photo by mary preiser potts
Meet Kevin Credelle and Alex Yost of OurBar, a brand new gathering place in downtown Washougal. Credelle and Yost met four years ago in a Boulder, Colorado, pub. They were drawn together by a common love of food preparation and occasional fine dining. OurBar is the culmination of years spent passionately critiquing restaurant experiences.
“We would say things like: When we open our bar, it’ll be like this…or that,” Yost said.
When they decided to open “their” bar, they wanted to create more than just a place to drink. They wanted it to be a place to build community, open all day and family friendly. They wanted the folks who came to eat and drink to feel that it was “their” bar, too. So, they hunted around for just the right name to convey this sense of community. In the end OurBar, with its double meaning, had just the right feel.
Both Yost and Credelle have a long history in the restaurant business. Credelle got his start in coffee shops as a barista and later worked at the Boulder Brewery. As well as being an avid beverage historian, he’s also a self-taught cook skilled in kitchen management and operations. Yost attended the Oregon Culinary Institute and worked with exceptional chefs in Portland, Boulder and San Francisco. Also in her background is a love of performing, which she later found useful working in open kitchens. This is how OurBar is set up as well, allowing them to interact with their customers as they work. In fact, they built a counter right at the side window where passersby can watch Yost expertly roll out pasta or bread dough each day.
The menu at OurBar is inspired mostly by family recipes and old recipes, re-imagined with seasonal ingredients. One of these dishes is the Flank Steak a la Plancha, made with ginger, hot sauce, potatoes and parsley.
“A lot of traditional recipes that we like from the 40’s need to be updated to include ingredients that just weren’t accessible at the time, like fresh ginger,” Credelle explained.
A tall bookshelf lined with cookbooks sits in the front window, evidence of their broad interest in cooking.
They’re starting their menu with coffee and breakfast. Later, they’ll add Sunday brunch, then lunch and finally dinner. Because many of the recipes on the menu are rich and buttery, they’ve decided to keep the portions reasonable and the prices low so people can come back day after day and try new things. Most items on the menu are under $10.
“We’re a small operation, just three employees, so starting out slow, adding items over time, allows us to get a feel for the business and for the local food palate,” Alex said.
They intend to utilize local small farms as much as possible and, in the future, a small vegetable plot at their house just up the street.