Bo & Vine Burger Bar Satisfies Salem Foodies' Craving For New
Salem, Oregon sits as the capital of the Beaver State, holding a small town vibe undeniable to its residents. Often shadowed by the Millennial boom of Portland, Salem is easily forgotten,
Was. Salem was easily forgotten.
Yet the relatively sleepy town has seen a spike in downtown appeal in recent years. This appeal only continues to grow with eateries like Bo & Vine Burger Bar entering the foodie scene that Salem craves.
Bo & Vine is a Salem success story. Three local gents see an empty location, realize that fast-food chains don't cut it for a town like Salem, love local ingredients and have heart for burgers. Soon a piece of real estate became a quintessential restaurant for Salemites to enjoy. When Bo & Vine opened its doors on June 2nd, locals came running. When you're accustomed to Red Robin and Olive Garden for a night out, something new is much appreciated. Combine that newness with a groovy, fast-casual vibe and you have a winning joint with a line out the door each and every dinner hour.
Brian Kaufman, a partner in Bo & Vine's brilliance, was kind enough to shed some light on the interworkings of Bo & Vine.
Q: Why does Salem need gourmet burgers?
A: It's not so much that Salem needs specialty burgers. I think it's more that Salem needs a better overall experience for foodies...and we happened to choose burgers! In my opinion, Salem is seeing a new wave of population growth, and part of that might be people that appreciate unique, fun, well done experiences that make the city more exciting to be a part of. I feel Salem is transitioning from a question mark to an exclamation mark.
Q: What other local eateries do you believe contribute to Salem's foodie culture?
A: I've been inspired by places like Archive, Taproot, Ritter's, Wild Pear, The Kitchen, Rafns', Venti's, Adam's Rib, and The Little Cannoli Bakery. I think they all share a desire to not only invest in great local culture but also raise the bar when it comes to the foodie experience.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you faced when starting Bo & Vine?
A: The biggest challenge was the voice in my head saying that people would never go for something like Bo & Vine...that Salem might not be ready for this kind of thing. Luckily, I had a lot of encouragement and support early on to move forward.
Q: What is one word you would use to describe Salem's downtown vibe?
A: Groundswell. Many of the restaurants and experiences we see as staples downtown didn't exist four years ago. Salem was reported to be the second fastest-changing city in the country (behind Bend) by a recent Lending Tree report. I think we're in the midst of new grown and we're excited to be a part of it.
Q: What do you hope to see Bo & Vine accomplish in the next year?
A: I hope to see a spotlight put on downtown Salem as the place to be. I hope Bo & Vine has a hand in contributing to that and I'm excited for the opportunity the people of Salem have given us to invest in and hopefully help raise the bar in what a great, local foodie experience can look like. I hope people will choose downtown Salem over Portland as their foodie destination.
Having frequented Bo & Vine many times now, I can honestly say that Bo & Vine is bringing a reality to the foodie culture Brian discusse. My very favorite part of the stunning mural that takes up one of the main walls of the restaurant is a seal that reads: "A place where carnivores and vegans can just be foodies." Bo & Vine, with local ingredients and fun atmosphere, is doing its job in bringing Salemites together with great food, company, and community pride.
The dish that I am absolutely obsessed with at Bo & Vine is their Willamette burger. A 1/3lb burger is topped with goat cheese crumbles, smoked bacon, sweet chili sauce, caramelized onion, and a light spring mix. *drools*
Have you ever seen a more beautiful piece of perfection?! If you're smart, you'll run downtown this very minute to get your hands on one of these bad boys. Oh, and order fries, they are delightful (and you can get as many dipping sauces as your sweet lil' heart desires!!). Oh, AND they have 1859 Cider on tap, so get yourself a little treat to wash down your meal. Eat and drink local, am I right?!
I am over-the-moon happy to have Bo & Vine in town, and I hope the rest of you Salemites pay them a visit sometime soon -- let me know what you try! I'm sure whatever delightful offering you sample will show you just how special Bo & VIne is. Happy eating, folks!
You can follow Bo & Vine on Instagram here.