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Foodies Favorite Finds: Chris Starkus of Urban Farmer

Monday, June 22, 2015


Chef Chris with Chef Hillary at OMSI's Bourbon and Bacon Festival. Photo Credit: Urban Farmer (Image Cropped)

Chef Chris Starkus is the Executive Sous Chef at Urban Farmer in Portland, Oregon. A modern steakhouse with an emphasis on Northwest, sustainable ingredients and simple, straightforward presentations, Urban Farmer sources ingredients from some of the Northwest’s finest local producers. With a love of Portland, a positive vibe and a laid-back attitude, Starkus brings years of seafood experience to the kitchen at Urban Farmer. 

Growing up in Southern California, Starkus was unaware that his family dinners were different. With most of his family photos taken in front of food, he fondly remembers his Italian grandmother making 15 pies for the family at a time, all using dough from scratch. In a half Lithuanian and half Italian family, there was no lack of delicious homemade food. Starkus’ first position cooking was at an Applebee’s. His dad, who knew he was far more talented, encouraged him to attend culinary school. 

Following culinary school, Starkus moved to Las Vegas at age 17. As a young, enthusiastic cook, it was the perfect time to be there. With a flood of famous chefs from around the world pouring in and opening restaurants, his first position was at Chinois. Since then he has worked at acclaimed Las Vegas restaurants, holding Chef de Cuisine positions at both Stratta and rm seafood. At Urban Farmer, he uses his experience and Oregon’s seafood bounty to push the envelope, creating unique fish dishes that stand out. 

When Starkus is not cooking, he is hiking, cycling, gardening, and spending time with his sonHarper.  

When asked about his Favorite Food Find, Starkus said, “Prontobella Italian Kitchen in Clackamas is where I like to go with the family on my days off. The owner shows New York roots in the menu and weekly specials, and I usually order the Napoli style pizza with some of their local micro beer draft offerings. They have some retro arcade games which makes it fun for kids and parents.”

Urban Farmer, 525 SW Morrison, (503) 222 - 4900. Sunday - Thursday, 6:30am - 10pm, and Friday and Saturday 6:30am -11pm. 

Homepage Photo Credit: Urban Farmer Facebook 


Related Slideshow: Where to Dine Out in Portland’s 10 Hottest Restaurant Neighborhoods

Find the Best ranked Portland neighborhoods according to number of restaurants per capita. The top restaurant neighborhoods included the Lloyd district, Old Town, The Pearl and more - all of which have an abundance of hip, tasty places to dine. Here are GoLocalPDX's picks for where to dine out in Portland's 10 hottest restaurant neighborhoods. 

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Salty's, Sunderland

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in Sunderland: 99.4

Salty's sits on the waterfront of the Columbia River, and serves up delicious seafood and steak daily. 

3839 N.E. Marine Drive. 

Photo via saltys.com

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PAADEE, Kerns Neighborhood

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in Kerns: 101.2 

Paa dee, which means "to bring good things," serves up sophisticated thai dishes and craft cocktails daily. 

6 SE 28th Avenue. 

Photo via paadeepdx.com

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Nostrana, Buckman Neighborhood

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in Buckman: 121.6

Enjoy a slice of Italy at Nostrana - serving up fine wines, cocktails and Italian style lunch and dinner dishes every day. 

1401 SE Morrison Street. 

Photo via nostrana.com

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¿Por Que No?, Boise Neighborhood

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in Boise: 123.9

¿Por Que No? Taqueria strives for sustainability using locally harvested meat and recycled materials, while serving up delectable mexican flavors. 

3524 N Mississippi Avenue.

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Paley's Place, Northwest District

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in the Northwest District: 127.6

Paley's place - with only 50 seats - provides guests an intimate and sophisticated dining experience.  

1204 Northwest 21st Avenue. 

Photo via paleysplace.net

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Andina, The Pearl

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in the Pearl: 155.3

Visit Andina in the Pearl district for a unique, elegant taste of Peru. 

1314 Northwest Glisan Street. 

Photo via andinarestaurant.com

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Wilfs, Old Town Chinatown

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in the Pearl: 178.2 

The 1950's inspired restaurant and lounge, Wilfs, serves classic American style cuisine and often hosts live jazz musicians.

800 NW 6th Avenue.  

Photo via wilfsrestaurant.com

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Shandong, Hollywood District

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in the Hollywwod District: 219.6

This classic Chinese eatery features hand-pulled noodles in unique, authentic cuisine. 

3724 NE Broadway. 

Photo via shandongportland.com

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Departure, Downtown

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in Downtown: 227.3

Departure Restaurant and Lounge featuring head chef Gregory Gourdet, not only provides guests with one of the best views in Portland, but also serves up-scale asian-fusion cuisine. 

525 SW Morrison Street. 

Photo via departureportland.com

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Frank's Noodle House, Lloyd District

Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in the Lloyd District: 499.1

Frank's serves up traditional Chinese eats in a refurbished house, and specializes in traditional hand-pulled noodles with meat or vegetables.

822 NE Broadway. 


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