July 30th, 2020
The new Mother’s Bistro restaurant location features a main dining area overlooking an open kitchen. (Josh Kulla/DJC)
When Lisa Schroeder opened Mother’s Bistro in 2000, she may not have imagined that the restaurant would become popular enough to outgrow its space in downtown Portland’s historic Concord Building.
Fast forward to 2018, however, and she and her eatery are expanding from one National Register of Historic Places building to another, located just blocks away. Mother’s will open early next year in an 8,000-square-foot ground-floor space in the Multnomah Hotel building, which now houses the Embassy Suites by Hilton. R&H Construction is building the Scott | Edwards Architecture-designed renovation in a space formerly occupied by Portland Prime restaurant.
“Now you can actually walk in the room,” Schroeder said. “Mother’s is just really cramped quarters, so I think the most exciting thing is when you walk inside the door you can walk in and get to the host stand and not be smashed around; so that’s exciting.”
Crews are currently busy with work including installing kitchen equipment, painting, refinishing, and refurbishing the electrical system.
Nick Rudeichuk, a tile installer with Provenzano’s Tile Installation, cleans freshly laid tile in a hallway at the new Mother’s Bistro location in downtown Portland. (Josh Kulla/DJC)
“When we came in we had a whole bunch of holes punctured for new lights, so we’ve gotten out of the ceiling, inspected, we are closing in this bakery,” said R&H Construction Superintendent Mike McGrew. “It was a private dining area previously, so we tore out some tiles and put in new walls, retiled it and put in a floor drain.”
Most significantly, crews are installing an ornate new bar to replace one that existed in the old space for decades.
“We were trying to use the existing bar, but during floor demo we exposed what should be a die wall that was just plywood and was all rotted out,” McGrew said. “So we demoed all of it and we are doing something completely new.”
Demolition work started in October. The discovery of the rotted wall pushed back the completion date a full three weeks into 2019, Schroeder said.
“It was really nice before we had to take it apart, too,” she said.
One other significant find also had the effect of changing the interior design plans. When demolishing the old floor materials, which contained carpet layered on top of hardwood panels, plywood and slate tile, it was discovered that the original, ornate terrazzo flooring actually was in superb shape for being nearly 130 years old.
Wood paneling in the entrance to the new Mother’s Bistro is being refinished and will remain in place. (Josh Kulla/DJC)
“It was a vein that went all the way into the lobby of the hotel,” said Adam Rainey, senior project manager for R&H Construction. “So when the slate came up it was like, ‘wow, look at this beautiful floor’.”
Some people would cover it, Schroeder added.
“I was trying to live with it the way it was,” she said. “But once this floor was revealed, to me, it’s just too exciting. How can I not live with this? As imperfect as it is, it makes it just that much more interesting.”
The project is not restaurateur Schroeder’s first renovation in a historic building. The former owner of Mama Mia’s Trattoria oversaw the renovations of that both that restaurant’s space in the Waldo Block building on Southwest Second Avenue and the current Mother’s space in the Concord Building.
“Every time I’ve done a remodel, and it’s been a few, I always go in thinking ‘Oh, I won’t have to do this’,” Schroeder said, referring specifically to the need for a new bar. “Every time there’s always something and you have to go into expecting that there’s going to be something unexpected. You just never know how much.”
Brent Buss, left, and Bob Tuck, both journeyman sheet metal technicians with Pacific Stainless Products, cut a panel out of an old shelving rack in the kitchen.
A layer of stone terrazo flooring original to the Multnomah Hotel building was uncovered after contractors removed carpet, wood flooring and several layers of tile.
Thad Rogers, a journeyman painter with Rogers Painting, applies a coat of paint to the ceiling of the new Mother’s Bistro restaurant.
Journeyman painter Arrick Sneed, an employee of Rogers Painting, applies wood finish to paneling inside the new Mothers’ Bistro restaurant.
New stonework will feature prominently in the new Mother’s Bistro Restaurant being built in renovated space on the ground floor of the Embassy Suites by Hilton hotel.
The kitchen at the former Portland Prime restaurant is being overhauled as Mother’s Bistro prepares to occupy the space.
Journeyman painters Arrick Sneed, left, and Thad Rogers, both employees of Rogers Painting, work around the server station in the new Mother’s Bistro Restaurant space.
Brothers Dima Rudeichuk, right, and Nick Rudeichuk, both tile installers and employees of Provenzano’s Tile Installation, clean a freshly laid set of tiles on the job site of the new Mother’s Bistro restaurant.
A small children’s play area will be included in the dining area at the new Mother’s Bistro location.
Title: Renovation under way for popular downtown eatery
Posted By: DJC Oregon
Author: Josh Kulla
Date: December 4, 2018
Link: Original Article