GOSHEN — This is not your father and mother’s version of The Oasis.
The new building has risen from above the pavement along Lincoln Avenue. From the outside, it looks like a two-story building sitting on a three-foot-high platform. The platform part is prevent flooding (like that of February 2018) from impacting the restaurant and bar this is getting ready to reopen. The stature of the structure is because of how different it is from the old version of “The O,” as it came to be called after opening in 1962.
The new building at 702 W. Lincoln Ave. is one-story, but has high ceilings and huge windows as part of the design that owner Heather Tobias Harren calls “industrial chic.” Also, there won’t be any smoking inside.
Tobias Harren has hired Nate Widomski to manage the front of the house and bar. He’s a veteran bartender and server from Harrison Landing, Scotty’s and most recently 523. Piper Tobias (a first cousin of Tobias Harren) is the executive chef. She is a graduate of Ivy Tech Community College and has worked at Chubby Trout and Carriage House.
Tobias Harren worked at The O back in the day and in various restaurants since. With investors Rick Finnigan, Ryan Thwaits and Ryan Smith she bought The O in 2017. The group was planning to remodel and was trying to work that out with state officials when the flood happened. That led to plans for an entirely new restaurant. Demolition happened right after Thanksgiving 2018 and construction started soon thereafter. The goal was to open Oct. 1, but now it’s expected in early November.
What’s the interior like? It’s got concrete floors and high ceilings with some features to deaden sound. Whiskey barrel staves and wooden beer crates are part of the design on the walls. Large booths are in place both in the bar area on the north side of the building and the family dining area on the south side. Hardwood and antiques have been worked into the design. And I must say, the inside is very cool.
What about the old bar? The bar of The Oasis was a tall, glorious piece of wood and glass. It’s been restored and will be the main feature in the bar area. In addition, The O will have a wine dispensing system that can offer varietals by the glass, Widomski said.
What’s the menu like? Chef Piper has been working on a large menu of American fare. She wants the food to be comfortable and unique, but also have broad appeal. The menu she’s put together for the opening has a nice range of lighter and heartier options. Appetizers include shishito peppers with citrus soy yuzu, shrimp cocktail and chicken crack wings. Four salads join burgers, a lobster roll, other sandwiches and bowls that you can build with grains, zucchini noodles, vegetables and meats. The dinner menu has steaks, salmon, a tomahawk pork chop and crispy mushroom alfredo. Brunch will have its own menu from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or so on Sundays. Gluten-free options are on the menu and a separate gluten-free fryer will be in the kitchen. Most items on the menu range from $6 to $18 with steaks or seafood ranging up to $30. Tobias said she wants to use as many local ingredients as possible and that the kitchen doesn’t have a large, walk-in freezer.
What vibe are they going for? Tobias Harren says that while the food and interior are different, she wants customers across a broad spectrum to be comfortable. She wants the service to be amazing. “Some may feel it’s not The O. We still want that Goshen hometown, ‘Hey Bob, hey Mary’” feel, she said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel. We’re just adding spokes.”
What are the hours likely to be? At this point, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or so for brunch. They’re planning to be closed on Tuesdays.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat.