Food, art, wine, local products take the stage at wine country hotspot, which includes 36 rooms on four stories and took 10 months to build
Next time you’re in the mood for a weekend of wine tasting, you’ll have one more lodging option in downtown McMinnville, the little enclave an hour southwest of Portland with a growing cluster of inviting tasting rooms, fun boutiques, award-winning restaurants, historic buildings and vibrant public art.
Positioned as a luxury boutique hotel with a breezy, homegrown aesthetic, the Atticus Hotel opened in April at Northeast Fourth Avenue and Ford Street in historic downtown McMinnville, just blocks away from McMenamins Hotel Oregon.
The four-story, 36-room hotel — which took 10 months to build, from scratch — is anchored by an onsite restaurant and bar that should draw many Portland fans of Chef John Gorham’s dining empire, including Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Tasty n Alder and Mediterranean Exploration Company.
Gorham’s newest venture, Bless Your Heart Burgers, focuses on classic Americana cheeseburgers and fries, inspired by Gorham’s and his chef Drew Sprouse’s home states of North Carolina and South Carolina.
It is be the second Bless Your Heart to open, after downtown Portland. And it’s not just all burgers.
As a hotel restaurant, it will also serve crowd-pleasing pancakes, granola, fried chicken breakfast sandwiches, soft serve ice cream and Gorham’s signature radicchio salad.
Bless Your Heart takes the place of a third Tasty restaurant that was originally slated to anchor the hotel.
Guests will still have a bit of Tasty, though, with the breakfast sandwiches and other irreverent Gorham touches Portlanders have come to know and love.
This being wine country, the bar program will feature a rotation of local Willamette Valley wines on draft, as well as a strong whiskey program, throwback slushies and draft cocktails with fun and playful riffs on the classics.
This being wine country, of course, guests are also offered a glass of bubbly (from R. Stuart & Co. Winery, across the street) or shot of espresso (roasted around the corner) upon arrival, at the “welcome bar” — the preferred terminology for front desk since the owners see it as an “unhotel,” turning typical conventions on their head.
Beyond eats, the hotel is a showcase for the makers in this region and throughout Oregon. Other amenities include Pendleton bathrobes in every room, Dutch-style bikes with wooden wine racks (made locally) to cruise around town, organic tea and coffee, and custom scents in each room.
There’s a bonus drawing room off the lobby (adorned with community-created gilded art) that will soon house a McMinnville speaker series, hand-sewn pillows, live plants and your fill of fresh walnuts in every room — locally sourced, of course. (McMinnville used to be walnut country; a lobby display pays tribute to these agricultural roots.)
There’s much, much more: Lighting fixtures are by Portland’s Schoolhouse Electric, custom tables and chairs are by Tigard-based Madison Furniture, fixtures are by Portland’s Rejuvenation, and the bronze door-knockers on each room were scavenged from antique stores throughout the metro area — all 36 of them.
Local art doesn’t just fill the space, it defines it, with 130 pieces, to be exact: There’s a large McMinnville-themed painting over the welcome bar by artist Carmen Borrasé; several sketchbook-type watercolors by a community naturalist in the stairwells; unique commissioned cloud paintings by McMinnville based Zachary Hixson in each room for a dreamy quality; letterpress work by Chelsey Nichol, whose studio is next door; and vintage lettering work by McMinnville native Mitch Horning, who has a studio just down the street.
The Atticus is the local second project by developers Erin Stephenson, Brian Shea and general manager Ben Perle. The trio also runs Third Street Flats, the adjacent property (former 1909 Odd Fellows Lodge) with 11 historic, remodeled flats overlooking McMinnville’s main street.
Here’s what to do on your next weekend trip to McMinnville:
- Come this summer for the International Pinot Noir Celebration, the largest of its kind in North America. This year’s 32nd annual event is set for July 27-29 at Linfield College.
- Evergreen Aviation & Museum and waterpark, home of the Spruce Goose plane and year-round events including the Father’s Day weekend pancake breakfast with presentations on the SR-71A Blackbird and famed Lockheed SR-71 spy plane.
- Go wine tasting — There are more than 200 wineries within a 20-mile radius, including 15 within walking distance and several others within a short drive. Just three blocks away from the Atticus are the Naked Winery and Willamette Valley Vineyards tasting rooms.
- Linfield College events include ongoing concerts and festivals such as the 46th annual Hawaiian Club Lu’au on April 28, with dinner and a show — catered Hawaiian food plus students’ music and dance from Hawaii as well as New Zealand, Tahiti and Samoa.
- Not a wine person? Check out the eight breweries and makers of craft spirits in downtown McMinnville, including Ransom Spirits, Heater Allen Brewing, Evasion Brewing, Allegory Brewing and Carlton Cyderworks Slake House, among others.
- Just want to shop? Explore art galleries, antique shops and boutiques, as well as independent bookshops and record shops.
- Indulge in a fancy meal or just a casual nosh at one of the cafes and restaurants in town, including Nick’s Italian Cafe, Thistle, The Barberry, La Rambla Restaurant & Bar, The Diner, Wild Wood Cafe and more.
- Take in fresh goods and crafts at the Farmers Market, open Thursdays from May 18 through Oct. 12.
- Hike along the Yamhill River at Joe Dancer Park, a sports field complex in the middle of the city with a mile of paved trails and 1.2 miles of forested trails through a wetland for wildlife viewing.