By Tina Sillers, For the Post-Record
Standing in what used to be the dining room of the Lakeside Chalet restaurant in Camas, new owners Janessa and Chuck Stoltz point out the spot they’ve chosen for their new bistro tables.
The couple is revamping the longtime restaurant near Lacamas Lake and will open Acorn and the Oak, a cocktail bar-flower shop fusion, this summer.
The Chicago newlyweds purchased the building on Everett Street from longtime owners Nick and Paula Stanley in February.
“I felt like it was kismet, the way Nick and Paula looked at us and talked about raising kids up there. We want to have kids. It was like, ‘Yeah, this is the place,'” Janessa said. “The building needs some love, but the mojo here is good.”
The Stanleys ran the Lakeside Chalet for 20 years before retiring earlier this year. They also lived in the upstairs apartment with their family.
“I thought this place was right from the start,” Chuck said. “Paula and Nick were awesome, and we are following in their footsteps and continuing their legacy, I guess.”
The Stoltzes relocated from Chicago to Vancouver a couple years ago to be closer to family. Like the Stanleys, the couple also plans to live above their Acorn and the Oak business. Janessa said she and her husband are excited to make Camas their home.
“It feels like it is a magical situation that we have got going here. I think that’s why we made the decision a few weeks ago to move over here,” she said. “This is where we are supposed to be, when we are supposed to be here and I feel really good about it. I think it is pretty rare to find a place like this.”
Although the business won’t serve breakfast and lunch like the Lakeside Chalet used to, food is on the Stoltzes’ business plan.
Instead of a traditional restaurant or bar, the lakeside Acorn and the Oak will be a cocktail bar inside a flower shop.
The Stoltzes both admit it’s a rare concept. But the fusion combines the best of both of their worlds.
Janessa owned a Chicago flower shop called Forget Me Knodt before meeting Chuck, who was a successful restaurant owner.
“We are just putting two awesome things together,” Chuck said of he and Janessa’s new business.
Janessa contends the combination isn’t so out there.
“Good food, good drink and beautiful flowers and plants — they are all celebratory things and they all go together,” she said. “We want it to be a happy place where people want to come and hang out with us. We love to entertain. Hopefully, it will feel like a cohesive environment where you get the best of all your senses.”
For anyone who remembers the Lakeside Chalet’s layout, the flower shop will be in the old dining area with tables along the wall of windows where people can sip cocktails and enjoy views of Lacamas Lake.
“The old lobby and kitchen area will be the bar side, or Chuck’s side,” Janessa said. “We want it to feel like we are having you over to our house, and it is going to be a beautiful house.”
The couple is having the 83-year-old building completely gutted inside and out — and the transformation has attracted the attention of many longtime Lakeside Chalet fans.
So many people have inquired about what is happening at the location that Janessa has already built a following of Camas-area folks on her social media sites, with more than 800 people following the couple’s Instagram account and learning about Acorn and the Oak before it even opens.
Janessa said she is thrilled there is already so much buzz. One online supporter even left a flower basket on the front steps of the building after seeing the Acorn and the Oak Instagram page.
“The experience so far has been absolutely incredible.” she said. “I feel so much emotional support from the community. Having people cheer you on even before they know who you are or exactly what you are doing, to have that much support (is incredible). I have been trying to tell people on social media how thankful I am, but I don’t think you can.”
Janessa said she and Chuck have found the community’s support is a great motivator.
“It is like when you have a boss that is a good friend to you, and they support you and challenge you. You want to do well for them. It makes it more so when we open, we want to give everything, the best of everything. That is how it makes me feel.”