HEADLANDS TEAM SPOTLIGHT
GET TO KNOW OUR TEAM MEMBERS: JASON AND NICHOLAS
Jason, Assistant General Manager, Meridian Restaurant & Bar
Nicholas, Assistant Manager, Meridian Restaurant & Bar
Meridian’s dynamic duo Jason and Nicholas each found their way to the Oregon coast from opposite sides of the country and together now help to oversee Meridian’s dining experience.
What brought you to the coast?
Jason: I was born and raised in southern California, and I spent many summers traveling with my family in our camper—we’d always head north towards Oregon and Washington. Early on in those trips I decided that I wanted to eventually reside somewhere surrounded by pine trees, not palm trees.
My wife and I lived in the bay area prior to moving to Pacific City. We both worked in the restaurant industry, knew we were ready for a change and ideally wanted to be in the Pacific Northwest. When I arrived at Headlands for my initial interview I was awestruck by the spaciousness, beauty, and attention-to-detail the moment the giant entrance doors opened. And when I saw that I could do what I love every day while looking at the ocean and trees, and at the same time be a part of creating something incredibly special, it was as they say, “a done deal.” My wife Renae and I moved here in the spring of 2018 with our two dogs Kenai and Yukon and one fat cat named Rusty. Renae now works directly across the street from Headlands as Hart’s Camp Coordinator.
Nicholas: I am originally from Saratoga Springs, NY. After college, my girlfriend Emily and I knew we wanted to move someplace new. Emilys dad is from the Eugene area and after many trips across the country to visit, we just decided to take our chances and move to Oregon in the winter of 2020/2021. I think that my path to Meridian was quite serendipitous, and a sequence of “right place, right time” interactions. After arriving in Oregon, I got my real estate license and was working on the central coast for a brief time. One morning I began chatting with someone in Waldport who told me I had to visit Pelican Brewing in Pacific City. So, I drove up to Pacific City, found Pelican, and subsequently discovered Headlands and Meridian. I showed up at Headlands with my resume in hand and knew immediately that this was the place I wanted to be. The first person I met, of course, was Jason.
Jason: I took one look at Nicholas’s resume and knew we needed him on-board!
Nicholas: For me, it’s been an incredible opportunity to be a part of something that is still evolving. I get to learn new things and tackle new challenges every day. It’s extremely rewarding.
Can you share a bit more about how you collaborate with one another?
Jason: I highly rely on Nicks culinary background; his feet are firmly planted in this type of dining environment. (Nicholas holds a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Whales) I bring the “operations” piece. We curate the wine and cocktail menu together, typically Nick oversees the wine selections and I love to find new PNW distilleries.
Nicholas: We’re constantly bouncing ideas off one another and work together to develop offerings that are truly special and unique. Jason and I recently collaborated on our new spring Northwest Nightcap flight—it features chocolates from A Yen for Chocolate with a special liqueur from New Deal Distillery—it’s quite delicious!
What do you suggest a first-time Headlands guest must try?
Jason: If the tides are right, clamming with an Adventure Coach is a must. There is nothing quite like it to really immerse oneself in our incredibly stunning natural surroundings. Have dinner at the bar and watch the Chef Team work their magic in the open kitchen. Sample some delicious spirits from Oregon craft distillers, such as Stone Barn Brandyworks. Even better—watch the sun set on your private balcony while sampling an Oregon Spirits Flight or Pinot Noir Flight.
Nicholas: I really enjoy the mixology classes we offer—not just because I like sharing my knowledge with guests, but it allows me to personalize each session and there’s always something to learn about one another. I’d also suggest the Northwest Brunch Board—what’s better than watching the dory boats land and launch from the beach while you enjoy a leisurely in-room brunch and Meridian-made Bloody Mary?
What is your favorite Meridian dish or beverage? (If you can choose just one!)
Jason: The rib steak with a glass of Brick House Due East Gamay Noir—ideally enjoyed on a date night with my wife and dogs. I love that Meridian has special tables where doggie-family members can join in on the fun.
Nicholas: Absolutely the Char-Grilled Octopus; there is nothing like it. Wines are a challenge for me, there is too many to choose from, but right now the Oregon reds on our menu are particularly impressing me— lately I’ve been enjoying the Dolcetto from Jubilee Vineyard in Eola-Amity, OR.
What is your favorite coastal adventure?
Jason: I’m quite happy just spending a day at Sitka Sedge getting lost on the trails with my dogs.
Nicholas: I like to be anywhere that I can be surrounded by wildlife. Bob Straub is one of my favorite spots to explore. You’ll also find me hanging out at the boat launch just south of town, it’s one of my favorite spots to stop on the way to or from work and the scenery changes every time I visit.