“PDX ITS BEEN REAL - ITS NOT YOU ITS ME!” Holler and Bullard chef Doug Adams wrote on his Instagram, on Aug. 31.
In the post, Adams revealed that for the last few months he hadn’t been working with Holler and Bullard Tavern, explaining that he took a “step away from Holler Hospitality.”
As new Portland chicken and burger joints go, Holler had a significant amount of buzz behind it when it opened this past April. Initially planned for a June 2020 opening, the fledgling chicken spot drove around in a food cart in a series of pandemic-inspired pop-up gymnastics to connect foodie fans to the shop’s long-promised fried chicken sandwiches.
The Adams and Jen Quist vehicle was notable, not only due to Adams’ history as a Top Chef finalist but because Holler was essentially a less formal, kid-friendly version of one of their other ventures, Bullard Tavern. Adams’ fried chicken wasn’t a regular item on Bullard’s menu, but the Sunday nights where it ran as a special were always bustling.
Considering the typical Bullard price tag—appropriate for the restaurant inside the historic Woodlark Hotel but still charging $68 for a rib-eye steak—the Sellwood chicken and burger spin-off seemed like an easy win.
After a request for comment on Adams’ departure, Quist and Holler Hospitality responded to WW with a fairly robust press release that included a frequently asked questions-style Q&A, as well as introductions to the restaurant group’s new lineup of chefs:
“Over the past years, under Adam’s mentorship, John Baxter (Chef de Cuisine of Bullard Tavern) and Carlos Lopez (Chef de Cuisine of Holler) have been positioned as leaders in the kitchen, and will step in during this interim,” the press released stated. “Pastry Chef Danielle Bailey heads up Holler Treats and Bar Manager Ariana Vitale leads the Abigail Hall team.”
In keeping with Adams’ social media post, Holler Hospitality stated that Adams is more focused on being a father than continuing in the culinary industry, including a statement from him that read:
“I love being a chef, but when the pandemic hit, it was as if there was a reset button that was hit on all of our lives. A starting over, in a sense,” Adams wrote. “I am a new father, and my dreams have been put into perspective. I feel deeply that my time should now be devoted to my family.”
In the setup before the pandemic, Adams ran Bullard and Quist ran Abigail Hall, the Woodlark’s cocktail bar, but now that Adams has departed Holler he was quick to emphasize Holler Hospitality’s new status as a woman-led group.
“Due to the personal nature of this transition, I wanted this announcement to come from me—as a partner and as a friend,” Quist wrote. “During Doug’s time at Holler Hospitality, he has contributed to building a foundation that is both steady and dynamic, and because of that, this goodbye invites great opportunity for our talented and confident team to grow and restructure.”