On a recent Saturday at the Corvallis location of Bo & Vine Burger Bar two boys, I reckon roughly six years of age, dug in to a large order of fries — cut in-house from russet potatoes, fried in rice bran oil, tossed in a little sea salt and served hot. I almost ordered the large fries for myself, but I was warned it serves five to six. I was glad I got the small — though in the face of this challenge these brave young Ulysseses stood tall.
I was at Bo & Vine because the Salem-based restaurant is planning a Eugene location, set to open sometime in February near Mezza Luna Pizzeria on the 900 block of Pearl Street downtown. Bo & Vine gives everything a personal touch, restaurant partner Brian Kaufman told me over the phone a few days before my visit, calling Bo & Vine a “high-end modern burger bar with a fast-casual vibe.”
“We have fun with it!” he says, like branding the buns of their burgers with the Bo & Vine logo. There’s also tasteful mid-century lighting that can turn different colors depending on the occasion. Orange and black in Corvallis, for example, or green and yellow in Eugene, one would hope. They also paint murals in each restaurant — simple line drawings — celebrating the community, and Kaufman says to expect one at the Eugene location as well.
I ordered the Willamette burger (goat cheese crumbles, smoked bacon, house made sweet chili sauce, caramelized onion, balsamic reduction and a spring lettuce mix). I also ordered those small fries because Bo & Vine serves their burgers a-la-carte. Next thing to do was pick out some sauces from “The Saucetender,” like chipotle aioli, spicy ketchup or Carolina mustard BBQ, each served in individual ramekins.
The Willamette is a well-seasoned, medium-well and loosely smashed patty on a buttery bun with an onslaught of juiciness, the greens with that perfect bitterness you get from real organic produce.
Other unique offerings at Bo & Vine, include a wine shake (pinot gris, strawberry purée, vanilla, whipped cream and dark chocolate) and a Stout & Cream (stout beer, Irish cream, chocolate drizzle, whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings). A recent special was Kevin’s Famous Chili Fries.
You can get as many sauces as you want at Bo & Vine, for the burger or the fries. I did both, because at Bo & Vine the sauce, it seems, is kind of their game. And I, for one, suggest you play it.
Bo & Vine will be open 11 am to 10 pm Monday through Saturday at 941 Pearl Street. For more information go to BoandVine.com. Opening planned sometime in February.