Middle Eastern eatery finds a home in the Grove

Yoav is very grateful to the people of Forest Grove and the surrounding area who have become regular customers of Izgara.
by:  Ofer Yoav said he was told a Middle Eastern restaurant would be a tough sell in western Washington County. But after three years, he says his family calls Forest Grove home and he has no plans to move Izgara to Portland.

Ofer Yoav, owner and chef of Izgara, started his culinary experience early.

At age 13, he was preparing and selling sandwiches in his father's kiosk in Israel. Later he worked as a hotel chef.

While in the Israeli Army, Yoav studied the culinary arts and opened his own restaurant after he was discharged.

When the Israel/Lebanon war broke out in 2006, Yoav moved to America where he worked as a chef in hotel restaurants in Key West. A year later, his brother-in-law Johnny Erickson, who lives in Forest Grove, suggested that Yoav and his family move to Oregon and open their own restaurant.

Yoav was told he was taking a risk trying to open a restaurant in Forest Grove, and that he should go to Portland. But he wanted to start with something similar to his father's kiosk, like a RV where he could make sandwiches to sell to Pacific students. However, while looking around downtown, he found the perfect location on Main Street and in 2008 Izgara was born.

From the start it was a family affair. Yoav's wife, Jamie, 9 months pregnant, was the waitress and Ofer prepared all the food.

As people started discovering Izgara, Ofer started changing his menu from mostly sandwiches to the full menu you see today, to meet his customers' requests.

He says customers feel at home in the restaurant where they receive good value for their money. And, he brags that Izgara offers the best humus and falafel this side of Portland along with other delectable Middle Eastern cuisine.

Yoav is very grateful to the people of Forest Grove and the surrounding area who have become regular customers of Izgara.

Last year he considered moving Izgara to Portland, but thanks to all his regular customers, and many new ones, his business doubled over the last year. Izgara, he says, will stay in Forest Grove.

The Yoav family live in Forest Grove (Tai is 8 and Liam is 2.) They support the local community and events like the Forest Grove Farmers Market and the Main Course. Izgara also helps to sponsor Pacific University football and a Forest Grove Little League team.

Yoav says Izgara's success over the past three years has encouraged other restaurants and businesses to open in downtown Forest Grove. Izgara was followed by Grendels, Pac Thai, Caffé Montecassino, Bistro Stecchino and, just recently, 1910 Main, an American Bistro.

With this great selection of restaurants right here in Forest Grove, he asks, why go to Portland?

Izgara Bar and Grill is located at 2036 Main Street, Forest Grove. 503-352-9306