Here at Russell Street Bar-B-Que, we believe that good food starts with naturally raised meats and the freshest ingredients. Inspiration for our menu is drawn from southern home-cooking, Texas Bar-B-Que, and culinary traditions from the southern eastern seaboard.
A relaxed atmosphere coupled with attentive, old-school service, makes Russell Street your home away from home. It’s a place to join friends and family and enjoy delicious food, house-made sauces, locally brewed beers, and hand-crafted cocktails. We look forward to seeing you!
Diane Santucci Chef/Owner
Diane started her culinary journey early in life. She was blessed with a mom who was a food adventurer. They would watch Julia Child on TV and follow recipes from "The Art of French Cooking"...
The meals they cooked could have the simplicity of steamed artichokes or the complexity of “Supremes De Volalle a Blanc” with wild rice (unusually rare fare for 1960s-70s Maryland). They also regularly hit pit BBQs in Virginia for pulled pork sandwiches with slaw. These foods were the foundation for Diane’s “simple complexity/complex simplicity” credo.
Later, Diane would translate her early culinary passions into a professional career. Diane worked for a high end Deli, a Maryland seafood restaurant that introduced her to the diversity of a commercial kitchen, a new age burger joint, as well as traditional “white tablecloth” dining. All along Diane gleaned new skills, tastes, and techniques.
Diane has carefully crafted every menu item that Russell Street offers. And she still loves to works hands-on in the kitchen, either on the line or creating fun and satisfying specials. After 37 years of food experience, Diane still revels in making the perfect pulled pork sandwich her mother would approve of and heartily enjoy!
Sharon Senter Santucci Owner
Sharon grew up in East Texas on land that was granted to her family for an ancestor's service in the revolutionary war. On this land she was taught by her Grandfather to grow a wide variety of food...
Her Grandmother exposed her to food preservation. Idle hands were never an issue because they was always shelling, picking, peeling, and packing to be done. They lived off the land, hunting, gathering nuts, pomegranates, and persimmons. They feasted on Fried Fruit Pies, Pimiento Cheese, Chow-Chow, and Tomato Gravy–all childhood favorites that have made it onto the Russell Street menu.
Sharon honed her management skills and expanded her culinary exposure in Seattle, working for Schwartz Brothers Company, and patronizing the many amazing restaurants in the area.
While Sharon’s main strengths lie in her well-honed “front of the house” management skills, she can also readily hold her own on a cook’s line.
Creating an upbeat, positive, growth-focused work environment for the Russell Street staff is Sharon’s primary goal. Personal development, hard work, and professionalism are all skills Sharon imparts to her employees. She believes in investing in people, because nothing gets done without them.
Tamara Burgess General Manager
Tamara Burgess has worked in the restaurant industry for 25 years, and she's worked in restaurant management for 12 of those years...
She’s played the role of server, bartender, bar manager, assistant manager, and general manager. She has an extensive knowledge of wine, beer, and spirits. She’s worked in restaurants that serve east coast seafood cuisine, Northern Italian, American, and now Southern BBQ. Tamara moved to Portland from Virginia Beach. Incidentally, her first restaurant job was at a BBQ restaurant in Virginia Beach. Working at Russell St BBQ has brought her right back to her roots.
Daniel Contreras Pit Master at SE Location
Born in Yucatan Mexico to a family of one sister and 4 brothers. He often culls recipes from his Mom for a taste of home...
He has experienced different kinds of work, but he realized, when he started at 18, that kitchens and cooking were his true passion. Starting at Russell Street Bar-B-Que in 2006 in the dishroom, he quickly moved up, ending with receiving his own kitchen to manage. The memories of his childhood that Russell Street invokes in him make him work hard to provide only the best food and service you deserve. This is a great source of pride for Daniel.
Jennifer Lively Restaurant Manager at NE Location
Jennifer is an Oregon Native. She grew up in the Columbia Gorge, where her love of fresh fruit grew into a strong passion for the Culinary industry and local spirits.
Stephanie Johnson Sous Chef/Pit Master at NE Location
Stephanie started cooking 11 years ago flipping burgers at Dairy Queen. She left Dairy Queen to work at a Pizza joint where her passion for the culinary industry all started.
Stephanie has a dream of one day owning her very own restaurant. She moved to Portland to expand on her career and learn new cuisines. She started Russell Street BBQ as a line cook and in less then two years has earned the position of Sous Chef & Pit Master here at the BBQ!