The Hotel Grand Stark, which originally opened with Submarine Hospitality restaurants in 2021, is about to get some new tenants. Where Grand Stark Deli’s cheery Wes Anderson-esque aesthetic once welcomed diners, the Italian restaurant Grand Amari is switching things up with a darkly intimate and swanky feel. And just off of the lobby area, Little Bitter Bar will offset its sibling restaurant with a casual 1970s Milan party vibe. The restaurant and sibling bar, which are expected to open in late April, are the first new projects to debut from the Olympia Provisions hospitality group since the group was formed by the lauded meat company and restaurant.
The Olympia Provisions team, with co-founder and culinary director Nate Tilden at the helm, drew inspiration from travels in Italy and Italian restaurants around the world to manifest Grand Amari. The rustic Italian joint will have a cafe menu during the day, serving coffee and items like panini, and at night, will transition to Italian steakhouse-style dishes such as pork Milanese, branzino, bistecca alla fiorentina, and handmade pastas. Keeping the new project all in the family, executive chef Katie Roe will migrate to Grand Amari from her current post at Olympia Provisions Southeast and all of the restaurant’s pork products will be sourced from Olympia Provisions.
Restaurant and wine director Jessica Hereth will showcase a selection of Italian vintages and over 60 amari, which will be pushed on carts for tableside service. The Italian herbal liqueur is made with a variety of herbs and roots, thus producing diverse and numerous expressions, including the bittersweet Averna and the sharply bitter Fernet. At Little Bitter Bar, amari will be categorized by region for drinkers to explore the digestif, which will be available neat and in several cocktails. Hereth will also suggest amari pairings with main dishes.
“I’m excited to deep dive into Italian wine producers who are showcasing both the traditions and eccentricities of their regions while also building an expansive but approachable foray into the dynamic world of amari,” Hereth wrote in a press release.
On the opposite corner of the hotel from Grand Amari, Little Bitter Bar will carry the torch of a pizza dough recipe that was developed at Castagna, the storied Portland restaurant where Olympia Provisions co-owners Tilden and Elias Cairo first met. Twelve-inch Neapolitan pizzas will be fired in an imported Italian dome deck oven and accompany spritzes from the bar or be sent upstairs as a room service offering. Pizza will make up the backbone of the bar’s menu, which will be rounded out with antipasti like fritto misto, arancini, and charcuterie served with grilled focaccia.
Olympia Provisions, which has been in business since 2009 and spawned a handful of restaurants bearing the company name, recently formed its own hospitality group after recognizing a need to cultivate a more focused culinary direction within the company. After Tilden closed his downtown destination bar and restaurant Clyde Common in 2022, he stepped into the culinary director role at Olympia Provisions’ restaurants and folded his Spanish restaurant Bar Casa Vale into the group.
“Eli and Nate have had this historical experience working side-by-side in the kitchen together, and now they’re back together working side-by-side on developing these new restaurants and expanding the OP empire,” says Olympia Provisions head of brand and marketing Mallory Pilcher.
Grand Amari and Little Bitter Bar will open at 509 SE Grand Avenue.