The space at 428 SW Madison Avenue has undergone a complete and lengthy makeover. Once the long-time location of Leading Floral, it has been turned into Castor, a rustic bar and restaurant influenced by the French Countryside. Castor—the French word for Beaver— will serve seasonally appropriate “Northwest-fresh” comfort foods that are prepared with a French influence.
Bruce Biehl, the founder of Eugene Wine Cellars and the b2 wine label, is the owner of this new Corvallis establishment. Castor’s general manager, Evan Deffenbacker, and lead bartender, Lilia Jumel, have also been heavily involved in the planning and implementation of the restaurant’s vision. Both Deffenbacker and Jumel have many years of experience in the food and wine industries, and were previous employees of the Oregon Electric Station located in Eugene.
Originally from New Orleans, Lousianna, Executive Chef Danielle Lewis moved to Oregon right after Hurricane Katrina to pursue a French Culinary degree at Lane Community College. She describes her cooking style as French cuisine with a Southern comfort food influence. An example of one of her Castor menu creations is locally sourced, seared, and chilled Albacore tuna served with pickled blueberries.
The word around downtown Corvallis has been that this Madison Avenue space would become a wine bar.
However, Deffenbacker corrected that by saying, “We do not want to be labeled only as a wine bar. We are going to have something for everyone. If you want a gin & tonic, we got you. Each and everything we are offering has been very thoughtfully curated.”
The new eatery will feature a wide variety of wines, but also a full bar with local microbrews and domestic beer, appetizers, entrées, and desserts. With a full off-premise liquor license they are also able to offer bottles of wine to go.
Deffenbacker went on to elaborate on the restaurant’s mission, saying, “We are being very generous with our margins in order to get high quality items in front of people at a reasonable price. We want to work with family-owned companies and not big conglomerate companies. The menu will be good-value oriented. Value is a really important thing to us. We are doing this because we love it. Castor is our passion project.”
The doors will open for an invite-only soft opening on August 4th. For the rest of us, Castor will soon be open for happy hour and dinner. There are also plans to offer lunch and a weekend brunch in the future, hopefully as early as September. Bon Appétit!
Castor is located at 428 SW Madison Avenue and will be open from 3:00-10:00 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday, and until 12:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
By Jennifer Moreland