End of an era: Silver Grille closes its doors

September 2019 Posted in Community, Food & Drink

Jeff and Naomi Nizlek during their last week at Silver Grille. Melissa Wagoner

By Melissa Wagoner

The Silver Grille in Silverton closed its doors after 23 years of service on Sept. 1.

“There [were] a ton of reasons,” Chef and owner Jeff Nizlek said when asked why he and his wife and business partner, Naomi, decided to put the restaurant on the market. “[I]t is a big commitment and we are getting older.”

Also cited was the need to focus on other commitments, chief among them, the couple’s grandchildren.

“[A]ll grandparents should understand this,” he said.

A cornerstone of the local food movement in Silverton, Jeff purchased the Silver Grille – which was originally opened in 1996 by Kim Reierson and Donna Mattson – as a way of fulfilling his dream of owning a restaurant with a menu based solely on farm-fresh products. To that end, he and Naomi have grown much of the produce they served – grapes, apples, pears and herbs – on their quarter acre farm and sourced the rest from as many local producers as possible.

“It is hard to express my gratitude at having been able to do something that I love for so long,” Jeff wrote in a recent Facebook post, “but we have too many demands outside of the restaurant and we feel it is better to remember it as such a good thing.”

Although the Nizleks will be leaving the Silver Grille behind, they will remain in Silverton, the town they both think of as home.

“We have no plans to move,” Jeff said. “And I don’t plan to stop cooking. We have developed a lot of great friendships with people in Silverton and the surrounding area and we would like to put more balance into our lives.”

Married not long after the purchase of the restaurant, Jeff and Naomi have run the business together – he in the kitchen and she in the front of the house – ever since. And it is one of the things about owning the Silver Grille Jeff will miss most.

“The best part is that I met and married my wife, and that she loved me enough to run a restaurant with me for 18 and a half years,” Jeff said fondly. “There really is no way we could have made it this far if it hadn’t been a team effort and a solid partnership.”

Looking forward to a future with fewer commitments, the Nizleks are taking a moment to look back one last time and to thank the many customers and employees who have made the past years a success.

“We would like to thank everyone who has come in over the years and have kept us going with such support and generosity,” Jeff said. “In addition, we would like to thank all of the amazing employees we have had over the years, and especially to Marcus Lucht, our pastry chef for the last nine and a half years.”

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