former chef Paul Losch's departure to DOC and owner Timothy Nishimoto's hiring of Genoa alum Alex Bourgidu. But a change to report: According to Nishimoto, although the spot is still transitioning into a Piedmont-style Italian restaurant, Bourgidu will no longer be at the helm. "The timing isn't right," Nishimoto says.
In his place, ironically, come two more Genoa alumni: Newly named head chef Aren Steinbrecher worked under Cathy Whims for 12 years (and was the original pasta maker at Pastaworks), while sous chef Jason Bokros spent six years in the Genoa kitchen. Meanwhile, behind the bar, roving bartender Tommy Klus (most famously of Bluehour) will craft the revamped cocktail menu. According to Nishimoto, the new team's changes are expected to roll out gradually over the next six weeks, with an official launch (complete with new name) scheduled for late August.
To shift the restaurant's image more toward "food" as opposed to vino, the rebranded VP is soliciting suggestions for a new name, and Nishimoto has officially sounded the call for entries — with the winning name netting its source $500 cash and a $100 gift certificate to the new spot.
Per the official call that went out on the VP website: "Our goal is to have a name that reflects our commitment to food, kind of like Vino Paradiso says 'Wine.' Though the region of Piedmont, Italy, will be our new focus for the food, the name doesn't necessarily have to be Italian, but, it would be nice. Ideally, the new name will be easy to pronounce and remember. We want a name that reflects the warm, friendly atmosphere of the restaurant, but that is also unique and interesting." Should more than one person provide the winning moniker, the grand prize will go to the first entry, and more contest details are available at the official site.
· Vino Paradiso [Official site]
· All Previous VP Coverage [Eater PDX]