mrjeffmccarthy.com

We Had a Great Run, Goodbye Ten-01.

We used to joke around in the kitchen about how nice it will be when someone finally writes a review for Ten-01 that didn’t mention it’s rocky start.  The highly anticipated opening followed by the complete panning, the splashy new place with kangaroo rump on the menu.  Fast forward to a year or so later, Jack Yoss shows up and starts throwing down some of the best food this town was eating.  In the following two years he builds a kitchen crew like none other that I’ve worked with, and turns the place around.  During the busiest times, it was fucking machine, churning out beautifully presented delicious food and serving amazing cocktails by Kelley Swenson.  The beloved Erica Landon and her remarkable wine list, a staff that cared about each other; about what they were doing, and it reflected in the service.  Some not to shabby pastries plated pleasantly by yours truly.  Oh, the salad days, the best of times at the best restaurant in town.  At least thats’s what we all thought.  We wanted to make a special place, and those who experienced it knew that it was.

Two and some odd years later the restaurant is closed, doors locked and shades drawn.  No one who survived those salad days was suprised.  At least no one who took a second to look around and think: how does this place stay open night after night while doing only sixty or seventy covers?  A place that size, in that location, serving the world class cuisine paired with an award winning wine list, killer cocktails by people who actually cared about what they were doing, that shit all costs money, folks.  Money that Portlanders weren’t willing to spend.  The two Chefs who followed Jack tried desperately to give Portland “Fine Diners” what they wanted, wondering why P.F. Chang’s up the street is packed for lunch and dinner day after day.  Wondering why mediocre burger joints have a line around the block as their cooks slave to brunoise veg that may never get eaten.  A Michelin trained chef making corn dogs and basket after basket of truffle fries.  The details of the closure are unimportant, at least in my eyes.  The best explanation I got was read not on the web, twitter, facebook, eaterPdx or Food Dude.  It was read it in the eyes of the hardworking owner.  A profound sense of loss and shame, a sorrow too deep for words.  His eyes groped for words that would not come, could not, but they searched the now empty, dusty corners of the place anyway, searching among piles of boxes amidst dejected looking cooks trying to find their pairing knife or quenelle spoon in the carnage.  It would be so easy to rage at the higher-ups, to point and shout “WHY?!”  But when I really ask why, I have to ask: Why was my paycheck paid every time?  Why did the powers that be dump money onto a project that was clearly flailing? Why did they see fit to keep the doors open in these impossible economic times?  Presented with those questions I can only look inside, as any staff member of Ten-01 should.  Why did we stay open?  Why did our investors keep paying us, month after month?  Because they believed.  The had faith in a solid, happy, loyal crew.  Ten-01 was a prodigy child raised by a mother that did not want it, a fine dining experience in a city overrun by food carts and happy hours.  You can’t get world class at a Busch league price, folks.  Most of you will never try Chef Michael’s sous vide tempura egg, or his fucking perfect charcuterie.  Wine that may never grace anyone’s lips collects dust in an unmarked warehouse.  One of the most beautiful rooms in the state now stands empty, a cavernous tomb being carved up for scrap.

To all the great people I worked with at Ten-01, I will truly miss you.  More of a family style work environment I will probably never find.  I wish you all the best in the days to come.  Let’s all pool our unemployment checks and throw a ripper of party.  Let us celebrate the closing of one of life’s chapters as we turn to the next.  I for one will look back on the past three years with a smile; I had it good in the Pearl and so did ya’ll.


34 Responses

  1. tony martin said on 10 Jan 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Jeff, I’m really bummed to see the restaurant went under. Wish I could have made it up there to try it out.
    I’ve experienced a few career setbacks myself and I can only say that you should continue doing what you love and things will work themselves out.
    Take care,
    Tony

  2. mrjeffmccarthy said on 10 Jan 2011 at 11:51 pm

    These words mean a lot from you Tony; thanks, Chef.

  3. Mr. ChristopherDaley said on 11 Jan 2011 at 12:57 am

    Well said my friend. What an amazing place it was.

  4. mrjeffmccarthy said on 11 Jan 2011 at 1:00 am

    Thanks, Chris. And how the hell are you by the way? And how’s the snow?

