In the dynamic and ever-evolving culinary landscape, Urban Restaurant Group stands as a beacon of innovation, resilience, and entrepreneurial spirit. For over 35 years, this locally-owned venture, under the stewardship of husband-and-wife duo Mark and Carla Byrum, has not only survived but thrived, expanding its footprint across Oregon’s gastronomic map with a diverse array of dining establishments and catering services.
The story of Urban Restaurant Group is one of humble beginnings, ambitious dreams, and the relentless pursuit of culinary excellence. It began with Mark Byrum, the Chief Executive Officer, whose vision and leadership have been the driving force behind the group’s success. Carla Byrum, not just the co-owner but also the Chief Designer, has infused each venture with unique aesthetic elements, making every dining experience distinct and memorable.
"The Executive Team"
A blend of culinary and business expertise, includes Kenneth Liebl, the Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the seamless operations of all restaurants. Minoo Omidvar, the Controller, ensures the financial health and sustainability of the enterprise. The Sales Division, led by Ashley Marxen and Rebecca Childs, drives growth and customer engagement, crucial for the group’s expanding presence.
Culinary innovation lies at the heart of Urban Restaurant Group’s ethos, championed under the direction of Cliff Denny, Rob Hollen, and Adrian Cervantes, along with Richard Hollen, the Beverage Director, together they craft menus unique to each location. The Directors of Hospitality, Anthony Williams and Maxwell Schoofs, ensure that each guest encounter is nothing short of exceptional.
The Chefs de Cuisine, Adrian Perez and Mike Schultz bring their culinary artistry to the forefront, while Greg Peterson, the Facilities/Construction Manager, oversees the physical spaces that house these culinary destinations. The group’s portfolio is a testament to its versatility and commitment to quality. It includes the beloved Chez Jose in Portland, alongside mainstays like Bartini, Urban Fondue, Carlita’s, and BRIX Tavern in the Pearl District, which recently opened two new locations in Tualatin and Keizer.
Also in Portland, community favorite Fuller’s Coffee Shop recently reopened, and Fuller’s Burger Shack opened its second location in Pioneer Mall, joining the inaugural property in Cascade Station. Some of the newest iterations for URG include TORO Mexican Kitchen and Taylor Street Tavern, which alongside Metropolitan Tavern and Swine Moonshine, round out the properties in the Portland Metro area.
Expanding into the Eugene market, Urban Restaurant Group has several locations housed in the Gordon Hotel, including Gordon Tavern and 86 Speakeasy just off the lobby, and Carlita’s Rooftop, the second location for the popular taco, tequila, and whiskey bar.
Their flagship catering service, Pearl Catering, also in Portland, narrates a story of grit and growth from its inception in 2003. Mark Byrum reminisces about the early days, starting with a junker van and a minimal budget, emphasizing their grassroots approach and reliance on relationship-building and word-of-mouth
In essence, Urban Restaurant Group is more than just a collection of dining establishments; it is a chronicle of passion, perseverance, and entrepreneurial success. It stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when vision is combined with hard work, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to quality. As the group continues to grow and evolve, it remains a symbol of the diverse culinary tapestry that defines the modern gastronomic experience.