I’m heart-broken to hear your restaurants are closing, particularly Nel Centro. I understand your decision, but just want to thank you so much for all you’ve done for Portland.
Nel Centro opened as I was experiencing a major career change at the height of the recession (otherwise known as a lay-off). It was where over your wonderful new happy hour in your bright new space that I plotted my next steps with friends.
It was the place I suggested for anyone who wanted to hold small private events where the food would be fabulous, not boring. Or loud, lovely events that went on for hours and still ended too soon.
I have held way many meetings at Nel Centro to count over the past decade. Both business and political contacts were always happy to choose Nel Centro. I may have been known to hold office hours there a few times… I’ve helped map out new ventures there, celebrated for colleagues, consoles colleagues, and just sometimes (okay many times) enjoyed a fabulous summer afternoon alone or with others. It was the place where you started with one group for happy hour, and stayed with friends for dinner.
Your staff… you certainly knew how to put together a wonderful crew. I have visited no less than 100 times over the years (being honest likely far more). Your team was always fantastic and funny.
Nel Centro was where I went to console myself when I had to leave a bad marriage. Where I celebrated my divorce being final 2+ years later with friends. Where I celebrated secretly eloping with my new love a few years after that. Where I greeted family or friends visiting from out of town. I’ve laughed there, cried there, experienced the sheer joy of being in Portland and eating your chef’s wonderful food. The Hotel Zags frequently benefited, as they received my recommendation for overnight stays because of their proximity to your fantastic restaurant. When we held our “destination wedding” weekend for friends and family from around the country last summer the celebration all started with a family dinner at Nel Centro.
I can’t imagine that it is all gone. This crisis has taken away so many things, but I think I’m joined by many in Portland who will agree that your restaurants closing is some of the worst news. I don’t know anything about the restaurant business, but you created a special kind of magic.
Thank you for all the memories. I look forward to seeing what you cook up next.
What will we do without Nel Centro?
You do not know me, but I remember many wonderful dinners at Pazzo when we first moved to Portland in 1993. We particularly liked sitting at the counter and watching the cooking…
Since then, I and many friends have become “regulars” at Nel Centro, and occasional at Tanner Creek. You have a major captive audience at Nel Centro of people who live in the neighborhood, PSU faculty and staff, and office workers downtown. Since I forwarded the story in Eater yesterday to a number of friends, I have heard nothing but expressions of regret veering to horror! What will we do without our watering hole, business lunch, and dinner with friends place?
And this does not begin to include your support of the arts organizations like PBO, CMNW, and others, all of whom depended on you for helping to keep their audiences happy and to celebrate events.
From what the article said, clearly there are constraints in how the restaurant world will operate going forward. But there is room for reimagining as well. Is there any way you might reconsider your decision?
Thank you from an appreciative customer
I’ve always admired your work and skill
Just heard the news, very sorry it has to end this way for your company. These are difficult times at best or our industry. I’ve always admired your work and skill as well as an innovator that Portland will greatly miss. Best to you with your future endeavors David.
Sorry and Thank You
We’ve never met, but my wife and I are long time patrons of your restaurants. I’m writing to let you know how sorry we were to learn that you’re closing your restaurants due to the current pandemic.
As a young married couple in the early 90’s, Pazzo was our go-to date night restaurant. We loved the baked garlic cloves that spread like butter across warm bread.
Since then, we’ve been repeat customers at many of your venues, including Lauro, Nel Centro, and Southpark (our favorite place for a cocktail and snack after a movie at Fox Cinema).
My office is just across the street from Altabira, so that quickly became our go to place for expense account lunches or after work happy hours. Earlier this year, my wife and I discovered Pullman, and quickly realized this would have to be part of our regular after-work rotation.
Thank you for 30 years of great dining and good memories. We’ll miss the excellent food and drink, reliably outstanding service, and great vibe. You’ve had a huge impact on Portland’s incredible dining scene, and we’ll miss you.
The wonderful Nel Centro
I am saddened by the loss of the wonderful Nel Centro.
My husband died in July. It was our absolute go-to place, our favorite restaurant in all of Portland. And, on your wall, near the host’s desk, is my favorite painting…the cityscape in blue and yellow. If you are inclined to sell it, it would be my treasure.
My best to you, and my gratitude for the many years of beautiful food and joyous times.
