A Taste of Spain: Beso Bar & Bottle
TASTE OF THE TOWN
For all you wine drinkers out there—whether you’re a connoisseur boasting a refined palette, a casual drinker interested in the science of oenology, or just a social drinker looking for a cozy unpretentious environment to meet friends—there’s a fresh new face on the Lake Owego landscape. Having opened in September of this year, Beso Bar & Bottle is a little taste of Spain right here in Oregon!
Managing partner Vanessa Harris is an encyclopedia of knowledge, and a contagiously enthusiastic champion of wine, especially when it comes to lesser known, up-and-coming producers. Her passion is evident and manifest in every aspect of the business. You can’t meet her without being drawn into her wonderful and fascinating world, and yet she still manages to speak to your level of interest. She can inform the casual consumer just as easily and readily as she can “talk shop” with the epicure.
After growing up in Lake Oswego and earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Oregon, Vanessa went abroad to teach English in Spain. It was that experience which changed her life and inspired her new vocation. The culture, the history, the people, it was all more than she could’ve hoped for; and what was initially planned as a three-year stay turned into eight. So inspired by everything she was experiencing there, she honored the terms of her teaching contract, but then stayed and earned a Master’s Degree in Winemaking.
Returning to Lake Oswego afterward, she kept her eyes open for opportunities while working for friends and family as she managed Baldwin’s on A Street. That opportunity came with the confluence of two events: her becoming acquainted with Janine Tunay, a regular customer at Baldwin’s who was interested in opening a business; and her finding the perfect location at 148 B Ave. Ste. 200, where an old favorite gathering spot, Chuck’s Place, had previously existed.
From there it was “simply” a matter of realizing the dream and bringing it to life. Initially, Vanessa had envisioned more of a hybrid bottle shop and wine bar that would serve tapas—which were traditionally smaller appetizers / snacks in Spanish cuisine, although that definition has evolved over the years and now indicates a much broader scope of foods. However, as the business opened and customers were being served, it became immediately evident that the menu would need some expansion.
Answering the call with tenacity and resourcefulness, and in just three short months Vanessa transformed Beso into what it is now: a wine-centric, Spanish-influenced, elegant dine-in restaurant. She has a small-but-mighty staff, comprised of husband and wife team.
Salvador and Chely (her chefs, and the backbone of her kitchen), Leslie (hostess), Irene (sp
ecial events coordinator), and of course, herself. Salvador and Chely worked for Vanessa’s parents as chefs in their catering company for many years, and brought not only a wealth of experience and knowledge but also a sense of home. And they have all contributed and worked together to formulate the menu and the overall vibe of the restaurant. Vanessa admits she couldn’t have accomplished any of this without her staff.
Everything is fresh, locally-sourced, and naturally seasonal. There will always be a core menu, but as the seasons change, so too will their fantastic selection of entrées. Many of the ingredients come either from Our Table Cooperative (out of Sherwood) or Rubinette Produce (out of Portland). Chicken is free-range and organic, and the lamb kofta comes from the Carman Family Ranch in Eastern Oregon.
Wines come from all over the world, but Vanessa is a strong proponent of low-intervention products—meaning there is as little manipulation to the natural grape as possible. Some of these come from local wineries (Lingua Franca, Morgen Long, Audeant), some from the Loire Valley in France, and some from the Galician regions of Spain.
Beso Bar & Bottle is the culmination of Vanessa’s experiences living abroad. It’s a physical representation, an outward expression to be shared. Come down to enjoy the comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. Come down to enjoy the delicious food and wine. Come down to meet Vanessa and her staff, and be swept away by their passion and dedication.
Sign up on their website – beso.wine, for their newsletter, or follow them on Instagram to receive announcements about exciting upcoming events! Beso Bar & Bottle is located at 148 B Ave. Suite 200 in Lake Oswego. You can reach them at (503) 342-6282.