Regional Italian Cuisine Meets Eugene

Published On 2011/02/18 | By admin |

Story by Anneka Miller
Photos by Tess Jewell-Larsen

“Ambrosia, in Greek mythology, means ‘food of the gods’,” Armen Kevrekian says sitting in his sparse office in the basement of his restaurant. Music and kitchen noise filters down from upstairs. “In the south, they have the term ‘ambrosia’ in the sense of ‘let’s have a good time.’ So, they’ll say ‘let’s go have an Ambrosia.’”

Located at East Broadway and Pearl Street, Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar is home to the first wood-burning oven in Eugene. Originally Acuardi’s Old Town Pizza, the redbrick building became Ambrosia in 1987. Kevrekian, the restaurant’s proprietor, purchased the eclectic, multi-leveled space after eating his way around San Francisco and settling on the concept of a wood-burning oven. At the time, they had to order and ship the oven over from Italy.

It could be said that the oven is the heart of the place, but Kevrekian insists that what really makes the restaurant is the people who work there. “Each restaurant has, or should have, a soul,” he says. “Usually the restaurant takes the soul of either the owner, who is there and spends a lot of time, or the general manager.”

Keverkian is the soul of Ambrosia, but he also has some staff that has been with him for decades. “I’m very fortunate,” he says. “I have employees that are very good and they are very proud of what they do.”

Whether you’re looking for good food or a good time, Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar is the place for both. The menu is a mix of Italian classics, like spaghetti alla bolognese and pizza margherita, and local interpretations of regional Italian cuisine, like halibut with a ginger and cilantro sauce.

At the bar, a selection of house wines and cocktails, like the martini a lá Ametista, a cool rendition of James Bond’s favorite drink. Of all the temptations on the menu, nothing compares to a piece of the chocolate truffle torte. Leaning toward the darker side of sweet, this torte has a wonderful silky texture and bitter snap tempered by a kiss of raspberry coulis. Served in simple elegance, it is truly ‘food of the gods.’

Ambrosia serves lunch, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and dinner, from 5:00 p.m. to close Monday through Sunday. They also host happy hour at their classic, mirrored bar from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. ¡Salute!

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