I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time. The stories I saw about Jon Paul Steuer‘s death overlooked his amazing Harvest restaurant at the Bindery in Portland. And of near equal importance, they overlooked its surviving Instagram feed full of delectable offerings.

During the last few years, I had the opportunity to spend increasing amounts of time in Portland. The city has a variety of wonderful vegetarian and vegan restaurants. One of the best I discovered was Harvest at the Bindery.

How good was Harvest? Just browse its instagram feed, @harvest_at_the_bindery, which shows a few hundred examples of the restaurant’s offerings (and more at Facebook):

Screenshot of Harvest and the Bindery on Instagram

The quality, variety and uniqueness remains stunning.

In certain ways, it rivaled my favorite vegan restaurant in Seattle, the now defunct Sutra, but it was definitely more affordable and accessible as it operated as an everyday walk in restaurant.

Here’s a screenshot of a few Facebook reviewers:

Reviews of Harvest at the Bindery on its Facebook Page

I found an earlier menu of Harvest via Eater and archived Harvest web pages at Archive.org. And, I’ve gathered an array of related links below.

The super-seasonal menu is plant based and free of animal products, but Steuer and Sigmon say the menu isn’t so much about being vegan as it is about celebrating the versatility of vegetables.

Opening Alert: Veg-Focused Harvest at the Bindery Now Open on NE Sandy, Eater

I’m fairly sure I spoke to Mr. Steuer once or twice at Harvest, asking him about the food and complimenting him on his efforts. I’d almost always see him walking about the restaurant overseeing. I had no idea I’d seen him years earlier in Star Trek Next Generation as Worf’s son, Alexander. Steuer was also a longtime musician.

It’s more about being pro-vegetable than anti-meat and dairy. They sub out spaghetti squash for noodles in a carbonara dish, for instance, because they want to, not because they have to.

First Taste at Harvest at the Bindery, Portland Mercury

Of all of his accomplishments, ambition and vision, he was an inspiring restauranteur, one who led with an eco-sensitive nature-oriented vision for food, worthy of the futurism of Star Trek.

With this post, I wanted to raise the visibility of Harvest in what Star Trek fans and others knew of him. But because we rarely talk about suicide openly in our society I think it’s important to mention this too, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. Wikipedia states that Steuer died from suicide with a firearm. I didn’t know Steuer personally or what contributed to his action but I know that typically poor access to quality mental health care and access to guns have a large impact on suicide rates. It’s on all of us to fix this.

I miss Harvest as I’m sure many other Portlanders do. His family, friends, bandmates and coworkers surely miss Mr. Steuer much more so. I wish we all could have another chance to reflect the brightness of his path and vision back to him.

I wish we all could have another chance to reflect the brightness of his path and vision back to him.

I appreciated this photo of Steuer (left) and Harvest’s founding Chef Sean Sigmon as perhaps representative of his vision with Harvest:

jon steur harvest portland vegan star trek
Chef Sean Sigmon and owner, Jon Steuer, March 16, 2016

Rest in peace Mr. Steuer. Thank you for all you shared with us.

Related Links

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest. Check out Portland Wild, a visual map-driven guide to Portland's public art, its Heritage Trees and its Little Free Libraries.

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