Chef Katie Nordgren


Former Café 440 chef Katie Nordgren returns to Bier Stein after 14 years

For 14 years, head chef Katie Nordgren ran the kitchen of the popular restaurant Café 440. When the restaurant closed its doors in August 2022, Nordgren says she received a phone call from an old friend. 

It was Bier Stein’s beer baron, Dave Stockhausen, calling Nordgren to see if she would be interested in working at the restaurant. For Nordgren, it was more than a job offer — it was an invitation to return to a restaurant that she helped open years ago. 

“My ears perked up and I got happy,” she says. “And I said, ‘Well, absolutely.’” 

Now that she’s in charge of the Bier Stein’s kitchen, she says she’s going to include some menu items that were popular at Café 440 and as new dishes but without overhauling the menu. Bier Stein’s attraction, she says, is its tap list and rows of fridges filled with bottles, and she hopes to see the menu pair well with beer. 

Nordgren had her start in the restaurant business working in the West Brothers high-end restaurants, which included Mona Lisa Ristorante and Three Square Bar. She says that provided her with a culinary foundation, as she started as a caterer and worked her way up to line cook and even filling in for the chef at times. 

As she worked her way up the kitchen hierarchy, she says she thought about going to culinary school, but changed her mind. “I was having so much fun, just learning from my co-workers and chef at the time,” she says. 

Nordgren says she joined Bier Stein in 2005 when the bottle shop and restaurant first opened at 345 E. 11th Avenue. And today’s menu still has some dishes that she created back then, such as the beer cheese soup. 

Now that she’s returned to Bier Stein, Nordgren says the restaurant has added items that she intends to keep, such as the jägerschnitzel, a breaded pork loin that’s covered in a mushroom gravy. “I’m going to roll with what they were doing and add my twist on it,” she says. 

Although Nordgren wants to keep some of her future menu additions a surprise for customers, she’s offering a few teases. A menu item she plans to have is a grilled meatloaf sandwich, which old Café 440 fans will recognize. Meatloaf sandwiches may conjure images of leftovers with layers of ketchup, but Nordgren says the secret to hers is a bacon and maple glaze. “I like to hit all the notes, kind of sweet and savory, so that you have balance in your dish so it’s not one note,” she says. 

And she wants Bier Stein to be a place for people to get their soup fix. Since she joined the restaurant, clam chowder has appeared on the menu, and it’s been popular with customers. What makes her clam chowder different, she says, is that she adds cooking sherry and bell peppers to it. “It’s your typical New England clam chowder, but the cooking sherry and bell peppers give it a little more fullness of flavor,” she says. 

Soup may be a hard sell during the heat once summertime hits, but Nordgren has some ideas that will work with the season. One is a tomato citrus soup that she says is a light and fresh dish. “And I have a few of the cold soups under my sleeve, too,” she adds. 

Of course, Bier Stein’s pull is those beer taps and bottles, Nordgren says. So steering the kitchen for a beer-centric restaurant for Nordgren could mean adding traditional German food and other dishes that go well with pints — or pitchers — of beer. 

“I want you to pick something on the menu, and we can help you find a great beer that goes with it or you could have your food inspired by your beer,” she says. “I’d like it to be a reciprocal relationship like that with the food and beer.”

Bier Stein is at 1591 Willamette Street. Hours are noon to 11 pm Thursday through Saturday, noon Sunday through Wednesday. Closed Tuesdays. For more information, visit 

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