Owners to close Willamette Noodle Company, but ...

~update 7/9/12 new concept restaurant  is now closed


Owners to close Willamette Noodle Company; plans for new concept restaurant under way

The owners of Willamette Noodle Company are closing one chapter in downtown Salem’s dining repertoire – but with plans under way to open an exciting new dining experience in the same location.

Willamette Noodle Company will close 10 p.m. on June 16, having served thousands of satisfied customers in nearly 10 years. However, owners Robert and Janet Henry are developing a new dining concept and restaurant in the same location, 380 High St., NE. Details about the new concept will be unveiled at Battle Creek Liquor Outlet’s second anniversary celebration.

“We have a wonderful relationship with BCLO, which has been very supportive of our efforts to provide the best selection of locally-produced spirits in town,” said Janet Henry, president of WNC. “The timing of their anniversary celebration and our re-launch was a win-win. We get to unveil our new venture to their clients, plus we get to introduce our fans to the best place in town to purchase the spirits we serve.”

The event is open to the public and will be held 2-5 p.m., Saturday June 16 at the Liquor Outlet, 5107 Commercial St SE. The name of the new restaurant will be announced then, and Robert and Janet Henry will be on hand with tasty treats from the new menu.

“We are both excited and a little sad about this decision, but it’s the right one for us at this time,” said Janet Henry. “We opened the original Willamette Noodle Company in June 2003 in a tiny building at the corner of Broadway and Hood and later moved to the downtown location. Now we see an opportunity to change our culinary offerings to appeal to a new and diverse market in Salem that appreciates local, fresh, seasonal food.”

Sara Downie has been named as general manager of the new business, bringing energy and passion for improving the customer experience. Sara worked in management for Starbucks for several years and most recently managed a locally-owned coffee company. “We are very pleased to have Sara on our team. Her ideas and leadership are already making a positive impact,” said Robert Henry, chef/owner. The company plans to keep the entire Willamette Noodle Company staff on as the changeover is made to the new restaurant.

The new restaurant will feature local, seasonal and fresh ingredients, providing the culinary team a broad palette with which to experiment. In addition, the new establishment will include an expanded spirits selection, lounge area and interactive recreational area (with board games, cards, etc.).

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31 comments:

kirsten said...

I will miss Willamette Noodle so much! I'm a pasta addict, and thought the choices there were the best around. I'm excited for the new place, but I'll miss the "all pasta" atmosphere. :(

Anonymous said...

I'm actually pretty angry about this. That place is crowded 100% of the time so why do they need to change to attract a new market? Are my dollars no longer good to them? All of us faithful clients...we're chopped liver now? What they are saying to me is that even though they're highly successful, they need to find new and different clients -we're not exciting and good enough for them. I would understand if they had a concept that just isn't working, but it does work, so why the change? I guess us old clientele isn't sexy enough anymore.

Anonymous said...

LMFAO at the above comment. Chill out. It's just a restaurant.

Lisa Anne said...

Delicious place, gotta use my gift cert soon I guess! Can't wait to see what they dream up next. Hopefully has some of the same dishes.

WNCtoo said...

No worries Lisa Anne, the gift certificates will still be accepted, we aren't changing the corporate structure so all the behind the scenes stuff is the same :-) Janet

Anonymous said...

I will miss WNC! The bacon mac 'n cheese is one of my family's favorite dishes anywhere in Salem. We will have to go for a good-bye visit before they close. I am excited to see what's next for the owners.

Anonymous said...

I know it's just a restaurant...but there's such a dearth of good places in this town - PARTICULARLY pasta places - (read: NONE other than WNC), that it's horrible to have the only good one in town change their format. So that completely cuts pasta out of our already-limited-by-budget eating-out diet. So, yes, it's just a restaurant, but it's also a loss to the community and one that's gone, not because business isn't good, but because they're bored. I don't think that's very professional or supportive of our community.

Anonymous said...

Bored? Have you ever owned your own business? It's anything but boring, especially during a recession. Gut wrenching? Yeah, that might be it.

Anonymous said...

NONE???

Have you tried Caruso's? Blows WNC right out of the water. Even Gamberetti's has better food. Plus both have good service, as WNC never figured out.

mary m said...

I'm not too surprised to see this. I've gone twice on Saturday evenings in the last 3-4 months and both times the place was DEAD. At 730pm on a Saturday. Seemed a bit odd. The food is good, the service is good, not sure why the place was empty both times? There should have been more than 4 tables of patrons at that time.

Will be interesting to see what the new plan is!

Anonymous said...

Carusos is excellent but a long drive in traffic and 3x the price -out of my price range.. Gamberttis gets mixed reviews from friends. If they're not bored, why the change? They've been on a wait every time I've gone in the past year, so what's the issue? Sorry if I'm fighting for a great restaurant but I guess I just don't see why the format change.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan's has a bacon mac n cheese that is fantastic.

Lisa Anne said...

That's great to hear! Thanks Janet!

Anonymous said...

Don't take it personally. What they seem to be saying is that they as chefs and as people want to grow. Willamette Noodle Company may have become to restrictive to them as people who love to cook. Nearly 10 doing the same thing, and you can't allow them to grow? Granted for the sake of money they might have left WNC running while under someone elses mgt while they explored their passion, but maybe this is not about money to them.

