Launching on New Year’s Eve, Feast@316, a steak and seafood house located in downtown Camas, opened to a sold-out dining room.
“I wanted to bring something in that Camas didn’t already have – a steak and seafood house where people come in and feel at home. I wanted the restaurant to be a part of the community,” said McCusker.
Making Feast@316 part of the community is part of the design. Similar to adopting the historic, yet comfortable nature of the Camas Hotel into the décor and feel of Harvest, Feast@316 looked to the town for inspiration.
Machine parts, relics of the Georgia Pacific Paper Mill and an integral part of the town’s history, are displayed on the walls. Working with Omar Pleitez, a local artist, museum-quality paintings soften the industrial homage to the past.
Local businesses like the Liberty Theater, Lutz Hardware and Camas Bike and Sport offered McCusker recognizable bits from the town as well. The Feast@316 bar, which offers craft cocktails, is a massive single plank of sawmill lumber. Guests can lean on a bit of history as they sample hand crafted concoctions.
As with any successful restaurant, ultimate success lies in the food. McCusker draws from years of experience working in kitchens across Europe, the Mediterranean and New Orleans to craft his menus. Embracing the local region, he taps into Pacific fresh cuisine as well.
“I always encourage my chefs and the restaurants I consult with to draw from their community,” McCusker explained. “[I say to them,] what food is naturally sourced there? What are the flavors of that region? Then apply your personal touches to it.”
When asked of Harvest’s success, and now the successful launch of Feast@316, McCusker said, “It is all about the people. I don’t just serve food; I get to know who sits down in my restaurant. I talk with them, share with them. This is where we live, where my kids go to school. I think being human and a part of the community (along with exceptional staff) is what makes us successful.”
Bill Kolacek, general manager of Harvest and Feast@316, referred to the new restaurant as “upscale, yet not uptight.”
McCusker agreed, “It is arrogant to think you have to go to the city, like Portland, for fun [and] exciting food. You can have it right here in the suburbs.”
Perhaps best known for his restaurant consulting business, The Rustic Palate, McCusker knows what it takes to be successful. The chef has created menus and designed kitchens and concepts for more than 68 restaurants in the last five years alone.
When asked what’s next, Chef McCusker laughed and said, “Well, I’m exhausted. Oh yeah, and I’m creating my first cookbook.”
Feast@316 is located in downtown Camas, 316 NE Dallas Street.