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A Taste of Italy in Portland Introducing Grand Amari

A Taste of Italy in Portland Introducing Grand Amari
A Taste of Italy in Portland Introducing Grand Amari

PORTLAND, ORE.—Old Italy meets Portland in a new restaurant and bar now open in the Hotel Grand Stark in the dynamic Central East Side of the city.

The Grand Amari restaurant, Café Amari, and Little Bitter Bar bring an elevated approach to Italian flavor, thanks to a remodel spearheaded by Portland’s own JHL Design in collaboration with Jessica Hereth of Olympia Provisions and Nate Tilden, Culinary Director of Olympia Provisions and noted restaurateur of Clyde Common, Bar Casa Vale, Spirit of 77 and Richmond Bar.

Garnering inspiration from the Olympia Provisions team’s travels to New York City and experiences abroad in Italy, JHL Design created a chic, sexy, intimate space for dining and drinks that celebrates the classicism of the historic hotel.

Calling on the timeless elements of wood, metal, and marble, JHL Design created layered, statement-making sophistication atop the existing white shell of the hotel’s first-floor interiors.

“It was exhilarating to bring new life to this space inside one of Portland’s historical buildings,” says Holly Freres, principal of JHL Design. “Our goal was to create a refined interior that respects tradition. Working with the Olympia Provisions team, I feel that we accomplished that. It’s gratifying to see diners finding new ways to delight in this venerable space.”

A Taste of Italy in Portland Introducing Grand Amari
A Taste of Italy in Portland Introducing Grand Amari

The historical structure, originally built as a hotel in 1906, has returned to its roots in a grand way as the Hotel Grand Stark, one of the stylish hotel offerings from Los Angeles-based PaliSociety. With the opening of the Grand Amari, design-centric hospitality—and Portland dining—rises to a new and decidedly tasteful level.

Guests can start with the perfect spritz and antipasti (think fritto misto, a platter of salami with grilled focaccia) at Little Bitter Bar, then move into the intimate, sexy dining room of Grand Amari for a grilled artichoke, handmade mortadella agnolotti, and aged bistecca alla fiorentina while tasting through an extensive wine and amari list.

“I’m excited to deep dive into Italian wine producers who are showcasing both the traditions and eccentricities of their regions,” says Hereth, who was named a Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year.

After an extraordinary meal, diners can retrace their steps to the Little Bitter Bar for a nightcap, perhaps anticipating a stop in the morning for a cappuccino, cornetto, and a salami panino—or maybe moving into the hotel permanently.

With this level of taste, why leave?

About JHL Design: Known for polished, versatile designs that shape and transform human experience, Portland, Oregon-based JHL Design Inc. has amassed a passionately devoted clientele. JHL has decades of experience in hospitality, retail, and industrial designs, as well as high-end, single-family residences. Specialties include wineries, restaurants, and other high-end hospitality projects. JHL Design projects have been featured in Architectural Digest, Luxe, the New York Times, Travel + Leisure, GRAY, House Beautiful, and Interior Design, among other outlets. Website: Instagram: @jhldesign


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