Chuck Bradley said...

Let's not forget Davinci's and (Dare I say it?) Old Spaghetti Warehouse.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6/6/12 5:07pm :

I think you have it all wrong.

WNCtoo said...

actually, Anonymous 5:07 has it all right. It's not about the money to us, it's about choosing to do what makes us happy. We never once said we were "ditching" our old customers, nor that they were "chopped liver" or - heaven forbid - "not sexy enough". If you are a regular, you will not be disappointed with the changes we have planned.

I find it absolutely fascinating and a little off-putting that you are putting so much negative energy into this. It's YOU, Anonymous: June 6, 2012 10:28 PM, and the Anonymous poster from 6/3 that accused us of being unprofessional and not supportive of our community (are you one and the same?) that has it wrong. ALL wrong. Any one that has paid any attention to what we do in the community would know that.

Anonymous said...

Davincis is quite good. Spag warehouse is pretty good. Carusos rocks.

Chuck Bradley said...

I've had incredible Mac N Cheese at Amadeus, but not always. Their recipe seems to be a moving target.

Anonymous said...

The grown-up mac and cheese (bacon, truffles and roasted garlic) is THE best in the valley @TheGrubShack

Anonymous said...

Davinci's is a great establishment. It is a little spendy,but perfect for a special occasion.Romantic atmosphere and good italian cuisine.Ha And yes,you can incluce the Spaghetti Warehouse! Our family dines there on a regular basis. Definitely not a high end place where you are going to find risotto and veal, but great family atmosphere and reasonable.Can't really compare these restaurants becauase it is like apples and oranges. Both are worth trying.

Chuck Bradley said...

Had Fresh Fettuccine with Shrimp at the new and improved Nosh Cafe & Bar today. I'd say these folks have upped their game.

@Anon 6/11. Roger that! Everything is top-drawer at the Grub Shack! I'm blown away there every time.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully they have improved the service. Last time we were there we passed out server smoking in the parking garage. The food was pretty good though. I just get really bothered when servers smoke.

Anonymous said...

Went by the Nosh today. All in all the restaurant was nice, service was good, and food was decent. But, the three cheese mac was not as good as it used to be. Smaller noodles (though the portion was sizable) but the flavor just wasn't as robust as it was when it was WNC. Wife agreed; decent food, but we won't be back...

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to give it a try!
I appreciate your update, but so puzzled by your final reaction.

Me, I'm looking forward to seeing where this couple's passion has led them this time around.

lavachickie said...

I sat on my original reaction to the post of "Anonymous June 2, 2012 5:10 AM" and here a few weeks later I still feel the same, so I'm going to post.

Dear Anonymous,

It's not all about you. Are you 12 or something? Wait, no, every 12 year old I know is more mature and compassionate than you, so I'm not quite sure where you are on the continuum of things.

If you truly appreciate the hard work that the owners of WNC do, then you'll be happy for them and a chance to try something new. That's that adults do when they admire and respect another adult. They may not always agree 100% with their choices, but they respect that they are THEIR choices, and if the reasons they admire them remain, then they'll be there to support them.

Here's a tip: things change. Roll with it.

And check a dictionary. "Professional" does not equal "what you want them to do."

Sincerely...

lavachickie said...

Oh yeah, and I'm upset, too, now that I have to make my own bacon mac and cheese.

Limiting myself to such an indulgence there only was a form of safety measure.

If I make it at home... well, that'll be the end of me, I'm afraid, for I'll make a roasting pan full of it every week and fairly quickly die form my own gluttony. :)

KandN said...

N, daughter Fran and I, visited [nosh] for dinner last night. They were busy, but that didn't stop them from keeping their customer's needs utmost on their minds.

While listening to the young guitar player, we enjoyed a glass of sangria (N-white, me-red) and started with "semolina gnocchi topped with wild mushroom ragout". Our dinner orders: Fran--the mac and cheese, N--braised pork shoulder with white beans, tomatoes and jalapenos, me--rockfish with spinach and basmati rice (dang! can't remember what was in the sauce).

Every single bite was delicious. Exactly what we needed for a Red Cross date. :)

WNCtoo said...

Pssst Lava... You can add Bacon to our new [nosh]'d Mac & Cheese... fear not! :) Thank you so much for voicing what has been rolling around in my mind too. We have always wanted to put out amazing food... and lately we sort of felt like our passion was waning due to the limitations of keeping such an expansive menu.

We have been absolutely overwhelmed by customer comments about the new dishes... "Best meal I've had in a LOOONG time", "May I have one more piece of bread so I don't waste a smidgen of this sauce left?" and my personal favorite "Can I hug you?" (the answer was HECK YES YOU CAN!).

For those of you that were happy with our previous efforts, we still absolutely value you and your business. We just needed to love our livelihood again. We would never begrudge any of you for changing jobs if you weren't happy.. so please keep in mind that we are people too, we have kids, volunteer and support our community and most importantly we employ your neighbors, friends and kids.

As Chuck pointed out above, we have stepped up our game, and we couldn't be happier. Come. Taste. Sip. [nosh]

lavachickie said...

Where's the LIKE button? :)

eriesisgod said...

My heart is broken. What a bad decision. Loved the bread, best pasta in town. Now my husband has no where to get his favorite lasagna.