Hailing from the Midwest, Greg left home to attend Culinary School in Atlanta, GA, and work in kitchens there before returning to Chicago to cut his teeth in the kitchen at Charlie Trotter's Iconic restaurant. He moved to Portland in 2003 to work on an Organic farm, to deepen his connection to ingredients. He soon began splitting time between the farm and the kitchen at Noble Rot, one of Portland's finest restaurants. That year, Noble Rot was awarded the Restaurant of the Year by Willamette Week. By 2008 Smith had taken the helm of that kitchen and had risen it to one of the most earnest and creative menus in the city.
He held the title of sous chef at Ned Ludd before joining the team at Grain & Gristle as a sous chef in 2012. After Old Salt opened, Greg stepped up to the Head Chef position in 2014, and has been running an inspiring menu ever since. In his time with us Greg and his wife have had two wonderful sons, and built a delightful homestead here in Northeast Portland. We are very lucky to call him family.
Born in Indiana, Ben started his cooking career, in earnest, in Madison, WI. He moved to Portland in 2001 and took over a small cafe and ran a farm-direct menu for two years before selling his stake and leaving on his bike for a year-long trek around the country. He then walked across Spain for a year to see 800 year-old farming operations, before returning to Portland to try to build his vision.
He worked with Marcus to open Genie's Cafe. He worked the opening line at Portland's iconic Toro Bravo, before taking a job in a production meatshop, crafting smoked and cured meats. In 2009 Ben co-founded Ned Ludd with Jason French, cooking farm-direct foods out of a single wood-fired oven. In 2010 he left to open Grain & Gristle with Marcus Hoover and Alex Ganum. Since, they opened Old Salt Market in 2014. And, most recently, Ben co-founded Revel Meat Company, rehabilitating a small slaughterhouse and meat processing facility in Canby, OR, wholesaling the finest meats in the region to fine kitchens and markets around the Portland area.
In his spare time he builds lego jets with his son, Wendell.
John has been our manager since day one. In fact, since months before day one. John hails from New York, and has been a service industry veteran since his young days in Manhattan. He spent formative years in Ireland, storing up debaucherous stories to tell over the bar. He has been managing service staffs for decades, from huge event crews to his own draft system business.
We knew John was the person to lead our service staff before we started building our team. He helped in every single aspect of the foundations of Grain & Gristle. He hired his team, he built the bar program, and even installed the draft system. We have trusted John with the dining room and the operations of the dining room every day since we opened.
He has been family since the first day, and he still spends every shift pouring pints and talking shop with our regulars and new guests. We wouldn't be who we are without John at the helm.
Marcus designed and built the entire restaurant at Grain & Gristle, as well as many of the best kitchens around Portland. He worked as kitchen designer for Rose’s Restaurant Equipment for 10 years. After a serious motorcycle injury, Marcus trained in culinary arts, He earned his degree and then built Genie’s Cafe, assuming the duties of general manager until moving on to Rose’s in 2006.
He previously worked as a showpiece wood craftsman and contractor, producing custom cabinetry and furniture.
He recently left Rose's to help open a full-scale bakery and work as the operations manager, on top of his duties as facilities manager at Old Salt and Grain & Gristle. He also has a delightful newborn daughter to keep him busy.
As the pub’s beer curator, Alex believes that the best brews in the world come from right here in Portland. He’s devoted to his own small production facility, Upright Brewing, focusing on unique styles that blend historic French and Belgian elements with his own methodology. Upright also brews a well hopped north German style lager year round, the Engelberg Pilsener, featured as the pub's house draft.
Consistently regarded as one of the finest breweries in Portland, Upright has reached cult status for their barrel-aged beers, and creative seasonal bottle list. We are proud to act as the off-premise tap house for Upright's fine beers.