McMinnville’s new KAOS eating and drinking complex is now firmly ensconced in the Willamette Valley. Its three-part rollout is officially complete, following the opening of the Oregon Wine Village, whose sister businesses, the new Barberry fine-dining restaurant and 1882 Grille, opened earlier this year in June and May respectively.
The food and wine-centric development on the corner of NE Third Street is certainly the most ambitious undertaking on Mac’s main drag since the opening of McMenamins Hotel Oregon in 1998. KAOS anchors the east side of the street, serving as a gateway of sorts to the up-and-coming Granary district. Wedged into the corner of NE Galloway Street, the three-story space combines fine-dining at the ground-floor Barberry, casual pub grub and microbrews upstairs at the 1882 Grille, wine-tasting at Oregon Wine Village, and three shared outdoor patios with a full bar.
The $3.4 million project is the brainchild of co-owners Dustin Wyant (Recipe) and Bob Emrick, who hope to snag wine country visitors by putting all of the usual grazing and sipping experiences under one roof.
"We’re blurring the lines between what’s food and what’s wine," said Wyant on a recent tour of the Wine Village. "Here you can do pairings, tastings, flights, make it a lunch stop or your next tasting appointment, all in one."
To enter the KAOS complex patrons first pass the metal-topped sidewalk tables and webbed chairs on the ground-floor patio for the Barberry. Here chef Colin Stafford (Olympic Provisions) oversees a menu that looks like it ran away from a fancy, urban steakhouse. Starters ($10-$18) include beef tartare and a roasted scallop alongside a chunk of smoked pork belly on a ginger-carrot puree. Entrees ($17-$28) start with a daily, housemade pasta and rotisserie chicken and then head straight to the steakhouse broiler for five different cuts of beef, two of which are cut and aged exclusively for the restaurant at Carlton Farms. There's also one pork dish.
Desserts by former Papa Haydn chef Ruth Moser include crowd-pleasing six-layer cakes and a generous cheese plate. The extensive wine list breaks down pinot noir by local AVAs, with several outstanding and rare bottles, and glass pours from the likes of Big Table Farm and ROCO.
Inside are more tables for the Barberry, and the freshly minted Oregon Wine Village, a dark, paneled space with long, communal tables that shows off Wyant’s relationships with local producers. Flights ($20) of local wines often include the total production of a craft winery or winemaker’s pet project, such as Matzinger-Davies Sauvignon Blanc and newcomer Cyler Varnum’s "Zolnikov Vineyard" Chardonnay. Wyant also rolls out specials like a 2006 Archery Summit horizontal ($100), and bottle prices include several for $20 or less.
The warren-like space continues in back to a full bar for cocktails, a garden, and a patio with giant televisions and space-warmers for watching fall sports. Enter on the Galloway Street side for an elevator and stairs that go up to the 1882 Grille and its list of microbrews, cocktails and family-friendly pub grub that cleverly offers a showdown between tavern burgers (thin, juicy, with iceberg lettuce and American cheese) or bistro burgers (thick, hearty, on brioche bun). Meatball sandwiches, pizza and pot pies fill out the menu, and a third patio space mimics McMenamins’ glorious rooftop bar, without quite as much of an expansive view.
Service so far is amiable, if trying to figure it all out. Finding experienced servers in the valley who can handle the demands of fine-dining as well as the traffic flow that KAOS is built for will be a challenge for Wyant. Parking is limited to seven spots in the back and street parking.
The website has hours, reservations and menus.