Tag: Sebastiano’s

New Local Restaurant Adapting

Sebastiano’s Deli has decided not to have indoor seating during any phase of Oregon’s reopening. Instead, owners Elise and Daniel Gold are interested in a new approach to serving their hungry customers.

Sebastiano’s launch this month exceeded their expectations. They served over 200 customers in the first ten days. Since opening with pickup service, a clear customer pattern has emerged. Two customer types are prevalent, the lunchtime rush and people buy provisions to take home. As Multnomah County reopened with phased restrictions, inside dining was never going to be an option for Sebastiano’s. “Our space is just too small,” said Daniel Gold.

Gold’s observations about Sebastiano’s customers, and the limits of the space, called for a creative rework of how the restaurant will serve customers. Elise and Daniel Gold realized they would need to operate differently based on the time of day. Starting July 8th, Sebastiano will modify their schedule. From 11 AM to 3 PM, Wednesday through Saturday, they will offer pickup service as they have for the last month. This schedule will fully cover the lunchtime crowd. For those customers, they intend to enhance the lunch menu with “weekly sandwich and salad specials to give people fresh options each week beyond Muffuletta’s. ” said Gold.

After 3 PM, Sebastiano’s will transitions from pickup orders at the shop to home delivery. For $5, they will deliver orders over $50 to local addresses. The delivery area will expand out beyond Montavilla, into the adjacent neighborhoods. The Golds wanted to avoid the big names in third-party delivery services. “We are trying to avoid those [companies]. It’s really a tax everyone else.” Said Daniel Gold. He explained that delivery services charge a substantial percentage of the order’s total. To cover the lost margin paid to third party delivery services, they would have to increase menu prices for all customers. Working with companies like that did not fit what the Golds wanted for Sebastiano’s. Instead, the Golds will do the delivery themselves, and with help from family. Daniel’s cousin, Rachel, will be helping deliver orders over the summer.

Beyond basic delivery options, The Golds will launch an outdoor garden party package. That service is called Sebastiano’s Pop Up. It will deliver all the food and drinks needed for an outdoor party at a customer’s house. The customer needs to have the tables set up, and they will drop off an arrange the food in a yard or driveway.

Sebastiano’s has received OLCC and Healthy Business permits to offer seven tables for outdoor seating. They may consider offering table service on the sidewalk, like many others in Old Town Montavilla have. However, the outdoor dining space is competitive in Montavilla, and the Golds are not sure they want to be just another location trying to keep people distanced. “I really appreciate anyone who feels comfortable eating out right now and any restaurant operator who is comfortable and feels they can do it in a safe way.” Said Gold. However, Daniel Gold feels there are other types of people looking for a dining experience. “For that subset of people who still want to eat good food and still want novel experiences but don’t feel safe going out right now, we’re trying to rise to the occasion and provide them something enjoyable.”

Behind Sebastiano’s is a semi-private courtyard. There, the Golds have constructed a tent and outdoor seating geared towards private events. The Private Happy Hour can be booked for groups to “hang out with their friends in a safe, private, outdoor setting.” said Gold. With only a $200 Food and Drink minimum purchase, the whole menu will be available to the group. Only one group can book the space at a time, between 3 PM to 6 PM. Events can be kid-friendly, and pets are allowed.

The Golds hope this will be a safe and comfortable way for friends, large families, or coworkers to get together. Daniel Gold sees this as an “adapt or die” moment for restaurants. Even with his early success, he knows that they still have to earn each customer’s continued patronage. “We don’t take a single one for granted,” said Gold, talking about Sebastiano’s customers.

Sebastiano’s opening looks different than other businesses reopening efforts. They believe they have found a model that will work for customers and keep everyone safe, regardless of the changes from COVID-19. Some people have mentioned to the Golds that they are waiting for Sebastiano’s full opening before trying them out. The Golds want everyone to know that this is the full Sebastiano’s. They are entirely open and waiting to earn loyal customers.

Sebastiano’s is located at 411 SE 81st Ave.


Images in this article are provided courtesy of Sebastiano’s and Daniel Gold.

Sebastiano’s Opening June 3rd

One of Montavilla’s newest foodie destinations is set to open next month, with some constraints. Sebastiano’s had been scheduled to open two months ago but was delayed due to Oregon’s shutdown. Now they plan to open with a limited schedule, that will expand over time.

