Quartet Finally Closes

Troubled South Waterfront fine dining spot lasted almost 14 months

INSIDE THE MOAT: Quartet's dramatic dining room has just as much flourish as its predecessor, Lucier, which famously featured a hamster-sized lazy river flowing through it.

Quartet, the South Waterfront's famously troubled fine dining restaurant, is closed. 

"We have decided to close the restaurant after a year and two months," owner Frank Taylor told WW. "We've decided as of today." 

The wildly ambitious, opulently decorated South Waterfront fine-dining restaurant opened in February 2013. The initial ownership included parking magnate Roy Jay, restaurateur Paul Keeler and Portland Prime owner Frank Taylor. 

It opened in a space previously occupied by Lucier, which WW once dubbed "the most colossal faceplant in Portland dining history."

Quartet's troubles started early, with a bizarre pre-opening-night "non-review" by a Mercury writer, who declared he would "not even place them in the top five restaurants at Disneyland." 

Willamette Week's review in May was only a little kinder, referring to the $16 hamburger whose "misshapen wagyu beef patty was partly medium-rare as ordered, partly raw," a Dungeness crab cake "with the iodine reek of cheap brown gulf shrimp," and a wine list that failed to disclose vintages. Other critical notices were similarly tepid.

In June, Quartet was the site of an address by Mayor Charlie Hales' police liaison Baruti Artharee in which he made suggestive remarks toward county commissioner Loretta Smith. "Mmm, mmm, mmm," he said at the restaurant—in reference to Smith. Artharee later resigned.

On August 20, 2013, Roy Jay filed a lawsuit against Keeler and Taylor, claiming that mismanagement was causing the restaurant to "hemorrhage money." Reports accrued about unpaid bills, including alleged nonpayment of $15,000 in magazine ads.

As of today, March 26, the restaurant finally decided to call it quits. "We've been open for year and two months," says Taylor. "We put our best foot forward, and we decided it's the best decision to close it."

For four years after the closing of Lucier, the multimillion-dollar monolith of a building stood as silently on the riverfront as the aftermath of a neutron bomb attack. 

It will now stand vacant again.

WWeek 2015

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