Forest Grove has welcomed plenty of newcomers in the last few years: New stores, new restaurants, new apartments and more. But the owner of a new modern and eclectic restaurant on 19th Avenue is no stranger to Forest Grove.
Phil Carow opened Phil's 1500 Subs on Pacific Avenue 30 years ago. This month he, and two other Forest Grove residents, opened up Black Dog Bar & Grill, 2835 19th Ave., just around the corner.
The new rock n' roll-themed restaurant boasts a full bar and a wide variety of food from spice-rubbed baby back ribs to hand-dipped fish and chips.
"This came out exactly how I had it in my mind," Carow said. "I think Forest Grove is really lacking something of this caliber."
The Black Dog is the work of three Forest Grove residents: Carow, Bob Moats and Forest Grove High School's track & field and cross country coach Adrian Shipley. The trio were originally looking to open up a small barbecue joint in downtown Forest Grove, Carow said. But when the large 19th Avenue facility became available — formerly home to Old Town Church — the three came up with a new plan: a full-fledged restaurant and bar that could seat up to 120 people.
The menu stretched beyond barbecue food as well. The three have hired a professional chef to help get the restaurant up and running. Shipley will step into that role in a few months, Carow said.
The menu offers an array of salads and burgers — including the "triple threat" topped with brisket, smoked pastrami and pork belly — sandwiches with varying smoked meats, cedar plank roasted wild northwest salmon, a slow-roasted half chicken, ribeye steak, brisket, pork shoulder, and more. Appetizers include black bean hummus, sweet potato fries, bruschetta and others.
"The food has been fantastic," Carow said. "It looks like something you would get in a restaurant in downtown Portland. … We sell a lot of the barbecue (food) but we tried to really hit a lot of buttons. We tried to stay away from just the basic run of the mill."
The Black Dog takes on a modern, industrial feel, but the decor leans more on the past with old rock records on the walls, and a framed guitar signed by all four members of rock group Led Zeppelin.
Carow said it's everything he, Moats and Shipley envisioned and more.
"It's met all my expectations," Carow said. "I'm just really happy with everything. It's kind of a step above whatever is in town right now as far as the feel, the quality, the food, the look, the vibe — just kind of a neat place."
The restaurant opened its doors on April 1, but the owners kept the news quiet to give themselves some time to work out the kinks, Carow said. It didn't necessarily go as planned, having to turn an upwards of 80 people away in one night. While things have started to calm down now, Carow said a quick turnover restaurant is not what he set out for it to be.
"I want people to understand it's not a come in and get your food in 10 minutes kind of place," Carow said. "It's a place where you can come in, have a glass of wine or a beer and a conversation. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to get your food and that's the way it should be — we are not trying to rush them in and rush them out. ... Everything in the kitchen is fresh — made from scratch. You can tell by the food when it comes out."
The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The bar is open until 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
Carow said he looks forward to creating a new spot for regulars in the growing city of Forest Grove — offering them something unique and more high-end.
"I just want to continue what we have set out to do: good food, good service, and a fun atmosphere," he said. "Just a good quality place where when you come in, you can expect to get the same thing you got last time."
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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