Sebastiano’s will be open starting in June, Wednesday Thursday and Friday. Wednesday June 3rd being the first day they are open. Their tentative hours will be 11 AM to 5 PM. However, they may increase those hours by opening earlier in the day. Starting in July, they expect to add Saturdays to their schedule.

In addition to a limited schedule, they will have to modify the customer experience. They will not have in-house seating or allow walk-in customers. Everything will be available for phone or online ordering. Customers can picked up orders at the store, shortly after the order is placed. To facilitate the modified shopping process, a condensed menu will be offered. The menu will be available on Sebastiano’s website sebastianospdx.com or over the phone (503) 841-5905.

Modifying the offerings was a hard choice for the co-owners of Sebastiano’s, Elise and Daniel Gold. “We had looked forward to hosting daily afternoon Aperitivo Hour with wines by the glass, charcuterie and cheese boards, etc. That won’t be happening. ” Wrote Daniel Gold in an email to Montavilla News. However, they are adjusting to the restrictions and exploring new ideas. “We’re now considering developing an Italian wine club exploring unique wines beyond the island of Sicily. We are also going to be stocking more pantry and snack items, coffees, teas, chocolates so the neighborhood can access some of these items without the full Covid supermarket experience.”

Gold went on to explain they are going to repackage some of their canceled offerings for takeout. What they are calling Picnic Packs, will offer charcuterie and cheese boards for take-out or take-home. They hope this will offer customer options to get outside with a readymade picnic, or stay home and enjoy a “social distancing happy hour gathering.”

The Golds have been fortunate to receive some support. Sebastiano’s landlord allowed 60 days rent deferral and added the obligation to the end of the lease term. This “provides some breathing room for May and June.” wrote Daniel Gold. Additionally, Gold was appreciative of his family’s help. “We’ve been relying a lot on very supportive grandparents for childcare to free us up to make progress on the build-out and all the opening preparation.”

All this support has been needed, as there hasn’t been any financial assistance from any government programs, unemployment, or insurance claims for Sebastiano’s. The next wave of support for this new business will need to come from the community, shopping with them when they open.

Summertime looks favorable for Sebastiano’s. They hope to offer outdoor seating, to serve customers who are well distance from one another. Daniel Gold cousin is going to spend her summer in Portland to help around the shop, in the true family business fashion. His cousin may also help launch another of their expansion plans, local deliveries to customers.

Many readers have asked about what is happening with the unopened new businesses in Montavilla. This is just one of those positive stories. Let’s hope Sebastiano’s is just the first of many to open, delayed but still strong.

Effect of Staying Home on Where We Go-out

It has almost been a month of empty streets and closed shops. Even if you are safe and secure during this time, you are looking around at the businesses in the neighborhood and hoping they will survive. There are some programs to help these small businesses but not enough, and certainly they are not timely in providing the help needed. Those programs are for established businesses trying to make it through the forced closures. However, they do not cover establishments that have not opened their doors for the first time. We have many businesses in Montavilla that are mid construction.

The Oregonian has an article detailing the struggle of four restaurants and bars that had all been scheduled to open in Montavilla town. In the article, the owners of White Rabbit, Tinker Tavern, Lazy Susan, and Sebastiano’s all lend their voice to the story of uncertainty around us. No business in Montavilla is immune to the financial hardships being felt right now but the ones that have yet to see their first customer, are proving to be the most vulnerable.

All is not lost for these future landmarks of Montavilla. Some should be able to postpone plans. Others are adjusting the business to fit what is practical right now. Andrew Mace, of Lazy Susan, is quoted in The Oregonian article as being thankful they did not hire staff yet.

Unlike other shops with staff, payroll and unemployment is one burden the new locations in Montavilla are not contending with. There are many established businesses in our area that need cash flow to keep some of their staff employed.

Brian Stafki put together a Google Sheet of Montavilla, and other nearby businesses, that are open or offering services in an alternative form. If you can continue to give them business, please do.

The Montavilla East Tabor Business Association has created a COVID-19 Info and Resources page that has some additional information about its members, during this prolonged shutdown.

Sebastiano’s replacing Heartbreaker

It looks like Heartbreaker Neighborhood Kitchen’s temporary closure may be more permanent. Eater Portland has a write up of the future Sebastiano’s Italian deli going into 411 SE 81st Avenue. They will offer prepared food, wines, and specialty pantry items. Sebastiano’s website is not yet live but look for updates at sebastianospdx.com. We will add pictures, when the wraps come off the new space.