The owners of Portland’s down-home-cookin’ joint Russell Street BBQ
approached us when looking for someone to freshen up their charming restaurant. Housed in a cavernous 1909 building, this
well-regarded and authentic barbecue spot was in need of some updating.
The goal: match the interior decor of the restaurant to the heightened caliber of the food. The style of the food is approachable, well-crafted, and something your mother would’ve served if you grew up in the south and she happened to be an inventive and skilled chef. Drawing inspiration from traditional sauces tasted in the Carolina’s, Kentucky, and everywhere along the way to Portland, Oregon, Sharon and Diane have managed to take the best of Americana flavor and find that sweet spot between nostalgia and gourmet.
One of the most unique things about this restaurant is their dedication to providing entrees that are both comforting and healthy. On my last visit I ordered a fresh, green salad and was delighted that I got to add any one of their barbecued meats to it. It was the perfect way to get a taste of smoky beef brisket without needing a nap afterward. That freshness is reflected in our design choices: clean, bright yellow and red for the walls, seasonal flowers in mason jars for every table, a rustic, rich brown stain for the wainscoting and wood details, and whimsical chalk messages on cast iron skillets sprinkled throughout the space.
It was important to make the space feel more like home: welcoming, approachable, clean, and fun. The owners’ personality shines through accent pieces they already had: aged whiskey barrels as bar tables, an adorable bucking pig logo, and corrugated metal accents in the entry. We brought these accents together with new paint, new mason jar and tin bucket lighting, and a new feature wall with a logo that stretches all the way up to the 15 foot high ceilings.