Thirst Bistro opened in 2006 with our main dining room, bar and outside space. Thirst expanded with The River Room (private parties) in 2008 and expanded our menu from traditional wine bar to full restaurant including spirits and cocktails. In 2010 we opened The Cellar, another private dining room where we also hold our wine dinners and classes. Thirst has patio seating for 100 outside on the Esplanade and is the best place to watch downtown fireworks in the summer and The Christmas Ships in December. Enjoy the unobstructed River and Bridge views year-round.
Leslie Palmer and Gary Kneski are spouses and the Co-Owners of Thirst Bistro.
Leslie is an 18 year veteran of marketing management in Corporate America (Gillette, Intel), and when Thirst opened in 2006, she continued working at Intel while managing all events, marketing and business/financial management at Thirst. She left Intel in 2008 for focus full time on Thirst. Leslie graduated from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh with a degree in communications and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. When not at Thirst, she enjoys cooking, making jewelry, traveling, decorating, reading, films and especially spending time with her three little kids.
Gary Kneski, Co-Owner and Wine Director at Thirst Bistro is a former video producer and high tech sales manager. He has a degree in Mass Communications from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Gary left the corporate world in 2005 to build, open and manage Thirst. Gary studied wine theory and wine making at Chemeketa Community College, worked at Elk Cove Winery for a season, and was a tour guide for Grape Escape Wine Tours. He has made wine at home, as well as beer. He is a frequent judge for Oregon wine competitions. Gary enjoys continually learning about wine because of his deep appreciation for the talent and time involved in growing grapes and also the patience involved in making great wines. His favorite wines are Willamette Pinot Noir, Walla Walla Syrah, Red Mountain Blends, and Paso Robles Grenache. When Gary is not at Thirst, he enjoys traveling, photography, fishing, golf, gardening, making pizza and chasing after the three Kneski kiddos!