For Benny Augeri, the best part of being an entrepreneur is creating things. “I love creating new ideas, business plans, you name it,” the 26-year-old said.
“I have a book with a ridiculous amount of new ideas, probably like 600 to 1,000 new ideas. I just write in it every day. You never know if that idea is something you should capitalize on,” Augeri added.
Things have changed fast for the energetic Corvallis resident thanks to his big ideas.
Less than two years ago, Augeri was operating a business on a shoestring budget, renting a corner of a commercial kitchen at night to bake doughnuts and then delivering the goodies throughout Corvallis. It was an immediate and smashing success.
In late 2016, Benny’s Donuts started operating out of a downtown Corvallis storefront, and this August, Augeri opened up a restaurant and bar next door, Sidecar.
Sidecar focuses on making local, sustainable and great food and cocktails, Augeri said.
And it has an upscale feel that’s different than much of what Corvallis has to offer, he added.
“The best market research you can do is have beers all over town and see what doesn’t exist yet,” Augeri said. He envisioned a space that would be creative, genuine and have a hip energy, like someone was in a far bigger city.
“The menu is kind of like this Pacific Northwest contemporary food, and we focus on what’s available seasonally,” he said.
That includes the cocktails. “We were using blackberries, then we switched to pears and we had apples and peaches,” Augeri said.
The name of the business comes in part because Sidecar is next door to Benny’s Donuts. But for $5, patrons also can order a “sidecar” with their martini — it’s a decanter filled with the same drink in an ice bath.
“You can drink your martini as normal, and then once you’re out you have a refill. … It’s pretty much a full reload, so it’s a good deal,” Augeri said.
Everything on the menu is under $25, including a New York steak that’s one of the most popular items. “I’ve seen grown men lick the plate clean pretty much,” Augeri said.
Tartines — toasted French bread with specialty toppings — also have been a popular and affordable option for many diners, especially the smoked salmon with avocado. “The best part about it is we smoke our own salmon in-house. It’s a very oaky smoked flavor,” Augeri said.
Sidecar will do special events in partnership with Benny’s Donuts, such as a Donuts and Drafts party planned for the end of the month. But most of the time, the two businesses will be separate.
Benny’s Donuts no longer delivers, and there have been other changes for the shop. Augeri said he’s trying to use more local toppings on doughnuts, such as a Marionberry and rosemary option.
Gluten-free, vegan doughnuts also have been a hit for those with diet restrictions. “People come from all over for them. People will travel,” Augeri said.
Sidecar, 110 NW Third St., is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Brunch is served before 2 p.m. on the weekends.
For more information, go to the business’ Facebook page or sidecarcorvallis.com.