The Joel Palmer House is a fine dining restaurant nestled in the magical forests and rolling hills of Oregon’s wine country in the Willamette Valley. The dishes are creative and inviting as Chef Czarnecki makes his own mark on family recipes that have been passed down through 4 generations of Czarnecki Family chefs. The menu showcases the wild mushrooms and truffles unique to the Oregon region that are known for their alluring smell and subtlety they bring to each dish. One dish that highlights both the family’s history and Oregon’s local ingredients is the hearty and vegetarian Joe’s Wild Mushroom Soup.

The Pacific Northwest region’s wild mushrooms and Pinot Noir are a “match made in heaven” for the menu at the Joel Palmer House as the wine’s natural earthiness connects directly with the menu’s theme.

Czarnecki’s ability to take these wild, gnarled, “diamond in the rough” looking ingredients, and reveal its true character in intimate recipes is what makes the Joel Palmer House the unique food destination that it is.  

The chill of midwinter always revives the tried and true soup recipes that we keep stashed away for “those days” that feel just right. Days that welcome memories of running inside after a long day of jumping in snow piles and being greeted with the silkiness of creamy tomato or gobbling down bowls of chicken noodle. Being the comfort food that it is, soup is so deeply personal and tells a story in a way that no sandwich or salad ever could.

Chef and fourth-generation restaurant owner, Christopher Czarnecki, has many fond memories of soup recipes handed down from grandfather to father to son. To celebrate these honored family traditions, the Joel Palmer House restaurant sponsors a soup contest in January with the prize being persona lessons. Check their site for more details.

Christopher Czarnecki began his food journey at a very young age, making whipped cream in 4th grade and starting to learn the art of hospitality and how to properly serve food at the family restaurant in Pennsylvania in the 5th grade.

“I literally grew up in the restaurant business,” said Czarnecki, as he recalled his time spent living above their restaurant as a child.

He continued explaining that he had always enjoyed cooking for himself and the joy it brought him to see others appreciate his food. Czarnecki stepped away from the restaurant business to join the United States Army and was deployed to Iraq, but upon his return, his father asked him to carry on the family business.

His days now starts at noon planning the evening for the restaurant where Czarnecki and his sous chef begin to plan the menu and discuss dish development. From there they begin preparing dinner as guests arrive for dinner between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Once the dinner rush is over, they shut down the restaurant and are home by midnight to get some sleep and prepare for another busy day.

On cold and cloudy days Czarnecki shared that he finds joy in a bowl of rich and creamy clam chowder.

“Days like that I enjoy being able to sit down on the couch with my wife, eat, and enjoy each other’s company.” said Czarnecki.

In case you’re taking notes to try and gain and edge in the competition, French Onion soup is another favorite of Czarnecki’s as well as the wide range of possibilities that are available for Gazpacho.

With respect to pursuing your own culinary adventure and deciding which soup recipe to submit to the competition, Czarnecki advises to be creative and “…don’t let your fear of failure hinder you. Learn as much as possible. You should experiment! Whatever it is that you had at a restaurant, try making it at home. Look up 20 different recipes before you start and see what they have in common. From there you can get creative.”

This sage advice, Czarnecki says, comes from his time spent in the “culinary school of Nanny and PopPop” and his own journey in taking traditional Polish food and intertwining it in a dance with modern cooking methods, beautiful local ingredients, and local Oregon wine pairings.

More information about The Joel Palmer House and their menu can be found at