Fourth-generation chef and restaurateur Christopher Czarnecki's Joel Palmer House has become a fine dining destination for wine country day trippers from around the world, showcasing Oregon truffles, farm-fresh and foraged fare, an epic Oregon-only wine list, and a true sense of historical place.
This spring, Czarnecki and his wife Mary will beef up Dayton's culinary options by doubling their foodie footprint with the Barlow Room Bar and Grill.
"We wanted to do something casual because, as chefs, we love to cook, but not everything we come up with is at the fine dining level," shares Christoper. "The Barlow Room will be an outlet to be creative at a more modest price point. Also, Dayton is set to become the Valley's #1 destination town—it's the gateway to the Eola-Amity AVA, where hundreds of acres were purchased by some really big wine players recently."
Set to open in May—three blocks away from the Joel Palmer House and across the street from the historic Courthouse Square Park—the 60-seat Barlow Room will boast exposed brick walls, historical photos, wide-window views of downtown Dayton, and lights turned down low: "Mary and I miss the dark, steakhouse feel of restaurants from the East Coast," Chris explains. "We've also got some cool leather couches and a 1000lb safe that my great-grandfather bought that we're going to use as an end table."
Early menu planning reveals a continued dedication to sourcing meat and produce from the surrounding Yamhill Valley—think tenderloin steak bites with house made steak sauce and fried onions, and a killer house Reuben with made-from-scratch corned beef. The Barlow Room will be open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday.
On the wine front, Chris revealed that the team is working with Dayton's Seufert Winery to produce a private-label wine for the bar and grill. "It'll be a southern Oregon blend of non-Pinots called 'The Big Red One'," Chris tells us. "The name reflects not just the style of the wine, but will also be a salute to the 1st Infantry Division—the unit I served with while stationed in Germany and deployed to Iraq. Proceeds of each bottle purchased will go to support veterans organizations."
Why Barlow? The tavern's name was inspired by the legacy of Oregon pioneer Sam Barlow, whose wagon trail over the Cascade Range would become Barlow Road—the route that would bring over 75% of the early immigrants to the Willamette Valley. With any luck, Czarnecki's new project will bring a few more.