December 23rd, 2023

McMinnville welcomes the new restaurant, Pinch

The outside of a restaurant.  It has big windows and a holiday wreath on the door.
A festive evening at Pinch. Photos by Kate Knapp.

With a name like Pinch, it’s hard not to think of the several idioms that feature that particular word and how they might apply to the newly opened restaurant in McMinnville. For instance,  “Pinch me, I must be dreaming because this almond cake is ridiculously delicious;” or “This is where I want to go for drinks in a Pinch (or anytime);” or “Just a Pinch (or more) of this bearnaise sauce, please.” The meaning of the name isn’t important because all of the statements work for the food and feel of this new dining space.

The former Red Fox Bakery space has been transformed into an elegant yet somehow informal restaurant, complete with rich blue, fern wallpaper; green leather bar stools; and local art featuring animals adorning the walls. The fully stocked bar is a welcoming spot to enjoy a full meal or a glass of wine with a side of fries. Locals and tourists alike fill the cozy booths and wooden tables, while the sounds of their excitement over new flavors echo throughout the intimate space. Pinch is somehow able to walk the line between an inviting place for locals to gather and a stylish spot to celebrate special occasions. That is what makes this new restaurant so different; it can be either or both.  

A bar with place settings.  Green leather chairs are in front of it.

The incredibly friendly and creative couple, Emily and Paul Bachand, are behind this unique space and are no strangers to the restaurant business; they owned and operated the popular Recipe Neighborhood Kitchen in Newberg for 11 years before opening Pinch.

I was fortunate enough to speak to the two of them about why they decided to open a new space in McMinnville, as well as get a little more insight into what makes Pinch so special.

Q: What made you decide to close Recipe and open Pinch?

A: In October of 2022, Emily and I embarked on a journey through rural Spain on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage looking for our next chapter. We decided along the way, we wanted something smaller that we could build together in a town that truly defines and embraces community and progression. We were finishing dinner on Christmas Eve when we got a call from a friend letting us know the [Red Fox] Bakery space was going to be opening. We immediately knew this was where we needed to be, Pinch was about to come to life. A lease was signed two weeks later, and we began the task of remodeling and designing the space.

Q: What is the inspiration behind Pinch?

A: An intimate, casual, and coquettish place that compliments the downtown McMinnville dining scene. We wanted to bring a fun and comfortable energy to the room that offers a sense of community and place.

Pinch’s shoe string fries are a perfect happy hour snack.

Q: Paul, what made you want to be a chef? What made you two want to own your own restaurant?

A: Growing up surrounded by great food and wine inspired me (Paul) to be around those who share the same passion including friends, family, and especially my wife. I think I speak for many chefs that would all agree [that] the goal is owning your own restaurant and having the flexibility and freedom to change things on a whim when needed.

Pinch’s Rigatoni

Q: What are your biggest culinary influences?

A: Taking time off, finding new and exciting cooking methods and ingredients. On our days off, you will most likely find us at Depoe Bay sitting around the rotisserie fire pit [and] dreaming up new dishes or even at a lovely coastal dive bar slurping down oysters and Oregon seafood! 

Q: Why should people dine at Pinch?

A: We hope everyone will come by and experience what we’re doing at Pinch. We love getting inspired by travel and personal experience; at Pinch we share some of our travels through our menu and wine list. It would be an honor to host guests from all over and break bread over shared conversation and love of cooking methods, farming philosophies, winemaking practices, etc.

The Spruced cocktail will get anyone in the holiday spirit.

Q: What dish on your menu is a must-try?

A: Our Pinch salad is certainly one of our most favored dishes; this salad has sweet and savory notes rounded by crunchy textures from walnuts and pancetta. The house made focaccia is also a staple on tables as it is served with whipped ricotta and Spanish olives. It’s been really nice to see so many folks order the octopus; this is something we enjoy at home on the regular [and] it’s been a favorite at Pinch, for sure! Oh, and the fries and bearnaise. Crowd pleaser!

Q: What should people expect when they dine at Pinch? What might be unexpected?

A: [Expect] never to leave hungry or thirsty. Unexpected? Fun dishes that evoke childhood memories like alphabet soup, ice cream sandwiches, and other playful dishes.

Crispy Chicken Milanese

Q: What would you like people to know about Pinch?

A: Ultimately, we are here to have fun. Hospitality is all we know and where we come from; this industry is our home. This space is special to us. These are the dishes we love to share amongst family and friends in our dining room. We want everyone to feel welcomed as if they were [joining us] in our home.

Pinch’s Warm Almond Cake

Kate H. Knapp (she/her) works as a writer, recipe tester, and editor in McMinnville. She loves nothing more than sharing the beauty of food with her little one and has been cooking since she herself was stove-high and whisk-strong.