New Skyland Pub owners opt to maintain a good thing
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What: Skyland Pub, under new ownership of Ashlee and Jake Whitney
Where: 3175 S. Troutdale Road
Hours: 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday
If running four restaurant-bars to make a living seems like a stress-laden minefield of flaky employees, unruly customers and endless situational fires to put out, you wouldn't know it by talking with Jake and Ashlee Whitney.
The Boring couple, who recently purchased Troutdale's venerable Skyland Pub from Stayce and Jason Blume, seem to take their latest acquisition — Jake owns three other bars in Gresham — in stride. It helps that Jake and Ashlee got a helping hand with the transition when they took over from the Blumes on Monday, Oct. 14.
"This bar, in particular, is running so smoothly," Ashlee said. "The food program is already perfect, so we thought it would be so great to come in and learn and really grow this spot."
The Whitneys, who grew up in Gresham, were enamored enough with the cavernous, multifaceted pub at 3175 S. Troutdale Road, they simply called the Blumes one day and asked if they were ready to sell.
"I've always liked this space," Jake said. "It seemed the next step up for us. Other places we looked at were a little smaller, but we wanted a bigger staff and a food focus — a real restaurant/bar."
Ashlee drives her husband's point home.
"We're addicted," she said with a big grin. "This is the bar of our dreams, really. There's really nothing we don't like about it."
Because of that, the couple plan few, if any, changes. They're keeping the existing staff of 22, and amenities like multiple TVs to watch games, six pool tables, shuffleboard, video games and 20 beer taps. Skyland's extensive menu — featuring burgers, steaks, prime rib, fish and chips, sandwiches including the popular reuben, and an array of creative appetizers and salads — will remain intact. All items will continue to be made fresh and cooked to order.
"On Friday we have a prime rib dinner that brings in a big crowd," Ashlee said. "We have a full-service breakfast every day of the week. Those are real popular events here." Skyland opened in 1992 and the Blumes — both of whom had become employees there — purchased it in 2010. Ready to start a new chapter and spend more time with their daughter, Samantha, the couple was happy to hand off their operation to the Whitneys.
While it's early in the new ownership, so far the transition's been seamless and customers have been as dependable as ever. Not bad for an old-school sports pub located near a berry field and Troutdale Marketplace, a retail center that only recently has seen an uptick in durable tenants.
"Business is great. We feel like there's no rhyme or reason this location works, but it's kind of an iconic spot in East County," Ashlee said. "There's a lot to do here: shoot pool, shoot basketball, shuffleboard, air hockey, arcade games, video poker — and we broadcast all the sports games."
The Whitneys spend as much time as they can at their new venture, but are definitely not there to baby-sit staff or clientele.
"The employees are the face of the bar. We're not trying to take anything from them," Ashlee said. "They are the stars of the show, and we're their support. Everybody loves them."
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