On a slushy Tuesday afternoon, amidst an alive and bustling lunch crowd, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the owners of one of the latest additions to Corvallis’ restaurant scene. Bellhop has made a home for itself where the late BrewBQ resided, and since its opening in June of 2016 has become a popular downtown destination. Owners and chefs, Ian Hutchings and Brian Parks, had a desire to serve up comfort food with quality ingredients in an inviting, upbeat environment — and they’re doing just that. Though their experience lies more in the fine-dining realm, their vision for Bellhop was to take that higher level of training and apply it to more approachable, accessible food.
“We wanted to be everyday. Very casual…[To reach] a better cross section of the community than we’ve done previously… It’s a reflection of a way that you want to cook for your friends…you wouldn’t cut any corners,” said Parks.
Hutchings added, “A lot of people think that when you want to make those comforting foods, they’re not deserving of being handmade.” Bellhop isn’t following that line of thinking. Making French fries, for them, is a four-step process. And it shows.
Corvallis never seems to tire from brewpub food, and, though Bellhop does offer chicken wings (only during happy hour, and only $1), Hutchings and Parks wanted to take a different spin on casual dining. It was important to them to showcase quality products that are available locally and to bring them to the community through their approachable menu of classics, such as meatloaf with swiss chard and mashed potatoes.
In reference to locally sourced produce, Parks commented, that “For us, it’s the easy button. Those products speak for themselves. There’s just no reason to not be using them.”
Open for lunch, happy hour, dinner, and brunch on weekends, Bellhop is bringing refreshing, casual dining to Corvallis in a way we’ve all been looking for. Prices range from $5 to $9 for sides, sandwiches hover around $12, and entrees and pasta are $12 to $15. Go for the early-bird special of $2 oysters, stay for the house-made bucatini. Later on, perhaps nestle in at the bar for a slice of chocolate pie.
By Leah Biesack