location:lincoln cityOnce there existed a cursed restaurant/bar space in Lincoln City. Every venture died there, done in by the usual culprits that close such places on the Oregon Coast: indifference, mold, food poisoning, and misshapen rock bands playing too much Bryan Adams.Thus it was insane when Matt Locke decided to open the Kodiak Bar and Grill in this commercial black hole off 101 in the Taft District.He gutted what had been a Chinese dump, poured in the dough, and most importantly, served up a double moxie to brace himself to buck all conventional wisdom. ìI put my balls to the wall on this place,î he said. He also brought in a couple of shamans to bless the joint and drive out the demons when it opened in the summer of 2002. (Something many of us pray for the White House in January of 2005.)Iíve been in the Kodiak a half dozen times now and I can report that Locke has pulled it off. He has built a Great Pyramid and dug the Erie Canal by hand. A year after opening the Kodiak is thriving and has set a new standard of excellence for Oregon Coast drinking holes.Just how ballsy was Locke? He put in oak flooring, He displays the hide of a bear he shot. He installed couches in front of a fireplace. He built decks. He gives away peanuts. Heís got a DJ. He hired a staff that rocks and rolls and swivels wonderfully in low cut jeans. He serves up brick oven pizza. He wants to party. He wants you to party. Itís the season of the President Bush witch, so why not?For sure, Locke ran without a jock when starting up the Kodiak, but the crowning display of his gonad power is this: Heíd had it with the regional Budweiser rep and made an instant decision. ìNo one drops Bud,î the uniformed lackey said. ìI just did, ì Locke replied. Instead the Kodiak features Fosterís on tap and Locke and company shamelessly shill the Australian lager with the same sort of enthusiasm the Brits sent their degenerates to Botany Bay.I love the swagger in the Kodiak and the spacious, soaring-beamed, alcohol area walled off from the farting snot noses in the restaurant spilling soft drinks. The clientele ranges from 21-75 and they exude some serious get-down vibe, including a few carrying their own pool cues. In the winter, the Kodiak boasts a loyal, friendly drinking crew. During the big tourist weekends, itís often packed with Valley folk in a binge mood, which brings to mind a line from Lynryd Skynard--ìOoooo that smell.î Meaning: a rugged local usually has a good shot to score.The Kodiak has triumphed. Thereís not an ounce of defeatism on display. What a contrast to Oregonís current political situation. To say the least, the notion of Oregon as a special state, say different from Texas, has been defeated. In fact, itís dead, embalmed, with apparently no hope of resurrection.Of course Locke did make light in a black hole. Can someone do that for Oregon? Order Fosterís at will at the Kodiak and dream about it. Dream about bucking conventional wisdom in everything you do.
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