Cafe Eugene is a farm-to-table Pacific Northwest inspired restaurant in Albany, California that does lunch, happy hour and dinner seven days a week with a full bar and brunch on weekends.
Owner, Bar Manager, Ryan Murff
Born and raised in the small college town of Eugene, Oregon; Ryan was influenced greatly by the culture of the Pacific Northwest. Ryan grew up in a family inspired by their town and it’s dedication to community through its local produce, food and culture. At the University of Oregon, Ryan studied for a degree in Fine Arts in Sculpture. It is during these creative years that Ryan began cooking in local Eugene restaurants.
Ryan moved to the Berkeley in 2003 to chase his college sweetheart, and now wife, who was from Oakland. Upon moving to Berkeley, Ryan started a catering business and worked nights as a bartender at Café Rouge. Ryan embraced the bartending culture and added this new skill to his food service repertoire. Ryan also worked as a server and bartender at acclaimed restaurants: Oliveto, Michael Mina and the Clock Bar. He later opened up the Northbrea Bottle shop in Berkeley in 2013.
During those formidable years at Café Rouge, Ryan met good friend, and now partner, Jon Guhl of Little Star Pizza. Together they set out to open unique and inspired restaurants. Starting with Boss Burger in Albany, CA, the joint is known for its “old school,” all natural approach to the burger business. With their new venture, here at Café Eugene, Ryan hopes to pay homage to the Pacific Northwest, a place, cuisine and culture in which he holds most dear.
Owner, Executive Chef Chris Laramie
Christopher joins the team at Café Eugene in Albany, a Pacific Northwest restaurant taking cues from Oregon and beyond. He brings vast knowledge of seasonal California produce, locally raised organic meats and sustainably caught and harvested Pacific Coast fish and shellfish.
Growing up in Fort Collins, Colorado, Christopher first discovered his love for food by helping his mother in the kitchen. By the age of 15, Christopher was a line cook at area restaurants and he continued to work in kitchens throughout his high school education. Although he thrived in the restaurant environment, Christopher never thought of cooking as a serious career choice and pursued a degree in Communication and Business at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Meanwhile, he continued to work his way through many kitchens, spending his last two years at The Flagstaff House. It was there that he realized his love of food could translate into a career.
After graduating, Christopher spent the next year studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. He finished fourth in Cuisine out of 75 students with a Grande Diplôme in both Cuisine and Pastry. Christopher followed his studies with an internship at Georges Blanc, a Three Star Michelin restaurant near Lyon, France. Christopher got his first big break as the Chef de Cuisine at South Beach, Miami’s posh Blue Door restaurant.
Two years later, he moved to Chicago where Christopher landed a position as Executive Sous Chef at Everest. In 2008, Christopher returned to Denver, Colorado, where Christopher became the Executive Chef at 1515 Restaurant. Eager to open their own restaurant and in search of a community of savvy diners and rich culinary culture, Christopher and his wife, Veronica moved to Berkeley, CA.
In December of 2009, Christopher and Veronica, opened eVe, quickly developing a local following, and began enjoying cooking within California’s distinct growing seasons. After much success and accolades, eVe turned into Brasa, and the couple's new baby on the way meant letting the restaurant go.
For the last two years Christopher had been the Executive Chef of Hog Island Oyster Co. in San Francisco’s Ferry Building. Coming aboard during the expansion, Christopher doubled the size of the menu and added many new classics to the Hog Island repertoire. His immersion in all thing seafood related brought him that much closer to the bounty of California and the Pacific Coast.