Sad news for meat fans. Over on Portland Food and Drink
, Food Dude broke the news today that chef Jason Barwikowski has parted ways with Olympic Provisions,
the Eastside industrial restaurant and cured meat operation that he opened with Clyde Common's Nate Tilden, salami man Elias Cairo
and others in December 2009. "It's been a slow process; we've been quiet about it," confirmed co-owner Nate Tilden
. "He decided he wanted to pursue other avenues in the food business.
It has not been a big, stormy bad thing."
I've spend far too many hours hunched over the O.P. counter
devouring Barwikowski's amazing pork and beans or funky fish and veggie plates to not be truly bummed about this. The pairing of Barwikowski's inventive dishes (remember, he was also the original chef at Clyde Common and won the infamous Cochon 555
this year too) and Cairo's stellar proteins was a match made in meat heaven. Tilden confirmed that Barwikowski's sous chef Trevor Payne
has left O.P. as well—he'll be in the kitchen at Gabe Rucker's new Little Bird very soon. So, who will be behind the counter at O.P.? That'd be Alex Yoder, the evening sous chef at Clyde Common for the past year and a half.
"Alex worked under Eli and I at Castagna," says Tilden. "So throw in the Castagna element, but we're looking to keep the food very similar. Mediterranean flavors, simple preparations...."
Tilden would not comment on the rumor Food Dude has floated that the Barwikowski breakup had to do with O.P. planning to expand quicker than Barwikowski believed was wise. But Tilden did confirm that the O.P. crew has indeed leased the old Carlyle space in Northwest Portland.
"It's our new production space and we're shooting for a spring opening," he said. "We're putting in a 800-square-foot retail space. It's going to basically be a charcuterie bar."
I've got an email out to Barwikowski to find out when hungry locals might reasonably be able to expect to see him in Portland kitchen again. Now I know what I want for Christmas....
Image of Chef Jason Barwikowski courtesy of Plucchesi's Flickr stream.