At Home in Oregon's Wine Country



THIS IS SAM.  He is the definition of a local, born and raised in McMinnville, and now raising his own son here too (Sawyer, 5 years).  At age 14, Sam helped his father renovate the bank building on the corner of 3rd and Cowls (now home to The Bitter Monk), converting the top floor to apartments that comprise Third Street Flats.  His brother, Mitch, created the logo for Community Plate and hand-leafed the gold on the front windows of the restaurant.  His mother, Cassie, served as the Executive Director of the McMinnville Downtown Association prior to her retirement in 2016.  Sam’s own story is intimately entwined with McMinnville’s.

Sam has a super power.  His ability to connect with people is other-worldly, a trait he credits at least in part to the restaurant industry.  At Community Plate, he knows all the regulars… by name, certainly, but way beyond what kind of coffee they drink.  He can tell you Rafe was in the British military, that Charles is studying Chinese, and that Thomas is building a hydrogen powered car.  As local customers arrive, they are usually greeted with a hug or a high-five, but even visitors feel welcome, claiming Sam remembers not only their names but the itinerary shared with him the day before.  “People can get coffee anywhere,” he claims. “Treat them with respect, dignity, enthusiasm… that’s more than half of why they come back.”

“I know I can call any one on this team and say ANYTHING.  I feel accepted, respected, supported.  That kind of environment keeps us all honest.”

Beyond the walls of the restaurant, Sam is a talented musician. Despite never really learning to read music, he has developed near savant abilities on the guitar, teaching himself the complexities of a wide range of genres entirely by ear. He is diligently assembling a collection of songs he’s written in hopes of producing an album someday. In the meantime, he’ll be belting Disney soundtracks way too loudly in the shower, despite protests from his son Sawyer.

FIRST RESTAURANT JOB Red Robin | Portland, Oregon
SPECIALTIES Cappuccino, latté art
YOU CAN FIND HIM Writing cheesy love songs
HOBBIES Music, writing, reading
LOVES His son, Sawyer