  5. tony said on 11 Jan 2011 at 5:59 am

    Dammit!!!
    I wanted to get there. Best of luck to you. Follow your dreams and passion Jeff!

    Tony

  6. Damien Baker said on 11 Jan 2011 at 8:32 am

    Well said my friend.

  7. Kate said on 11 Jan 2011 at 9:38 am

    It’s very sad that is closed…..hope you’re doing okay.

  8. mrjeffmccarthy said on 11 Jan 2011 at 11:28 am

    @tony- Thanks man. You have no excuse to come and check me out wherever I land, bro. Ima hold you to it.
    @Damien- Thanks bro. We had some good times didn’t we?
    @Kate- It is sad. I will soldier on!

  9. Jacque said on 11 Jan 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Cool summary… Especially all the kudos given to the Boss and investors–it’s a great point and so true! Ten01 was truly a paradigm of a restaurant that could execute all components of fine-dining with near-perfection..a legacy of Portland not to be forgotten!

  10. ScottAD said on 11 Jan 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I am proud that my wife and I got to sample several of your awesome desserts. It sucks that this happened,but I guess that is the nature of the restaurant business. The one thing I saw over and over is “You have to try what Mr. McCarthy is making!”

    Whatever happens, be sure to let us all know where you are going to be lending your talents to next so we can come and enjoy it. I hope you find something good soon, man. If not, will you be leaving PDX? (Too soon to ask?)

  11. mrjeffmccarthy said on 11 Jan 2011 at 4:41 pm

    @ScottAD- Thanks for all the kind words, as usual. You’ve been a long time supporter, definitely one of the original faithful readers. Don’t worry, just stay tuned. I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve.
    @Jaque- Thanks, girl! It was good to work with you, I hope all is well.

  12. Savanna said on 11 Jan 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Really well written Jeff. I will miss you most of all scarecrow.

  13. onstad said on 11 Jan 2011 at 9:06 pm

    If Jeff leaves Portland, I’ll [Hank Hill voice] kick his ass.

  14. Kara said on 11 Jan 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I love you Jeff! I will miss eating your desserts and seeing your smile. I agree with you, the Jack days were awesome, and we were like a family. The front and the back of the house was a team. Ten 01 was an experience that I am happy to have been a part of.

  15. Meghan said on 12 Jan 2011 at 3:11 am

    Well written as always Jeff!! It was a great family to work with. So many wonderful memories. I miss you all and wish I could be at the unemployment party. Drink a few or a lot and I will be there is spirit. Cheers!

  16. mrjeffmccarthy said on 12 Jan 2011 at 5:18 pm

    @onstad Dammit Bobby!
    @Meghan- Thanks, miss you guys!

  17. mrjeffmccarthy said on 14 Jan 2011 at 2:56 pm

    @Kara- I love you, too girl! You and Didier are some of the best people I have met in my life. I hope to see you and your family soon!!
    @Savanna-Thanks, Vanna, I’ll miss working with you too.

  18. tony said on 8 Feb 2011 at 6:02 am

    Still wating for you to bounce back Jeff!

  19. Steve said on 8 Feb 2011 at 11:15 am

    Hi there Mr. McCarthy!

    My name is Steve Walters and I recently started blogging at http://www.eatingbangkok.com, which is currently being updated with recipes, but in the next few months will be my vehicle for covering the food and restaurant scene in Bangkok Thailand.

    I am now in the process of meeting as many food bloggers as I can and I found your site http://mrjeffmccarthy.com recently and was pretty impressed. I’ve added your site to my Foodie Blogs list here: http://www.eatingbangkok.com/foodie-blogs/ and would also like to add you to my blogroll.

    If you could add my site to your blogroll and write back to let me know it has been added I will add you to mine as well and the exchange would be greatly appreciated!

    As you might imagine I am very excited to get moved to Bangkok and get started on covering the food scene there as I feel it is an area that isn’t well covered by English speaking bloggers. I plan on adding loads of great reviews, pictures and even video and will be holding contests as well. It should be fun, entertaining and informative for everyone that visits.

