With a 35-year career in hospitality under his belt, Jeff Schutt knows that opening a new bar or restaurant can be a trying venture.
“Anybody who puts their foot into this business deserves a handshake – mega-applause,” Schutt said.
Schutt is the co-owner of The Living Room Wine Café, which sits at 1815 S. Roosevelt Drive, in the building that most recently housed Taste of Tuscany and, before that, Rob’s Burgers and Pancakes.
Schutt has made changes to the interior, softening some of the colors, opening up the space and rearranging the dining areas to create a more relaxed atmosphere that evokes the comfort of The Living Room’s name.
“It’s a lot more mellow than it was,” Schutt said. The front room especially, where there will be live jazz music every weekend, provides “a very social environment.”
Though The Living Room will keep adults sated with 16 beers, over 40 international wines, approximately 12 champagnes and a full liquor bar, Schutt wants the front room, in particular, to appeal to patrons of all ages.
“I want kids to enjoy it, too, to feel comfortable,” he said noting that flip-flops and swim trunks are welcome in the Living Room’s more casual entry area.
As patrons walk through the wine café, The Living Room’s front room opens up to a more wide-open middle room that will feature a small stage where Schutt will host blues and classic rock on weekends; he’s also talked of bringing stand-up comedy in on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The Living Room’s back room will feature a wine bar with a rotating featured vineyard and more intimate dining.
But no matter what room you’re in at The Living Room, music will be everywhere.
Schutt is a musician himself: He plays bass, guitar, violin and saxophone. Music will be a definite focus of his new venture, which he started with Bev Goodwin, his business partner and a third grade teacher in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“I always wanted live music in here,” Schutt said. The co-owner has had no trouble booking the lounge months in advance, and he cites the area’s strong musicality as a big reason.
“There are great musicians here,” Schutt said.
As the sounds of jazz fill the air at The Living Room, diners will be able to enjoy a variety of drink options and a “rustic Italian” menu featuring a host of appetizers, soups, salads, paninis, flat breads, desserts and “bruschetta boards.”
The bruschetta boards allow diners to select four different bruschetta options for $16; options include crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms sauteed in seasoned garlic butter, finely sliced Granny Smith apples with brie and a fig spread, shrimp, tarragon, arugula, shallots and marscapone cheese and grilled yellow and red peppers, Gorgonzola cheese and basil oil, among others.
The Living Room’s menu features classic Italian ingredients used in numerous combinations that Schutt hopes will entice diners.
“The menu is really user-friendly,” he said. “We keep the products fresh.”
Schutt is waiting for the OK from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
While there may be a soft opening in January, the official grand opening will be on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, when The Living Room will host the “How Sweet It Is Party” weekend.
For updates on what Schutt and The Living Room Wine Café have on tap, call 503-738-3333.
Schutt thinks that The Living Room will bring something fresh to Seaside: a memorable experience that’s as exciting as a night out and as relaxing as a night in.
“I think by relaxing it with that living room feel, it allows people to nestle in and get comfortable and enjoy the ambiance and the food and wines,” he said.