Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Christine Van, with husband Jayme Van, opens new pizza place in downtown Molalla

After having worked in the pizza industry for nearly a decade, Christine Van was not really looking to get back into it. Until she saw the place in downtown Molalla that would become her own restaurant — Bear Creek Pizza and Pub.

"After I saw the place, I couldn't resist," Christine said.

PMG PHOTO: SANDY STOREY - Bear Creek Pizza and Pub is now open at 111 E. Main St. in Molalla.

Christine has worked in the restaurant industry for 26 years, managing for more than 21 of those. She has worked for The Wild Hare Saloon, Wanker's Corner, Olive Garden and Round Table Pizza.

She and her husband, Jayme Van, had been searching for a couple of years for a restaurant or bar to purchase and make their own, but nothing seemed to pan out, she said.

Wanting to move to the Molalla area, the couple happened to be looking at real estate when they came across the vacant restaurant at 111 E. Main St. and saw the sign for lease.

The rest is history.

Christine spent weeks working on her dough recipe, landing on a "Northwest style," which, as Christine described it, is a thin, crispy crust with cornmeal that is still thick enough to hold up all the toppings.

They opened the doors June 15.

PMG PHOTO: SANDY STOREY - The doors to Bear Creek Pizza and Pub in Molalla opened June 15.

The menu has specialty pizza options, create-your-own pizza, boneless and bone-in wings, garlic twists and cinnamon twists. Bear Creek also has beer, wine and a full bar.

The Vans already have started the process of getting video poker, and some more additions will come in the future — like an extended pub menu, games for the kids and a lunch buffet, which they're not allowed to have during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's been a really weird experience trying to open a restaurant during a pandemic, but all in all it's gone rather well," Christine said.

The staff is made up mostly of Molalla High School students, plus one very special manager, Amanda Webster, without whom, Christine said she could not have done this.

So far, Christine reports that the community has been supportive, with business neighbors coming by to offer their services or hang flyers in their windows to help promote the new restaurant. The families of the staff have all been in as well.

"Everyone has been so patient and kind," Christine said. "We are confident that this was the right choice for us and are glad to become a part of this community."

For now, until the Phase 1 curfew is lifted, Bear Creek is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Kristen Wohlers
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