At 24-years-old, the prettiest girl on her Dundee block, Willamette Valley favorite Tina's has cleaned up nicely for new owners Michael Stiller and Dwight McFaddin, both long-time employees who joined forces in June to purchase the fine-dining restaurant from founding owners David and Tina Bergen, and promptly propel the old girl into a total makeover. Now, the dining room has fresh paint throughout, new curtains and — as of last week — new hardwood floors that make Tina’s look twenty years younger. Restrooms also got a plumbing and fixtures update.
Alums to Owners
Stiller worked his way up from server to floor manager/pastry chef from 1997 to 2011, and returns to the fold after managing Nick’s Italian Café in McMinnville. McFaddin has been a part-time Tina’s server for 22 years, and will continue to work the floor on weekends, while Dawn Stiller, Michael’s spouse and another Nick’s alum, handles service the rest of the week. Norma Buchholz, who cooked at Tina’s for six years before moving to Riccardo’s Ristorante in Lake Oswego, comes back to work the kitchen in her first stint as executive chef.
"We’re all in," said Michael Stiller, "enjoying learning and being terrified together." Food-wise, the terrified team is returning Tina’s to her fine-dining, locally sourced roots, paring down the dinner menu to a single page that starts with appetizers ($9-$14) like seared sea scallops with shiitake, cream, lardon and thyme, and a signature housemade pate of chicken and pork that is served on a board with pickled shallots, greens, and a heavenly, house-made cherry dijon mustard. Describing the food as French country cookery to match with the local pinot noir, Stiller adds that as much as possible is house-made, from sauces and demis to sausage and breads.
Entrees ($29-$42) include a solid, hearty roasted chicken with truffle butter; a lamb rack with hazelnut persillade; tenderloin of beef and duck. Seared Oregon albacore tuna is the only fish dish, and goat cheese souffle with braised kales and tomato coulis satisfies the pacifists. Stiller whips up comfort desserts like chocolate soufflé cake and boccone dolce, a whipped cream with chocolate and berries. The hope is to add a late-night dessert and coffee service on weekends later in the summer.
The wine list draws from Stiller’s long association with local winemakers and his just-closed Vino Arcanum bottle shop in McMinnville that had racks of French, Italian and Spanish bottles. A full bar squeezed into the front of the dining room gamely offers up cocktails and espresso.
Visit the new Tina's for dinner nightly; lunch begins tomorrow, July 21. Check here for hours, numbers and reservations.