Corvallis welcomes new restaurant

Sidecar serves locally sourced, sustainable meals and craft cocktails. Sidecar is located next door to Benny’s Donuts with a barn door separating the businesses.

Keana Pigg, Practicum Contributor

Benny’s Donuts owner opens new restaurant Sidecar next door

OSU graduate and entrepreneur Benny Augeri, owner of Benny’s Donuts, surprised the Corvallis community this August with a neighborhood eatery by the name of Sidecar. 

“Sidecar really brings something new to Corvallis,” Augeri said. “It’s not a brew pub. It’s not a pizzeria. It’s something different that focuses on something more intimate, more familiar.”

The new restaurant serves a variety of locally sourced meals, including housemade tartines, salads, meat dishes and craft cocktails. Each dish is handcrafted with local, fresh and sustainable ingredients. The contemporary northwest vision of the eatery encompasses the ethical vision both its owner and chef have for Sidecar.

“Every Wednesday and Saturday we go to the market,” Hoyt Willard, Executive Chef, said. “We always always believe in fresh, local, simple and sustainable.”

Augeri has made menu decisions based on his experience with Benny’s Donuts.

“We launched gluten-free vegan donuts and we saw that there was this huge community and support for that donut and then we transitioned,” Augeri said. “Essentially there’s an option for everybody. There’s gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.”

Much of the woodwork in the restaurant comes from Oregon-reclaimed white oak or redwood. The fresh and local dishes, the natural essence of design and natural light all contribute to making Sidecar an organic space. That space brings together underlying values and traditions to create culture and brand. 

Located at 110 NW 3rd St. just off of Monroe Avenue, Sidecar shares its roof and kitchen with Benny’s Donuts with a large sliding barn door separating the two spaces.

“I originally designed the donut shop in 1,500 square feet, leaving 2,500 left as kind of a makerspace for me to tinker around in and figure out what I wanted to do in here because I knew that this destination was prime,” Augeri said. “We created a neighborhood eatery and then really focused on a modern local kitchen but has some international appeal to it so it could showcase not only local ingredients but also different styles of food in a really contemporary way.”

According to Augeri, the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator was the catalyst to his career when the program helped him launch Benny’s Donuts. This program assists innovators and entrepreneurs in the Mid-Willamette Valley and extended OSU community with starting up emerging enterprises, according to the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator website. 

They gave him the accessibility, knowledge and network to begin. The mentorship and resources that he needed to become a successful entrepreneur stemmed from the program, according to Augeri.

“We’re really looking for entrepreneurs that really want to do this, not those that are looking for it as a hobby,” Mark Lieberman, OSU Advantage Accelerator Chief Startup Officer, said. “We want to see that fire in the belly and that’s what we saw in Benny.”

The fire in his belly and keen eye for opportunity has given Augeri a reputation in the entrepreneurial community. People all over Corvallis have noticed his uniqueness.

Sidecar is only a few months old, yet Augeri already has ideas and plans to grow his restaurant. Opening soon on Sundays, Sidecar will be offering happy hours. He also wants to open for breakfast. 

“In every community there are a certain number of entrepreneurs who drive a lot of economic activity,” Karl Mundorff, OSU Advantage Accelerator Director, said. “We think Benny is one of those guys for Corvallis. He could be Dan Whitaker.”

The ideas don’t just stop with Sidecar. From a delivery service and storefront to two complementary businesses, Augeri continues to think of the next big opportunity.

“I think that I am going to pursue something in tech next,” Augeri said. “I’ve already started messing around with technology in restaurant space and things that would solve problems for people.”

Augeri is young, and his lively attitude and drive to always stay his own boss has reflected on both of his businesses so far.

“Life is complex,” said Augeri. “This place is designed for life so therefore this place has complexity in it but in a way that everyone can enjoy every part of it.”