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Bits ‘n ‘Pieces: Restaurants’ owners inspired by their heritage

The Columbian
Published: January 4, 2010, 12:00am
4 Photos
Charlie Ingle, one of the two Charleses who provide the namesake for the new Charlies Bistro.
Charlie Ingle, one of the two Charleses who provide the namesake for the new Charlies Bistro. Photo Gallery

When the owners of La Bottega decided to branch out with another restaurant, they looked no further than their own heritage for inspiration. Charlies Bistro in the former 1220 Main Restaurant & Bar space is named after Peter Dougherty’s two grandfathers, both named Charles. It’s also a nod to a restaurant in North Dakota called Charlie’s on Main that Lisa Dougherty used to frequent with her grandmother.

The family focus is evident in the cuisine and the decor, said Peter, 43. Charlies Bistro specializes in retro American food, dishes such as beef Wellington and oysters Rockefeller. A picture of Peter’s maternal grandfather, who was a professional boxer, adorns the restaurant’s bar area, as well as the Web site, http://charliesbistro.com.

The restaurant opened Dec. 11, and the Vancouver couple, who have three children, are dividing and conquering to manage both La Bottega in Uptown Village and the nearby Charlies Bistro.

“Our effort is not to compete with ourselves, because we’re only seven blocks away, but to create an alternate space, an alternate choice for dining,” Peter said.

Peace Corps volunteer to share experience

Natalie Brusseau is home visiting her family in Vancouver midway through her Peace Corps service in Ukraine, where she teaches English to fourth- through 11th-grade students. In addition to reuniting with family and friends, Brusseau, 26, will give a talk about her experiences at 6 p.m. Thursday at Washington State University Vancouver. The Heritage High School graduate received her bachelor’s degree from WSU Vancouver in 2006.

Brusseau said she has learned to “go with the flow” while traveling in Ukraine. Once, she had to jump from a moving train to reach her destination. In an e-mail before she left for home last week, Brusseau said she has been most surprised by Ukrainians’ hospitality.

“Many families have opened their homes, cooked meals, taught me about Ukrainian life, and shared their stories with me. I am so appreciative of their willingness to treat me as family.”

Grant to support interactive content for Fort Vancouver

Washington State University Vancouver adjunct professor and Camas resident Brett Oppegaard is hoping that a recently received grant changes the way visitors experience the Fort Vancouver National Site.

Oppegaard, a former Columbian reporter, recently received a $9,000 grant from the Historical Promotion Grants Program to produce interactive multimedia content for mobile technologies such as the iPhone or Android.

Oppegaard, 39, isn’t yet sure what the content will be or how it will be delivered to visitors, but possibilities include interactive maps, interactive videos, audio and text.

“Our goal is not to make informational signposts,” Oppegaard said. “Instead of just walking up and getting a factoid, our goal is to immerse people in the history and make them feel like they’re participating.”

The project stems from Oppegaard’s interest in mobile technology and storytelling. He is currently a doctoral student at Texas Tech University and is working on a dissertation related to mobile storytelling.

Oppegaard was drawn to the mostly empty field surrounding the stockade at the Fort Vancouver National Site due to its historical importance.

During the 1840s, the field was home to a bustling village that was among the largest on the West Coast. “It was this really vibrant community filled with people from all over the world,” Oppegaard said.

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story to share, call Features Editor Elisa Williams, 360-735-4561, or send an e-mail to features@columbian.com.

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