March 21st, 2013 | MATTHEW KORFHAGE Food & Drink |

Montavilla Bar Tanuki Closes to Head off Oregonian Review

The Oregonian reviews them anyway.

dish_tanuki_3902_matthew korfhage_articleIMAGE: leahnash.com

Montavilla sake bar/foodie haven Tanuki has temporarily closed today, apparently to head off a positive review by The Oregonian that would bring more diners to the establishment.

Owner Janis Martin posted an open apology on Facebook to her "patrons, regulars, guests and fellow travelers on the path of J-punk oddity," further stating that Tanuki would be closed in order to deal with licensing issues brought about by additional customers and media classification of the four-table, two hot-plate izakaya as a restaurant.

"For the love of God man," Martin wrote on Tanuki's Facebook upon discovering that the Oregonian had just printed their review, "tell me they didn't print it despite our closing."

Willamette Week printed a similarly positive review within the past year; the Portland Mercury published a rave in February 2012. 

Willamette Week was unable to immediately reach Martin for details, but will update if additional information emerges. In the meantime, here's Tanuki's message about their closing: 

 Hi guys, we will be closed again tonight. I am very sorry and now you get a full explanation why.

Dear patrons, regulars, guests and fellow travelers on the path of J-punk oddity

Thank you for bearing with us as Tanuki adjusts to the repercussions of the media attention paid to us in the last few months. 

You see, Tanuki was never meant to be a conventional “restaurant.” In my self-indulgence I perhaps overestimated my ability to create something that was somewhat odd, my ability to make people understand this difficult-to-categorize thing, and my ability to hold the reins steady and stay on course-- even factoring in the human element of the outside world coming in through the door each day with their own notions of what this beast should be.

Businesses exist in a world of licenses, permits and regulations that have no love for the schemes of a person who does not care to be forced into a mold. For years I have tried to exist as a sake shop with tasty sake drinking food that did some other things as well and to comply with regulations that insist I choose to be a single easily categorizable thing. As we have received more and more reviews declaring us a restaurant, followed by restaurant customers with foodie expectations, this has become very difficult to do. And recently, as I begged a prominent local paper to not review us as a restaurant until we finished the updates necessary to comply with relevent regulations to no avail, it became impossible. 

So we've been shutting down abruptly when necessary and trying to adjust.

And we were closed yesterday, and we will be closed again today trying to deal with a larger measure of conformity than I had planned. 

This is not a rant against the licensing bodies in the state of Oregon. While I disagree with many of the regulations and policies in place, I have been treated with respect, patience and kindness by all of the agents I have encountered. Nor is is meant to be a slur against the many writers and bloggers who have enjoyed their experiences here and shared their thoughts with the public. They have also been more than kind and I realise that many worthy chefs and restaurateurs would greatly appreciate and rightly deserve exactly the attention my little sake shop is given. I do not mean to sound ungrateful.

I thank everyone who has tried to come in and found us closed for their patience with us. We are doing our best to meet expectations we never expected anyone to have of us while remaining within the boundaries of what we are legally allowed to do with our existing licenses, four tables and two electric hotplates. To those who have supported us for a long time now, taking us just as we are- you cannot be thanked enough. 

See you all soon, 
Janis, Tanuki
 
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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