Your restaurants will be sorely missed
So sorry to hear that you are permanently closing your restaurants in and around the Portland area. My family always had a wonderful time at these places and they will be sorely missed.
We will miss your wonderful restaurant
You don’t know us, but we have enjoyed many evenings at Nel Centro after attending a Saturday afternoon show at Broadway at the Keller over the past several years. We had gotten to know some of your staff, particularly Gavin.
We will miss your wonderful restaurant, and I am sorry how the virus has quickly destroyed so many businesses.
We wish you and all of your staff safety and opportunities for recovery,
~ S & LO
Thank you for your contribution
I’m sorry to hear of the closing of your restaurants. My wife and I have enjoyed our meals at Nel Centro, Tanner Creek, and Altabira, and were looking forward to trying Pullman but the COVID closure hit. I’m a big wine geek and was hoping to love it. While I’m sure you don’t remember me, I had a number of excellent meals at Lauro and Southpark in your tenures there, too. In fact, one of my favorite meals ever in Portland was one you did at Southpark for a winemaker dinner with Steve Edmunds of Edmunds St. John. The platter of perfectly-cooked meat that you brought to the table to serve with Steve’s red wines was so spot-on that I still remember it probably 18-20 years later. I just wanted to say thank you for your contribution to the Portland food and restaurant scene and hope that we haven’t lost your skills and talent permanently.
Thanks for the many memories
I am so sad to learn that my dear Nel Centro will not reopen. I was at the restaurant in your very first days – in fact, I followed the window signs on the street and the media stories as the hotel was being renovated. I knew David’s wonderful menus from Pazzo and was thrilled to learn that you would open within a block from me. I could hardly wait for the opening.
I sat at the counter sometimes, the bar sometimes, and at my favorite tables all these years, introducing many friends and clients to my favorite place in town. Michele and David were lovely in welcoming me, and so were all the others on the Team. In all these years, each breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and after-show meal was as wonderful as I could wish for. You have always been a brilliant destination. And, I appreciated your continuing generosity to arts organizations in our community.
If you and the talented team reappear somewhere, please let me know. I hope to sit at your table and to see you again.
All-around favorite patio
I just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear about your having to close Nel Centro, perhaps my all-around favorite patio to hang out in on a warm summer night. It always seemed the right spot to relax in with a good menu to choose from generally and an intelligent, thoughtful wine list. (Loved that well structured French rose you seemed to have a lot.) The patio has the right proportions, the golden mean, I never measured but magical, the lovely maples making great shadows and shade. Close to the museum. I remember a PIFF reception there years ago. And a really special staff feeling too to give that extra comforting touch.
It’s a crazy time in all our lives. I wish you well in making the adjustments you need to make In your businesses. I just wanted you to know how much my wife and I appreciated your creating such a special place as Nel Centro and hope that it perhaps can return soon! We love it!
Thank you for the experiences
My wife encouraged me to send you a note when I told you about your restaurants closing. You probably hear all the time both complaints and Good stories but here us a thank you. I don’t live in pdx but have eaten at some of your restaurants. One of the first was pre-2000 Southpark. I was in college at Willamette then. I ate there a number of times with my now wife and in-laws. As a college kid with very down-home food roots the food blew me away. One of my favorites was a mussel dish with some type of Portuguese sausages and some type of sweet citrusy yummy sauce that I dipped my bread in and drank. I have looked and tried to recreate that dish but alas I have come to the conclusion that I am better off remembering how good it was than trying to have it again.
Again, thank you for the experiences and I look forward to your next chapter.
A true pioneer
This is really devastating news for the city of Portland I feel for all of the front of the house, back of the house and management affected by this decision. Mr. Machado has been an institution in the city of Portland for far longer than Nel centro, he was responsible for pazzo, red star, Southpark, (b Moloch PDXs first gastro pub before that) Lauro kitchen, vindaloo and managed the Heathman. David has left an indelible mark on the city of Portland dining world and was a true pioneer. He will be missed and I am hopeful we will come out of this, but these are sad times indeed.
Will be deeply missed
Loved all these places and went to them regularly. Will be deeply missed.
Love Nel Centro and Altabira
Love Nel Centro and Altabira. Had my Retirement Happy Hour at Nel Centro. Will miss them both.