Posts Tagged Breakfast

Check out Dutch’s in Portland!

10425889_302287569961642_4858488550516288946_n

 

With a city that is known for it’s great food scene it can be intimating for a new restaurant to open.  Dutch’s opened quietly back in November and since then has been getting rave reviews ever since.  Nestled in between Arcadia and Slab on Preble street Dutch’s is a made from scratch breakfast and lunch style restaurant.

Ian Dutch is a Belfast native with over 20 years of cooking experience in Boston, San Francisco and Nantucket and attended The Culinary Institute of America.  The couple have even been personal chefs for a family in Nantucket.  With 30 years combined experience the couple invite you in to their new restaurant to try comfort food like you have never seen.  Stop in and try some cheesy grits or warm peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches for Breakfast.  Try a Fancy Tuna Melt or an their take on an old fashioned grilled cheese!  Enjoy, and show them some Portland support!

10915218_321801171343615_7899939400139590412_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see full menu and website

Facebook

 

Check out Dutch’s at 28 Preble St in Portland!  

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Tags: , , , ,

Chris Beth and The Ohno Cafe- The people make the place even greater.

548789_4178104101407_1260787141_nWhen I sat down with Chris Beth; owner of Ohno Cafe in Portland I actually forgot for the first forty-five minutes that I was there to actually conduct an interview, and not shoot the breeze over a few beers and laugh most of the time.  As time passed we had much more in common than I ever thought we would.  Both from small towns in Maine, both played high school football, and both have an extreme love for life.  I’m a huge believer that successful businesses are maintained by honest, friendly, and genuine people.  Chris is undoubtedly all of those things.  Having only met him a few times prior, Chris always had a smile on his face and was filling up the room with his laughter.  Beyond being extremely jealous of his massive beard the first time I met him I asked him what he did for a living, and he casually said, “my wife and I own a cafe in town.”  I said, “what one.”  He then said “Ohno cafe.”  I immediately wanted to let him know how much everyone raves about his place, and how once you go you’re hooked for life.  But I simply replied, “#6 amazing.”  I think that is how most people talk about the cafe.  Everyone has a story or their favorite sandwich number, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone that ever didn’t thoroughly enjoy a meal or experience at the cafe.  Chris and his wife Lori have run the cafe for almost 5 years now, and have made quite a name for themselves within the loyal Portland community.

Ohno Cafe

Courtesy of OhnoCafe.com

After hearing Chris’s story you can’t help but be a fan of the guy.  He is genuine, and more than likely you can relate to him in some way.  It also doesn’t help that the sandwiches and food his cafe produces are downright delicious and amazing.  Chris says, “Ohno cafe is different things to different people.”  “I have customers that I’m sure have never had a bite of my food but will swear up and down we have the best wine selection in Portland.  “Then we have people who are so focused on getting their coffee and breakfast sandwich they may never notice the beer cooler” he says.  Which makes me think, why doesn’t everyone approach it that way?  He preaches consistency.  That is the key to business.  “Why would anyone return if they ate a great sandwich on their first visit and an “ok” sandwich upon return” he asks.

One thing that also stood out to me about Chris was how much he gave praise to his employees.   When I first sat down before we could even speak he dug into his wallet and laid out a 3 foot long receipt from the company party he took his employees to on Sunday night.  Showing it to me proudly at what was consumed by the crew.  Throughout the interview he took pride in telling me how most of them have been with him since the beginning and took pride in the relationships he has with them all.   Immediately, it became evident again why this is such a successful place.  He stated, “I hate when any of them introduce me as “boss.”  “I’m not here to boss anyone” he says.  He goes on to say that, “people that come in pick up on the good vibes of that, and the regulars that come in every do just that, come EVERY day.”  “I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to have that kind of loyalty, so I won’t try” he says.

The #1 at Ohno

the #1 at Ohno

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after a few beers I decided to dig a little deeper to find out how this ridiculously outgoing, friendly, and humble dude managed to open and run one of the most well known cafes not just in Portland, but in all of Maine.

 

So you grew up in Brunswick and played football?  Where did you attend college and what did you study?  

Chris:  I went to Maine Maritime Academy from 1994-1998 graduating with a B.S. degree in power engineering technology.

 

After college what did you do for work, and what did it teach you about wanting to settle in Portland?  You also have a wife, any children?   

Chris:  I worked as a field service engineer until I was 31, working for a few different companies.  Mostly I was on the road servicing power plant equipment for a couple weeks to a couple months at a time.  Then it came to my attention the previous owner of Ohno cafe was looking to sell.  I quit my job and then worked for him for 8 months then eventually bought the place.  Whenever I was away from Maine, it always drew me back in, and whenever  I traveled around the country I continually compared Portland to wherever I was.  There’s no place like it for me.

