Something good is stewing in Adair Village.
A mid-Willamette Valley caterer said she wants to restart The Officer’s Club in the tiny but growing burg roughly between Albany and Corvallis.
If it works the way she wants, said Emily Vasey, the Jefferson-based owner of Honeybrine LLC, she gets a kitchen where she can work any time she wants and a space where she can turn customer focus on thoughtful farm-to-table dinner events.
“Just having my own kitchen is worth it to me,” Vasey said.
Vasey’s company does business now at Linn County Expo Center, where, as of last fall, it's on the list of pre-approved caterers people reserving event space are allowed to hire.
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As Honeybrine Catering, the business shares kitchen space and spends much of Vasey’s time servicing parties.
“We were pretty much maxed out on what we could do,” Vasey said.
Then Benton County named Honeybrine Catering the concessionaire of the government-owned Officer’s Club.
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Assuming the space can pass muster, the club will have a grand opening by mid-February. Vasey anticipates holding an open house by the last week of February.
With the venue’s kitchen on hand, she believes she could use the venue solely as a base of operations for catering outside events and still profit over the rent and overhead for The Officer’s Club.
But “our hopes for the whole space are pretty big,” Vasey said. “We really want to open the space to the public."
Wood paneling halts partway up the walls of the space. A landscaped patio and walkways will provide room for guests to amble in and out of doors.
Big windows flood the space, splashing green armchairs with natural light.
The kitchen is older, and Vasey inherited hundreds of pieces of gold-colored spoons, forks and knives from the outgoing concessionaire who decked the halls of The Officer’s Club in a mid-century pastiche.
“They could be tacky, but I love them,” Vasey said. “In that setting it really works.”
Officer’s Club is, if nothing else, handsome. There are day rates and corporate rates, a venue fee or fees for food.
It’s well-positioned for business meetings.
Vasey, however, wants the club to be warm, too, and familial.
“It’s not just a venue for high-end weddings, although we do want that, but it should also be accessible to the community,” she said.
She envisions routine events, like Sunday concerts. An Adair Village City Hall staffer told Vasey they’d like to see regular bingo games held at The Officer’s Club.
There’ll be special rates for those customers, Vasey said. Community rates.
“Those are things that will happen on a recurring basis, and we want to be able to give back to the community,” Vasey said.
And Vasey would like to host five-course, season and ingredient-specific dinners with locally sourced foods.
Officer’s Club, Vasey hopes, will be a place where locals can go to not just eat but learn from the people growing their food. She said she wants to harness partnerships with local farmers, like Chad and Liz Shinn of Camron Ridge Farmstead in Jefferson, for classes and workshops.
Vasey called it family-style eating.
“Not only a way to highlight a farmer or ingredient, but get all these people to sit down, meeting each other or talking to each other for the first time,” Vasey said. “That’s really one of my favorite things as a caterer.”
Honeybrine assumes the space from Forks and Corks, a caterer with its own space in Corvallis and the exclusive rights to provide event food at a downtown space, The Vue. That vendor approached Vasey about taking on The Officer’s Club, tracking down the growing rival caterer.
“It’s a small community,” Vasey said.
An old building, largely unused for a couple of years, The Officer’s Club needed a drain unclogged here or piece of equipment fixed there, Vasey said.
The space, Vasey said, is awaiting the review of a fire marshal to sign off on the venue’s 120-person seating capacity, and a county health inspection.
Then Officer’s Club falls in line with the business of party planning and event hosting.
And, of course, serving food. That’s the backbone of the business, Vasey said.
“I love working with seasonal food and working with farmers,” she said. “It’s why I moved to Oregon. That’s what I love doing.”
Alex Powers (he/him) covers business, environment and healthcare for Mid-Valley Media. Call 541-812-6116 or email Alex.Powers@lee.net.