To say Margot Feves and her intimate event space Opal 28 had a successful first year would be an understatement. Opal 28 was named Oregon Bride Magazine’s Best New Venue 2014 and won the Portland Business Journal honor as a Better Bricks Commercial Real Estate Retail Project 2014.
Margot Talia Feves was named Margot after her Great-Grandmother Mae on her mother’s side and Talia after her Great-Grandmother Tilla on her father’s side of the family. Raised in Southwest Portland, Margot became a bat mitzvah at Congregation Neveh Shalom and was active in BBYO.
After graduating from the University of San Francisco with majors in business and communications, Margot moved to Chicago and worked in sales and marketing, predominantly in the hospitality and event industry. These skills have transferred into the development of her own private event space in inner Northeast Portland – Opal 28 on 28th Avenue.
Margot returned to her Portland roots five years ago when her niece, Sadie Levenick, was born. Shortly after returning she started a dinner delivery service called Dinner At Your Door (dinneratyourdoor.com) out of a rental kitchen space. In the process of looking for her own commercial kitchen, the concept for Opal 28 evolved. We interviewed Margot recently and learned all about the venture.
What is Opal 28?
Besides being an intimate event space, Opal 28 has a commercial kitchen and hotel-style apartment accommodations. The event space is a destination for small weddings, because we can accommodate 60 people for a ceremony and seated dinner or up to 125 for a cocktail party. Our brides love to use the apartments as a bridal suite and a place for out-of-town guests to stay. It’s a unique Portland wedding and event experience without being in a hotel with so many formalities.
How did you come up with the name?
Opal is the October birthstone, and we are located on 28th Avenue. Coincidentally my late Gram Sadie’s birthday is on Oct. 28. She would have been 100 this year!
I know she would have loved to have a party for my Grandpa Al Feves in my space. My grandparents loved the old Mallory Hotel, now Hotel deLuxe. Opal 28 has that kind of charm.
What makes an event at Opal 28 unique?
The building was originally built in 1908 and maintains much of the style of that era. High ceilings throughout the second-floor apartments have quickly become an “it” spot for wedding photos. The patio has people commenting “It is so European!” While that was not the actual look I was going for, the bistro lights, private entrance and neighboring apartment buildings peering in make it feel whimsically urban. Additionally, we are flexible. We welcome outside catering and have a full-service bar onsite. Venue rental includes many items like designer plates and a variety of table sizes. Did I mention staff? They are all gems and pour their hearts and souls into each party. Plus for me the whole project has been such a labor of love, and I think that shows in the aesthetics.
You mentioned a commercial kitchen. What happens in there?
A lot! Initially when I found the property, it was all about the kitchen and creating a shared space for my dinner delivery service, Dinner At Your Door, and other Portland-made food products. We have Shurky Jerky, Boozy Jams, Sage and Sea Farms Vinegar, Noble Spices and others that rent the kitchen by the hour or on a monthly lease.
We also use the kitchen for in-house catering, though I do allow outside vendors for our events. We also have a perfect platform to allow really great onsite food service.
Would you share some event experiences?
Luckily every event is a little different, which keeps the day-to-day so exciting! We had a 60th birthday party where we hired food trucks to serve the 140 people on our front sidewalk and a live band in the private back patio. Zest Floral and Event owner Hailey Bernstein and I go back to BBG-event planning together. Now we collaborate on my seasonal décor.
Opal 28 hosted guest chefs during the inauguration of the Malaysia-Portland Sister City dinner. We hosted the Neveh Shalom campaign kickoff party and the Mittleman Jewish Community Center annual managers retreat. While the majority of summer weekends are filled with wedding bells, we host numerous other groups. It is so varied with intimate book clubs, baby showers and all kinds of birthday parties.
Any other standout events?
Former Portland Trailblazers Jerome Kersey and Terry Porter were onsite for the filming of an ESPN interview. One producer stayed in an upstairs apartment and the event space was turned into a backdrop for the filming.
World Champion Body Builder Val Worrell had her holiday party at Opal 28. There have definitely been a few starstruck moments.
We have hosted elaborate weddings that start with a cocktail hour, move into a religious seated ceremony and follow with a formal dinner and dancing. The next day we have had the patio turn into a think tank for high-level executives.
I love seeing how every bride is a little different with décor.
Opal is 1 year old … what’s next?
This past year has been a huge learning experience about the Portland event industry. With that I have noticed a couple missing venue styles that perhaps in the future I will be able to create!
Gloria Hammer divides her time between Portland and Hood River. Her interviews with interesting people including entrepreneurs, a school principal and former Portland Mayor Vera Katz appear periodically in Oregon Jewish Life. This month’s profile features her daughter Margot Feves.