Working in Clark County: Peter Dougherty, chef/restaurant owner

By Mary Ricks, Columbian news assistant




Working in Clark County, a brief profile of interesting Clark County business owners or a worker in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: mary.ricks@columb...; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

Peter Dougherty knew early in life he wanted to own a restaurant. He first job after culinary school was in the tropics. After that, Dougherty gained restaurant experience working in Portland. He and his wife, Lisa, opened La Bottega in downtown Vancouver eight years ago, and then opened Charlies Bistro across the street three years later. He was raised in a small town and says he likes Vancouver’s small-town feeling. “I wanted a place in my community,” Dougherty says. “My restaurant is a family endeavor.”

Name: Peter Dougherty.

Job/employer: Peter and his wife, Lisa, own La Bottega, 1905 Main St., and Charlies Bistro, 1220 Main St.

Age: 47.

Education/professional background: Peter Dougherty entered a culinary school in Portland at 19 and upon graduation in 1987 landed a sous chef job in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He and his wife moved back to the Portland area for the birth of their first child. He wanted experience in the industry before starting his own restaurant. Peter worked as a chef in Portland restaurants and at Skamania Lodge. He opened La Bottega in 2006 and Charlies Bistro in 2009.

Residence: Carter Park.

One word to describe yourself: Blessed.

Most rewarding part of job: Working with my family. My wife worked in the restaurant when we first opened, now runs the home. Our three children work with us. I wanted a place in my community. My restaurant is a family endeavor.

Most challenging part of job: Keeping up with industry changes and staff changes is ongoing. It is more and more difficult to run a restaurant as costs go up and there are always new rules. The restaurant is much more about the business side nowadays.

Personal/business philosophy: Love what you do and do it with integrity.

Something you would like to do over: A million things. I could do them over but not sure I would do them any better. I just keep on keeping on.

Best feature of my community: The area. What first attracted us to the area was the community feel of playgrounds at the schools, showing movies on the side of a building, being able to walk to places if you want. It is like living in a small community and being within a bigger community.

What would make your community a better place: A more vibrant downtown.

Favorite restaurant: Taste of Sichuan in Beaverton, Ore.

Hobbies: I like the outdoors. I enjoy gardening, raising chickens, hunting in the winter, fishing, clamming, hiking, hunting mushroom, woodworking.

Volunteer activities: We help a local soup kitchen. A few years ago a friend and I started a soup kitchen at Memorial Lutheran Church. It is now displaced so they use the kitchen at Charlies Bistro in the morning and serve from the church.

Favorite travel destination: We are trying to get to Italy. We thought we would make it this year but with opening another restaurant, the travel date got moved back.

Most interesting book in last 12 months: “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom. It was very moving.

Most interesting play/movie/arts event: David Sedaris. That was really enjoyable.

One thing you want to do this year: Shoot an elk. I have hunted them many times but never shot one.

Something you want to do within five years: Go to Italy. Other than that I don’t know.