Many a restaurant customer has visited the two-story restaurant at 312 Grand Avenue in Paonia. Since December, the restaurant has new life as Paula's.
When diners walk up to the front porch and through the bright red door, they enter into a delightfully decorated restaurant with a cowgirl motif. Paula Olsen is the owner and chef offering a delicious menu of items for brunch and dinner. There's a martini bar upstairs along with comfortable family dining upstairs and downstairs.
Paula's specialties include sea bass, rib-eyed steak, prosciutto and sage-wrapped pork tenderloin, alfredo chicken or shrimp, crab cakes, as well as fried green tomato stacks with herbed goat cheese. On some occasions, she prepares Thai food for the entire evening.
For a finishing touch she makes her own cheesecake and a four-layer Mandarin Chocolate Cake that is rich and yummy. She also offers brownie sundaes and apple tarts. Almost everything on the menu is made by her in the restaurant or locally-made.
She has a full bar serving cocktails, beer and wine. Her neighbor, Revolution Beer, is on tap. Wines from the local vineyards are served. She offers a champagne brunch.
Paula's is also a place for special events. "It's a great place for bachelorette parties and live music." There's a loft above the second floor dining and bar area.
In the future she wants to have a comedy night and murder mystery dinners. The patio will be an awesome place next spring and summer for dining and live music. The facility would be a lovely setting for small weddings and events.
Paula's serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Monday, and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday. Paula's is closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday nights.
Paula Olsen grew up in Crawford and graduated from Paonia High School. She studied to be a chef at Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Art in 1995. That training has given her the taste and flair for preparing fine dining entrees. She's never been in an Iron Chef competition. She doesn't enjoy being in the public eye, but enjoys being the person working behind the scenes creating the dishes that will bring smiles to her customers' faces.
When Paula was fresh out of culinary school she worked at Lowes Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel in Nashville. She operated her original Paula's restaurant in Tennessee for five years.
She moved back to Paonia in 2009. Prior to opening this restaurant, she drove a large rig across country making deliveries. She found that to be scary and empowering. "You learn to have a lot of respect for the road. That's for sure," she said. "It's very stressful [due to] time constraints."
The restaurant business can also be stressful. She is doing all the cooking. "Things are slower in the winter, which is a good time to start a restaurant because you can work out the kinks," Paula said. "By the time it gets busy you have your recipes and menu down. When the busy season starts, it will be second nature."
You probably have met Paula when she worked at Back Country Coffee and Fresh and Wyld Farmhouse Inn. She got back into the restaurant business because that's where her talent lies and because she wants to work for herself rather than for someone else.
Make plans soon to enjoy an evening at Paula's in Paonia.blog comments powered by Disqus