    Thank you so much in advance for adding me to your blogroll and I look forward to reading your posts (I’ve subscribed!) and maybe even featuring some of your own posts as I do plan on a weekly roundup of Thai themed recipes and posts from other food bloggers.

    Warm regards,
    Steve

    P.S. If you are on Twitter I would love to have you as a follower and I follow back:
    http://www.twitter.com/eatingbangkok

  20. mrjeffmccarthy said on 8 Feb 2011 at 11:42 am

    @steve- Thanks for the interest, I’ll happily add you to my blog roll. Best of luck in all your endeavors!

  21. mrjeffmccarthy said on 8 Feb 2011 at 11:44 am

    @tony- Aren’t we all, buddy? Don’t lose faith, I’m making moves…slow, deliberate moves…

  22. Goodbye Ten-01 | An Exploration of Portland Oregon Food and Drink   said on 23 Feb 2011 at 4:02 pm

    [...] You can read Jeff’s blog here. It’s full of excellent recipes and is good reading. [...]

  23. Ellen Green said on 23 Feb 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Dear Jeff,
    I am Ellen Green, owner of SuperDogs. I am so sorry for your lost, and want to tell you that you did an exemptional job keeping the place going, and there should be no shame or sorrow. “a fine dining experience in a city overrun by food carts and happy hours. You can’t get world class at a Busch league price” - how well said. Best wishes to you. If you ever want to make some couture hot dogs, please let me know ;-D

  24. mrjeffmccarthy said on 24 Feb 2011 at 1:36 pm

    @Ellen-Thanks for reading. I LOVE hot dogs. I look forward to eating at SuperDog.

  25. Rick Hamell said on 24 Feb 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I wish I had a chance to try the place out. Unfortunately, my own unemployment kept me from doing so, until I literally got a job. A week after you shuttered. And only three blocks away.

    Good luck in your next venture!

  26. James said on 24 Feb 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Yes - we were really disappointed to see Ten-01 close. We arrived in Portland last year used to a city where premium food comes with a premium price but that’s okay because .. well as I said it’s premium (Melbourne, Australia BTW). We loved Ten-01 from our first visit and it became our favorite dinner spot. We tried to eat there two/three times a month including our NYE dinner this year - which we were not to know was to be the last night.

    So thanks for all the fine food, good wine, exceptional cocktails and great service. Kudos on sticking on in there too and good luck on future endeavors!

  27. mrjeffmccarthy said on 26 Feb 2011 at 4:26 pm

    @ rick- thanks for the support and thanks for reading!
    @James- Thanks so much.

  28. Daniel Sternbergh said on 1 May 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Oh man, an occasional visitor to portland here, and my Facebook posts from our last visit in Aug. 2009: “almost never goes for dessert over cheese but Ten01 (Portland,OR) pastry chef is definitely best-in-show! WOW!” and “I can’t believe we’re back at Ten01 for dessert. Pastry chef Jeff McCarthy has *totally* made me his be-yotch!” We have friends heading to Portland in a week and I wanted to send them to Ten01 to experience your art. Where have you landed?

  29. mrjeffmccarthy said on 1 May 2011 at 12:45 pm

    @Daniel-Thanks for all the kind words, sir. Check out the latest posts on this blog to answer your questions!
    Landing at KitchenCru.

    Ten Top.

  30. Eric Suniga said on 9 Jan 2012 at 7:07 pm

    What an amazing place it was.!!!!!!

  31. mrjeffmccarthy said on 12 Jan 2012 at 11:33 am

    @Eric Suniga- Indeed Chef, especially when you were there.

  32. Jeff McCarthy : A Fortieth Birthday Cake said on 28 Mar 2013 at 3:16 pm

    [...] are two of the most beloved people I know, an integral part of the family that adopted me at Ten-01. The party included much eating, drinking, and merriment, and I did a good amount of what I like to [...]

  33. Jeff McCarthy : Tentop Presents: Will Preisch said on 3 May 2013 at 3:59 pm

    [...] Portland. He’s worked all over town, most notably Park Kitchen and Le Pigeon. I met him at ten01 when he was using his time off to stage around town. His considerable experience has caused him to [...]

  34. Kellye said on 18 Aug 2014 at 8:32 pm

    It’s hard to find experienced people in this particular topic,
    however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

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