Pearl Essence

By Sylvan Goldberg May 19, 2009 Published in the September 2005 issue of Portland Monthly

“It was like an archaeological dig in here,” says Eugene native Richard Glass of the former Bima and Fuel site occupied by his new restaurant, Olea. “I wanted to brighten it up—and to change it, to give it a different feel.”

Olea exudes an industrial chic that typifies the Pearl era yet redefines the Pearl aura. A large bar up front hosts layers of sight and sound, while the back of the house beckons diners to settle in for an intimate meal.

Glass gave executive chef Scott Shampine—formerly of Hurley’s—a clean slate with the menu. “I started the restaurant without a chef, so I figured it was a pretty open palette,” says Glass. The result is worth sifting through, from small plates like roasted beets with goat cheese and kumquats to entrées like beef short rib bourguignonne.

In short, Glass has unearthed a sensual feast. And patrons are digging in.