Native New Yorker Stanley Pratnicki is executive chef and co-owner of Bar Dobre in Portland’s historic Hawthorne district. His new restaurant is a direct influence of growing up in the predominately Polish neighborhood of Maspeth, Queens. While his sisters took language lessons and learned the polka at the Polish National Hall, Stan was busy perfecting pierogi. His Irish-Italian mother was ‘a decent cook’ who sparked his interest in traditional cuisine while trying to please his father’s refined Polish palate. Stan’s earliest cooking memories were with his grandmother and her sisters preparing for annual Christmas dinners. Some of these Pratnicki family traditions, (though not his father’s accordion playing and his mother’s lasagna), are still being carried on at Bar Dobre today, and you don’t even have to be family to attend!
Stan and Chef Lisa Schroeder were classmates at The Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation, Stan worked at several fine dining restaurants in Brooklyn, New York City and Florida. During his migration west, Stan stopped in Aspen, Colorado, worked in some restaurants, and rode the ski resorts.
Since his spring 1997 arrival in Portland, Stan’s resume reads like a list of Portland’s finest restaurants, both past and present: Atwaters, La Buca, PGE Park, Papa Hayden, Pizza Fino, Schnitzer and Keller Auditoriums, and Taqueria Nueve, to name a few. To learn of all aspects of being a restaurateur, Stan worked in delivery and retail for Newman’s Fish Market and in purchasing at Provvista specialty foods.
All these experiences provided Stan with the chops to open Bar Dobre with his wife Kimberly in the winter of 2012. Poland meets Portland in Bar Dobre’s menu, with a mix of traditional Polish fare such as pierogies, golumpkies, kielbasa, and bigos (hunter’s stew) served alongside fusion items like a house-cured “porkstrami” reuben, fried cheese curds and liver pâté.
Besides owning and cheffing at Bar Dobre, Stan is a musician and videographer. He has played in numerous bands including The Columbia Slough-Grass Boys and Power of County. His video production company, Wet Coast Productions, films everything from musical events like School of Rock and Pickathon to local kayakers and snowboarders descending some of the Northwest’s most famous rivers and mountains.
In addition to babying his new business daily, Stan is the proud parent of two dogs, Ellie and Sam.