Opening the first week of July, The Porch is a new dinner-house eatery at the corner or North Elm Street and Adams Avenue in downtown Sisters. Owners Caryl and Jon Hosler (mother and son) are thrilled with the response and warm embrace from hungry diners looking for someplace different. Both chefs are no strangers to the stove. She is renowned for her culinary skills cooking for Jen’s Garden and Thyme and recently won an Iron Chef competition with T.R. McCrystal. Her son, Jon, moved to Sisters from Southern California, where he worked in the restaurant and catering business for the film industry.
Co-Owner Jon Hosler was interviewed for the following questions.
How has your business been impacted by the economic downturn?
We just opened so the support and response has been fantastic. People don’t have extra money to eat out often so we want it to be special. We’re entering the food arena with a positive attitude, offering things you can’t easily make at home.
This has been a lifelong dream of ours. To fight against this slow economy we talk to other business owners in town and work together to generate customers. Being brand new and the fact we change our menu a lot keeps diners guessing what’s going to be next. Keeping that excitement up is vital. Eventually the novelty wears off and we want our service and food to bring people back.
How have you reinvented yourselves to stay in business?
The Porch serves good food at fair prices and tries to fill that niche in the challenging business of family restaurants. Many have come and gone and we want to survive and thrive. We call it artisan comfort food from all over the United States. We want to make eclectic food accessible to the common diner. We’re the middle ground around town, in between the fine dining and the hamburger/pizza joints.
Our choice of location was all part of it. It’s located in a quaint 1947 home originally built as a private residence and remodeled to feel homey. It seats forty inside with more accommodated on the outdoor patio.
The small-plate meals range from Seared Diver Scallops over Ginger Sweet Potato, Fried Chicken with Chive Multi-Grain Waffles and Spicy Maple Syrup, to a Polynesian Pineapple Pork Loin Over Mashers. We have a full liquor license and will be serving classic cocktails as well as showcasing wines by the glass. We want to keep it fresh and interesting to attract a solid base of customers who make it their place too.
What are your goals going forward in our present economic climate?
Our main goal was to be the moderate choice in Sisters, to fill all the bases but do it without being stuffy or pretentious. Our ability to adapt in this tough environment is important, and being able to cater to specific dietary needs like vegan or gluten-free helps stay current with healthy, unique dishes and flavors. We get great feedback and are able to adjust our menu and business model as time goes on. We want to be known as the casual spot to come eat, to bring your kids, bring your family, bring a date and enjoy yourself in a warm comfortable atmosphere. That’s why we found this old house to use as the restaurant. We wanted it to feel like an extension of our own home.
But we recognize the locals are key to our longevity and prosperity. We need their trust and loyalty. Evolving with our community of diners and becoming a must-stop place in the restaurant scene here in Sisters. We’re going to be advertising in local newspapers and some of the regional magazines but we’re taking baby steps into that for right now and want to see how it goes. It all starts with the food.
What have been the keys to your continued success?
The keys to achieving success all revolve around the notion of family and the idea of a creating a family establishment. My mother and me and my brother, David, we’re all in this together and it’s one of the biggest reasons we’re where we are at right now. Using those family dynamics is how we want to run our business and extend those familiar feelings and hospitality to customers who come in for a good meal.
The Porch is located at 243 N. Elm St. and is open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday at 5 p.m. Reservations are suggested. 541-549-3287.