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Brewpub preps for early January opening

Job fair on Monday and Tuesday will recruit nearly 90 positions
by: Jaime Valdez Workers with LMC Construction are making progress on the future Golden Valley Brewery in Bethany.

Anyone hoping the former restaurant at 1570 N.W. Bethany Blvd. might reclaim its glory as a popular national Tex-Mex chain eatery might just as well forget it.

No, the recent flurry of construction at the site will not yield a newer, larger Chili's Grill and Bar, but rather a homegrown Oregon brewpub, complete with locally brewed beer and food produced at a McMinnville-area ranch.

Oregon's second Golden Valley Brewery is scheduled to open its doors as early as Jan. 10, 2012, says owner Peter Kircher. He and his wife, Celia, opened the first Golden Valley in McMinnville in 1993.

'It's coming along. We're probably 60 percent through construction,' he says. 'We're hoping to open the first week of January.'

Kircher pauses to consider the implications of his statement.

'Yeah, it's crazy,' he adds. 'It's all gonna happen pretty fast.'

In fact, Kircher has already hired a chef and sous chef and will host a job fair on Monday and Tuesday to complete staffing at his second Oregon brewpub and restaurant.

The fair will run both days from 8 a.m. to noon and 4 to 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 15520 N.W. Gateway Court off Northwest 158th Avenue. Information and applications will be available for positions including cooks, servers, dishwashers and other support staff.

Kircher says he plans to hire around 90 part- and full-time staff for the 9,000-square-foot restaurant and bar.

Former Chili's patrons who step into the new Golden Valley early next year will likely have to reorient themselves.

'We've completely changed the building, the whole layout,' he says. 'It was 5,000 square feet, and we're going to 9,000. There's a banquet room, which Chili's didn't have.

'There are not a lot of banquet facilities in the area.'

Kircher praises the efficiency of the project's Beaverton-based contractor, LMC Construction, and building designers with RSS Architecture of Woodburn.

'They've done a great job,' he says.

True to its pastoral name, Golden Valley will specialize in handcrafted beer along with appetizers and entrees featuring all-natural beef from Angus Springs Ranch near McMinnville. Kircher and his wife raise all-natural source steers at the ranch.

Golden Valley's beef, Kircher explains, is raised 'all natural' as opposed to organic. The more complex but less cost-effective approach means the steers are free of hormones or antibiotics.

'You're getting an all-natural product,' he says.

The menu, which can be found online at GoldenValleyBrewery.com, also includes fresh seafood, pork and an array of entrée salads, all featuring ingredients from local growers and suppliers.

'It's easier and cheaper to get everything pre-made and sell it, but I don't believe in that,' he offers. 'This is kind of where the term 'soul food' came from. The 'soul' in food comes from local care and attention. It doesn't come from a mass-produced deal.'

What niche does Kircher see Golden Valley filling in the Beaverton area?

'Number one, I think we're at the right price point for people,' he says. 'We're not expensive, we're not cheap. We're providing a really good value for the price point.'

While Golden Valley's 10 or so microbrew options will be readily available on tap, the tanks, tubes, hops and barley will remain in McMinnville. The eatery will also include a full bar with liquor, a regional wine list and specialty drink menu.

Rather than obsessing over the still-shaky status of the economy, Kircher says he's taking the long view with his new venture.

'In good times or bad, people like to drink a beer and have a good burger, a good meal,' he says. 'I'm not real concerned about it.'