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Old depot made new again: a history
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
N 44° 34.129 W 123° 15.426
10T E 479585 N 4935084
Quick Description: This historic former railroad depot, relocated twice over the years, is currently home to the Old Spaghetti Factory, a restaurant franchise.
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 6/13/2018 1:01:24 PM
Waymark Code: WMYGGW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Alfouine
Views: 0

Long Description:
The following article gives a brief history of this former railroad depot, currently home to the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant. It reads:

The building that soon will house the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant began in 1910 as a block-constructed depot at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue to serve steam rail traffic.

In 1917, a team of mules hauled the heavy building to Sixth Street and Monroe Avenue, where it became the Corvallis Police Department headquarters in 1956.

By 1982, it had fallen into such disrepair that it was threatened with demolition but it was saved and sold and hauled through town to its current location at 603 N.W. Second St. on a bank above a sweeping curve of the Willamette River, just north of the Harrison Street Bridge.

Between 1983 and December 2008, Michael’s Landing restaurant was a popular steak and seafood restaurant run by Dan and Sandy Bell. But the weak economy forced them to announce “a temporary closure” in April 2009.

Instead, Chuong “LaFontaine” Nguyen and his wife, Mai Lam, opened the space as the Riverfront Restaurant, also serving steak and seafood, in the summer of 2010. They announced its closure 11 months later, in the spring of 2011.

By July 2011, Matthew and Katherine Otten and Second Home Brewing Co. partnered to offer gourmet dining and drinking in a new restaurant they opened there called Terminus.

Although well received, the large space was a challenge to fill, and it closed in June 2013.

The building stood empty for a year, and then, in late August, Old Spaghetti Factory crews went to work.

The Corvallis-Gazette Times published a few articles on the opening of the Old Spaghetti Factory in this building. The first article reads:

Old Spaghetti Factory to open at Michael’s Landing site

Jul 19, 2014

The Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant chain has announced plans to reopen its 42nd location at Michael’s Landing in Corvallis, possibly by mid-November.

Ryan Durrett, who is the director of marketing for OSF International, Inc., said Friday that Old Spaghetti Factory officials are confident the former depot building north of downtown Corvallis fits with the chain’s model of locating its family-friendly restaurants in historic sites, offering both atmosphere and medium pricing.

An additional benefit is the site’s spectacular view of a bend in the Willamette River.

Gary Pond, a Corvallis leasing agent for the historic former Corvallis depot, which was moved from downtown to 603 NW Second St., said Friday that it has been vacant since Terminus Restaurant closed its doors in June 2013 after just under two years. It was the latest in a series of enterprises that attempted to make a go of the site since Michael’s Landing Restaurant closed its doors in 2008 after decades at the location.

Pond said that demo permits have been issued, with plans for the building including returning it more to its historic appearance as a depot, with high ceilings. Additional upgrades will make the site more accessible to people with disabilities and will level the multilevel floor plan.

Durrett said that more details about the specific plans for this site — as well as want ads for the jobs as cooks, waitresses, etc. — will be posted in early August.

The Old Spaghetti Factory, an international restaurant chain, is based in Portland, where Guss and Sally Dussin opened their first location in 1969. The chain now has restaurants in places such as Missouri, Arizona, California and Japan.

Many of the restaurants are located in refurbished historic buildings.

Chris Dussin, who is the current president of Old Spaghetti Factory, said the Corvallis location holds personal significance.

“I have a special place in my heart for Corvallis because I attended Oregon State University, and so have two of my daughters, in addition to other family members as well,” Dussin said in an emailed message. “We are looking forward to building great relationships with members of the community and the university in the coming months and years.”

A second article by the Corvallis-Gazette Times highlights the construction of the soon-to-be Old Spaghetti Factory and reads:

Old Spaghetti Factory opens new chapter in Corvallis’ historic rail depot

Oct 18, 2014

Corvallis former railway depot is right on schedule, headed back to its future as the 42nd location for the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant chain.

The international Portland-based chain announced last summer that it purchased the former site of Michael’s Landing restaurant, which closed in 2008 after being there more than 20 years (See sidebar, “History of the old depot”).

Bob Martin, the Old Spaghetti Factory’s vice president in charge of operations, has worked for the company since 1970, the year after owners Guss and Sally Dussin opened their first restaurant in Portland.

How many of the company’s other sites — many of them also in historic sites — had Martin opened?

