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Downtown bistro gets a warm welcome

Quick lunches for the working crowd, late hours for the pub crowd


HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTOS: BETTY CAMPBELL - Zach Clark is the owner of Clarks Bistro & Pub on Main Street, catering to the lunch time business crowd and the late-night pub crowd.When some Hillsboro police officers stopped by Clark’s Bistro & Pub on Main Street, owner Zach Clark told them, “I want this to be a place you can come after work, not a place you have to respond to.”

Indeed, Clark is working to provide a bright atmosphere, delicious food offerings, local beers on tap, pool tables, dart boards — and a place to meet with friends.

Clark loves community. You might say he has been involved in community-building his entire professional life.

He served as director of environments at BridgeTown Inc., a Portland-based nonprofit organization that serves the needs of homeless and low-income citizens.

Clark is also a beer lover, a connoisseur of quality food and the owner of a highly entrepreneurial spirit. Those loves have culminated in a new bistro and pub for downtown Hillsboro.

As whispers about the new restaurant have made their way through downtown, the bistro has filled with hungry patrons.

On any given weekday, city employees, shoppers and attorneys can be found filling out menu forms and munching on a delectable treats.

With a soft opening of the bistro in February, patrons flocked in the door for a first taste of soups and sandwiches.

The pub — complete with local artisan brews on tap — opened last week with an expanded menu focusing on American-style food including fresh burgers, beer-battered fish and chips and some specialty French fries. The pub features six rotating taps that will eventually grow to 12.HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTOS: BETTY CAMPBELL - Clarks Bistro & Pub on Main Street

Clark’s goal is to serve lunch orders in 10 minutes, so jurors from the courthouse and others on a fixed time schedule will be able to quickly get a good meal.

In the evenings, he hopes to cultivate a relaxed atmosphere, where friends gather.  

Each sandwich is stacked on breads made locally, and built with meats that are roasted in the restaurant. Soups are created from fresh ingredients, sauces are mixed on-site, and Clark has hired a chef — Carla Manuel — to oversee production of the food.

Manuel graduated from the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of California. She met Clark at a nonprofit event where he was in charge of operations and she was providing food.  

Another member of Clark’s team is his wife, Sara, a full-time pharmacist at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. She supports her husband by working at the restaurant and keeping up with his share of home chores that are going by the wayside as the pub and bistro get going. In fact, the “Hot Doctor” sandwich is named in her honor.

The bistro is bright and clean.Hillsboro Tribune Photo: DOug Burkhardt

“I like light, and I want it to be a welcoming place,” Clark explained.

“We are excited to see Clark’s Bistro & Pub join the great list of dining options in downtown Hillsboro,” said Mark Clemons, director of the city’s Economic Development Department. “Every meal or drink served in downtown Hillsboro has the potential to create loyal customers for other businesses.”

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