Monday, May 24, 2010

Spak Expands

Word has come in that Alba Osteria, the Portland outpost for the deliciousness that is Italy's Piedmont, will be adding a lunch spot to the collection of storefronts that anchor the west end of the Hillsdale neighborhood.

Owner Kurt Spak is a master of the pastas of the region, including tajarin and the tiny envelopes filled with veal, pork and rabbit called agnolotti dal plin. Lately he's offered some of those pastas for sale at the restaurant, and it seems he's taking the logical next step by opening a retail outlet and deli. Not to mention adding a much-needed lunch option to relieve the strain on the few places in the neighborhood that are open at mid-day.

I've got a call in to see when it might be opening, so stay tuned!

Update #1: From a just-published piece in the of-the-moment Hillsdale News, Spak's new place is to be called Caffé Autogrill after a chain of restaurants dotting Italy's autostradas. From the article:

"Spak said that in addition to serving Stumptown coffee and espresso, Café Autogrill [sic] will offer sandwiches and soup and beer and wine. It will also feature baked goods from Baker & Spice, Picklopolis goods from Three Square Grill and pasta from Alba Osteria."

Update #2: And from a conversation with Chef Spak himself, who, by the way, sounds very excited about the project, said that while the place is primarily a coffee shop, it will feature panini, "tramezzini" (cold sandwiches), beer and wine. He'll carry the above-mentioned pastas to go, plus pickles from the inimitable Picklopolis and breads from Baker and Spice down the street. He let it slip that Julie Richardson of B and S is chomping at the bit to bake some specialty Italian pastries that will be exclusive to the café, so expect those to be the new "it" desserts to show up at your next potluck or picnic.

He's planning to throw the doors open on June 7, with hours will be from 6:30 am till 6 pm seven days a week. Then the weather warms up he'll take advantage of the sidewalk with evening hours till 8 pm.

Update #3: 6/8/10 - Just got word from a neighborhood insider that the Autogrill is indeed open for business…so go in and say hi to Kurt and crew and tell them GSNW sent you!

Photo of Kurt Spak from The Oregonian. Photo of the Autogrill by Eamon Molloy.


The Guilty Carnivore said...

This is great news!

Kathleen Bauer said...

I know lots of folks in the area are excited to have another option for lunch…plus having an outlet for his crazy pastas will make the "What's for dinner?" problem so much easier to solve!

josh? said...

Thanks for the heads up. Will see you there. :)

Nettie said...

PLEASE tell me that Chef Spak didn't say "paninis".

Kathleen Bauer said...

Josh, let's make a date…

And no, Nettie, that was me. I will fix right now!

chriss said...

Thanks for all of updates. And Nettie ~ thanks for educating those of us new to panini. I was one of those who used the plural "panini" instead of the singular "panino". After reading your comments, I looked them up and now know correct usage.