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New Tacoma Street charcuterie gains following


Photo Credit: DAVID F. ASHTON - In their new Sellwood deli FeastWorks, Chef Ashley Bisagna and charcuterie master Ethan Bisagna now offer their handmade meats, all year long. There is a famous quotation: “Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made”. That is often misattributed to Prince Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck – but that vision of sausage preparation clearly does not apply to a new charcuterie store in Sellwood called “FeastWorks”.

“Our ingredients are very consciously sourced from local farmers,” remarked co-owner Ethan Bisagna. “Our meats are hormone- and antibiotic-free. And, the chickens we select are organic, because we use a lot of chicken livers, and getting the organic livers really make a big difference!

“We really enjoyed making products of these sources,” he added.

He and his wife, Chef Ashley, started out by doing on-location catering for the past five years, and also by selling charcuterie at the Woodstock Farmers Market.

“We’ve been wanting to have a delicatessen for quite a while to build on top of our catering company,” Ethan said. “Here, we can stock a cold case, and sell our charcuterie at retail, while expanding the catering side of our business.”

Having the heard the term “charcuterie” used several times, THE BEE asked for its meaning. “Charcuterie simply means cooked and prepared meats,” Ethan responded. “It's any kind of manipulated meat product, such as bacon and sausage, or it could be pâté.”

These food preparation methods were created as a way to preserve meat before refrigeration was invented. Today, charcuterie is extolled for the flavors resulting from the preservation processes.

“Ethan makes our meats, and I’m the chef,” said Ashley, defining the division of labor.

“I create the menu here at our store, and also to the catering menus for our clients,” Ashley continued. “And, I’m the contact person who works with our catering clients to create event-specific menus for weddings, parties, or business meetings.”

Chef Ashley answered immediately, when asked what inspires the menu items at the store. “These are all foods that I want to eat! And, I’m also looking at what seasonal produce is available. For example, we’re now moving more into the fall harvest vegetables that complement our meats.”

For example, the chef revealed that they are stocking delicata squash and Brussels sprouts. “Those will be on the menu through the Holidays. They will definitely be paired with bacon, and perhaps chanterelle mushrooms.”

Many folks who come to eat at their twenty-six-seat delicatessen get a sampling of a variety of their meats by ordering a Charcuterie Board.

“It's more like the French Charcuterie Board, and features many of our popular items, like Pâté, Double-smoked Salami, Chicken Liver mousse, and Smoked Pork Rillettes, along with crostini, pickled red onions, and stone-ground mustard.”

The FeastWorks slow-roasted fennel-rubbed pork sandwich is definitely a best seller, Ashley said. “We also have a lot of breakfast sandwiches, and also sausage frites with eggs platters.”

Although it’s been challenging to start the retail business, which opened on July 31, it comes with benefits. “The most rewarding part, for me, is seeing people who are happy eating our food.”

Ashley agreed, and added, “It’s great that we already have regulars the coming in every week, sometimes a couple of times a week!”


SUMMARY Feastworks Delicatessen & Catering

1325 S.E. Tacoma Street, in Sellwood

Open: Tuesday - Sunday, 8am - 8pm

503/284-1704; www.feastworks.com

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