“A lot; a lot,” Martin said Tuesday, as he described some of the changes that has been underway since demolition to remove the dated, dark, low-ceilinged and multi-leveled building interior.

Martin said crews have been working since late August to uncover the good 19th-century “bones” of the old building, and work is on pace for the scheduled Nov. 19 opening date.

The biggest changes: Gone are the eight-foot ceilings; back are 14-foot-6 inch curved-corner ceilings.

Sheetrock and paneling have been removed from some of the original double-hung wooden windows, allowing in natural light along one exterior wall for the first time in more than 30 years.

Another window, which was covered in a space between the original wall and the addition built onto the block depot in 1983, will reappear as a stained glass window.

“We’re going to back-light the stained glass with LED lights,” Martin said.

Wooden pillars and wainscoting panels up to chair-rail level also are in keeping with the Victorian decor favored by The Old Spaghetti chain.

The removal of several floor levels inside will make it easier for operators of wheelchairs or motorized scooters to move around inside the restaurant.

“Before, people had to go outside and be wheeled around,” Martin said.

In all, there is space for 200 diners inside and another 35 in what will be a paved outdoor patio area.

The grassy bank outside, which had gone to weeds in the past few years, is being reseeded and landscaped.

And although the restaurant also will feature the mid-priced Italian dishes for which the restaurant is known, local brews will be available both on the menu and at the full bar, which has been moved to the main level in the old section of the building.

About 90 employees are expected to be hired, from chefs and bartenders to dishwashers and wait staff.

A third article by the Corvallis-Gazette Times highlights the opening of the Old Spaghetti Factory and its plans to potentially add future franchises in other college towns. It reads:

Old Spaghetti Factory tries something new in Corvallis

Nov 19, 2014

The Old Spaghetti Factory opened the doors of its new Corvallis location Wednesday morning with a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by the main event: lunch.

Customers thronged into the refurbished former railroad depot at 603 N.W. Second St. for the opening, and black-aproned servers bustled among the booths and tables, delivering orders of pasta, salad and freshly baked bread.

“We’re thrilled to be part of Corvallis,” said Chris Dussin, the second-generation head of the family-owned company and an Oregon State University graduate. “And we’re thrilled to finally be open.”

The historic building, which overlooks a bend in the Willamette River just north of downtown, has been home to a string of restaurants in the past, starting with the long-running Michael’s Landing and followed by the shorter-lived Riverfront and, most recently, Terminus, which closed in mid-2013.

Under the new owners, the century-old structure has undergone extensive remodeling, including simplification of the multilevel floorplan and restoration of the original 14-foot ceilings with rounded corners. The interior has been redecorated in the Old Spaghetti Factory’s signature nostalgic style with lots of dark wood, red velvet drapes, Art Deco stained glass and antique light fixtures. The walls are studded with historic photos and OSU sports memorabilia. The sight lines in the main dining room, which has a bank of picture windows facing the river, have been greatly improved, and the back patio will be opened up for outdoor dining in nice weather.

“We definitely wanted to take advantage of the river view,” Dussin said.

The restaurant has just over 100 employees and is managed by Travis Crownover.

It’s the 42nd U.S. location for the Portland-based restaurant chain, which also has two stores in Japan.

It’s also an experiment.

At about 6,000 square feet and just over 200 seats, Corvallis’ Old Spaghetti Factory is the smallest restaurant in the entire chain, whose other locations run from 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, with seating for 300 to 450 diners.

Founded in 1969 by Dussin’s parents, the company up to now has followed a consistent formula of refurbishing large old buildings in downtown areas of bigger cities. The Corvallis location is a decided — and deliberate — departure from that approach.

“It’s really just an opportunity to see can we go into college towns and expand in this environment,” Dussin said.

He’s betting that Old Spaghetti Factory’s casual atmosphere and modest price point — $10-$15 for an entree with soup or salad, bread and a scoop of spumoni for dessert — will be a hit with families and college students alike. The restaurant also has a full bar with local microbrews on tap, a range of desserts and appetizers, and an array of vegetarian and gluten-free offerings.

“It’s getting harder to find downtown, inner-city core locations because of parking,” Dussin added. “We feel like if this works here, we can do this in Eugene, we can do this in Pullman, all kinds of college towns around the country and replicate this over and over.”

Type of publication: Newspaper

When was the article reported?: 10/16/2014

Publication: Corvallis-Gazette Times

Article Url: [Web Link]

Is Registration Required?: no

How widespread was the article reported?: local

News Category: Arts/Culture

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