My wife and I both grew up in Brunswick and went to high school together, and actually were friend.  The first day she got her license I went on a terrifying ride with her to Freeport!  I hadn’t seen her in ten years until I ran into her at the Free Street Taverna (now the Dogfish Cafe).  She said she never wanted to marry someone from high school, but here we are!  She is the reason I am doing this today, she ha supported me all the way.  She was able to quit her job, and now we run the business together…. pretty amazing, now that I stop and think about it.  No children, just a dog, a cat, and a business!

 

Growing up, I always dreamed of owning my own business.  Were you the same?  If so, what kind?  

Chris:  I always had dreams of owning my own business.  I’m an outgoing person and I saw myself owning a bar or restaurant, walking around shaking peoples hands and chatting about how great the place was.  I had no idea what owning a business actually was like.  It’s much harder than I ever would have imagined, but very rewarding at the same time.  I had various ideas about what kind of business I wanted it to be, but this kind of fell into my lap and I took the leap.

 

How did Ohno start?  The cafe has somewhat of a cult following in Portland.  Did you think long and hard about starting or did you just jump right in?

Chris:  Ohno Cafe was started by a very talented chef named Chris Cook.  He put together menu when he started and that has changed very little since the beginning.  I owe him a lot for starting the kernel for what we are today and teaching me how to cook good food quickly and CONSISTENTLY.  That is in all caps because that is the most important thing in becoming an established restaurant.  Consistency= success in business.

 

 What inspires your menu, and do you have any personal favorites from over the years? 

Chris:  Again, I am lucky to have inherited an amazing men.  But the old saying is true: “if it ain’t broke, dont fix it.” In five years we have only added 2 menu items., and none of the other menu items have been removed.  Ohno has very loyal customers and it seems as though every person has a sandwich they can identify with.  So, the weekly specials is what gives us a change to get creative and make something different.  Most of those are born by what we feel like eating that week or items that have been really successful in the past.  The #1 is as close as what we have to a “signature sandwich.”  My personal favorite is pretty simple #4 which consists of salmon which is super fresh and smoked right here in town at Browne Trading.

 

Ohno just passed the 5 year mark.  What are your plans for the next 5 year, or where would you personally like it to be?

Chris:  We have had goals since the beginning, but I find being rigid in meeting goals crushes creativity sometimes.  Things have happened pretty organically and and I’m happy to be where we’re at.  In the summers we are stretched really thin for space and we have to try to get creative to find room for the all the product.  We have toyed with the idea of opening a second location and we have even looked at a few, but it’s got to be the right space.  So who knows, maybe that will happen in the next 5 years…

 

Lastly, why do you love what you do, and why do you love Portland?

Chris:  There is no better feeling than when someone eats at Ohno for the first time and they say, “that was so good, we will definitely be back soon,” and you see them the next day!  Feeding people is a very connecting experience, so many of our fondest memories are associated with food, and being part of that is very satisfying.  As far as Portland goes… I’m not sure there is anything I don’t love about it, at least not enough to mention.  People in Portland are very local to art, music and food.  This has been thriving for years with no signs of slowing down.  Vibrant, I believe is the term people use.  It’ just an easy place to be yourself; a very easy going, laid back town full of mostly good natured folks.  Then there’s also the sea.  I bought a small sailboat a few years ago and I spend every possible minute I have on Casco Bay.  It truly gives me great perspective to be a tiny speck floating on the ocean viewing our fair city which has become what it is by the hard work so many, and I wonder… what’s next.

 

Chris is right.  Portland truly is what it is because of the hardworking, genuine people that make it up.  Chris is one of them.  I think the Ohno cafe is more of a feeling than just a place that has great food.  The people make the place.  Day to day is stressful for any person  There are bills, stresses of a job, relationships… anything really.  Walking into an unassuming cafe in the west end of Brackett street and being greeted by Chris, his wife, or any of the employees at the cafe can brighten your day, and give you something to actually not stress about even if its just for a few minutes.

I leave the interview thinking I’m lucky that I ran into another quality person/business owner who simply wants to make great food and keep smiles on people’s faces.  In 2014, this is encouraging.  Chris Beth, his family and the Ohno cafe do that for us better than anyone else in Portland.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Kyle Poissonnier

 

For more information on Ohno Cafe visit them online at:

http://www.ohnocafe.com

http://www.facebook.comohnocafe

 

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)

Tags: , , , , , ,