Bellhop: A Unique Corvallis Dining Experience

Bellhop: A Unique Corvallis Dining Experience

Maddie Bradshaw

Many restaurants in Corvallis are designed to fit in with the college town theme. Whether it’s cheap and convenient, or has a neon sign in the front, almost every restaurant in town is suited for college students. However, Bellhop restaurant in downtown Corvallis is not one. “We take it very seriously,” said Head Chef Ian Hutchings in reference to the style of his restaurant.

The space is uniquely shaped, but every inch of the restaurant is taken into consideration in terms of design. From the moment you walk in, you will notice the bright white letters on floral wallpaper that read ‘Bellhop’. The counter stretches from end to end, with light granite countertops. On top of the counter sits domed, hotel-like containers with pastries in them. In the back of the restaurant there is a bar with a wide row of shelves filled with jars of ingredients and a stack of cookbooks from many different authors. The back wall is sleek black tile, so clean you can almost see your reflection. The restaurant is kept incredibly clean as well. It is no accident that everything ties together inside of Bellhop. However, the décor is not the only thing that is meticulously thought out.

Head Chef Ian Hutchings has had a passion for baking since he was a child. “Neither of my parents knew how to cook,” Hutchings said. He learned how to cook from his grandmothers on both sides of his family. One of his grandmothers was from Iowa and had a Midwestern style to her food.

When Hutchings was 14-years-old he got his first job as a babysitter. Throughout high school he worked as a server at an authentic diner, then later became a chef and worked there for five years. Hutchings loved the idea of traditional food. “My grandmother used to make this rice, and she had made it for some many years that it became second nature to her. I’ve practiced for years, but I still can’t make the rice like she used to,” Hutchings said.

It was no secret that Hutchings has a Midwestern side himself. He wore a worn out Green Bay Packers t-shirt, a beanie over his head and faded jeans with a rip in the knee. “Go Packers,” Hutchings exclaimed pointing down at his shirt. Despite his Midwestern roots, he earned a degree from University of California, Los Angeles, in mathematics. Even though he had dreams of being a teacher, cooking was his first priority. He was passionate about mathematics and teaching, which he did pursue for a bit, but for the last 12 years he has been in the restaurant business.  

His wife was at the back counter cutting fresh flowers and arranging them in a vase. She too has a passion for Bellhop, being the brains behind the hotel decor and Hutchings handles the food. Much like his personality, Hutchings food is straight-to-the-point. He makes his own food from scratch to make everything authentic, bacon and French fries. What you see is what you get with the food. His vision was for customers to come in and have a unique experience.  

Bellhop is not a traditional college town restaurant, which is part of the reason it’s been so popular. “That’s one of the nice things about Corvallis,” Hutchings says, “People are loyal here.” Hutchings has been in the restaurant business for 24 years and still enjoys coming into work each day. He stays true to his Midwestern roots, much like he stays true to his food. If you haven’t been to Bellhop yet, drop in for some great food and even better company.

Image source: @bellhopcorvallis (via Instagram)