To shoot our Rue Cooks series for this year’s issues, we knew we needed two things- fantastic light and gorgeous tableware. One space immediately sprang to mind, and since you can’t see much of it in the issue, we just had to share a full tour of Octavia here.
In many ways, Octavia’s design is a departure from what came before. Architect Michael Baushke of Apparatus Architecture says, “The previous restaurant that occupied the space was very dark and atmospheric. Dark colors, thick carpeting, plantation shutters on the windows, an abundance of heavy ornamental wood trim, etc. We wanted to go in the complete opposite direction by stripping out the heavier aesthetic and exposing the original materials and features, including the old-growth dougfir flooring and a row of transom windows that had been boarded over.”
Inspired by a sparse and open Shaker aesthetic, Michael focused on creating a clean calm. Those previously boarded over windows are now one of Octavia’s best assets, enhancing the openness “both the openness and clarity of the space, as well as the evening street presence of a well-lit interior.”
Chef and owner Melissa Perello didn’t want to get rid of everything from the restaurant’s previous life, however. “Our restaurant space – before Octavia – was the home of such celebrated restaurants as Meetinghouse, Quince, and Baker & Banker. When this space was Quince, they had a similar table set-up in the lower kitchen. Our Chef’s Table is somewhat an homage to that, as well as an opportunity to offer guests an interactive experience with our staff and the ability to observe a thriving professional kitchen in action. It’s a lot of fun.” In fact, no matter if you dine at the chef’s table or in the main dining room, you’ll feel like you are enjoying a meal in the home of an excellent host. Melissa says, “In many ways, my cooking and the menu is reflective of the design – elegant, but approachable at the same time. Refined home cooking taken to the next level with the quality and freshness of the ingredients we are cooking with.”