The owner of The Victorian Cafe is taking his famous bloody mary's and moving across town...sorta. John Nolan recently unveiled theHideaway, a sports bar on Bend's Eastside. Complete with eight brand-new flat screens (all 55-60", if you're a guy and care about those things), surround sound, couches and a pool table, it's the man-cave you and your buddies have been waiting for.

First things first, why open a sports bar on the Eastside when Nolan's had such success with the Westside?

Simple: "I wanted a place that was a little bit down the road," said Nolan. "Not everybody always wants to be in a see and be seen kind of's a great place to kind of get away and be in a place you want to be."

If you can find the Hideaway (here's a hint: it's where Grover's Pizza Place was for over 30 years), then you'll also find out it has all staples of a great sports bar: 17 beers on tap including craft brews from around town, great food and enough tables to give you a little elbow room.The game-day classics like sliders, pizza and buffalo wings are all on the menu but there's a catch...the wings are actually JUMBO drumsticks, all the food is made from scratch and locally sourced ingredients take the Hideaway from typical to tasty. 

Nolan's head chef, Asa Kenney, previously worked at Bend's Jackalope Grille and is bringing his obsession for unique, quality food to theHideaway. Take the Mac & Cheese, it's done up with spicy andouille or roasted tomato and herb -- sounds expensive but it goes for five bucks. Prices for pizzas just make sense, a 12 inch is $12 and you can get a 16" pie for $16. "The Hunter" is sure to be a winner with theguys, as your server what today's meat selection is and that's what will be on top of cheesy goodness. Likewise, "The Gatherer" is whateverthe daily veggie selection is. 

The Hideaway is Nolan's long-time dream come to fruition and on opening night it was packed. 

"I'm a huge sports fan, for the last few years I've just been sitting in my living room with the game on always thinking to myself, 'there needs to place where it's like your living room...outside of your living room'," said Nolan.

Now there is, it's like your living room...but with better college game-day packages, and cocktails you couldn't create on your own. TheHideaway has a full-bar featuring pepper-infused cocktails among others, and they're all served by stylish, smiling waitresses. The drinks are stiff and made with the freshest of fresh ingredients.

"I want to serve, good, solid drinks," said Nolan. "It's just like the Vic, the drinks will be good there's no skimping, but also at the same time, we're not going to pour them to where they're too strong to drink."

No fool, Nolan knows plenty of women would rather cheer on their favorite teams on game-day than spend their weekends shopping and he hopes they bring their friends and pull up a chair at the Hideaway. Dad's day to take the kids? They can come too, any day of the week until 10PM.

Alright, back to the menu. Start off your weekend at the Hideaway with half-price booze and food during happy hour from 4-6. The rest of the week you can get your late night happy hour on from 9 to close.

About closing...Nolan says the cheering section will stay open depending on the night. Roughly, hours are weekdays open at 11 a.m. and close at 3 a.m. if it's busy. Saturday and Sunday, early risers can come in for breakfast starting at 9 a.m. The brunch menu will be sure to kill any hangover and leave your taste buds craving more. Your options are as follows; sticky buns, thyme buttermilk biscuits with house made gravy, frittatas of all sorts including veggie, smoked gouda and sausage. Pizza in the morning is always best, but don't reach for the cold, cardboard-esque Dominos leftovers in your fridge, instead head to the Hideaway for breakfast pizza piled high with bacon, asparagus, onion, sweet cherry tomatoes, sunny side up eggs and fresh mozzarella.

If you're looking for a sports bar that doesn't already have a "regular crew" who makes you feel like the last picked kid for the kickball team at recess when you walk in the door... stop by the Hideaway. Well-known and well-liked in town, Nolan already has a following but there's always room for new team members and the game will always be on, best of'll never have to   worry about finding the remote.
Ariana's makes a strong case for best restaurant in Bend
I’ve lived a few blocks away from Ariana for years, but never gone in.  Something about it screams, “Don’t bring your buddies and ask our server to split the bill”.  So, I’ve been holding out for one of those special nights, i.e., when my parents are in town and offer to tackle the bill.  Surprisingly when I confessed this to co-owner, Ariana Fernandez, she wasn’t put off.

 “At first, we tried to be like, be everything for everyone,” said Fernandez. “Then we were just like, ‘You know what? If people have that preconception that we’re a special occasion place, then that’s fine. We’ll just do special occasions.'”

One look at the menu confirms – Ariana doesn’t serve-up cheap meals. But Fernandez says they don’t use cheap ingredients and get what you pay for. Local ingredients are used when Central Oregon’s short growing season allows.

“Even if we can only get a little bit of something, we’ll just special-it that night,” said Fernandez. “We might only have five orders of it.”

Fernandez prides herself on specials that are really special -- not what’s starting to turn. The quaint restaurant has limited space, so keeping bulk ingredients just isn’t an option.

“We only have about two days of product at a time. We don’t have a walk-in or a freezer, so everything turns over really quick,” said Fernandez.

That means a constantly changing menu with a few staples like Fernandez’s father’s homemade tomato sauce.

“We have big seasonal changes where most of the menu will change,” said Fernandez. “But we can change it on a whim, when we have something that is really good even if it’s for a short time – we change the menu.”

Fernandez’s husband, Andres, does all the cooking and when I say all, I mean ALL. This is good for you because if you go there one week and absolutely love one of their dishes, it will be exactly the same the next time you go.

As I was asking Ariana and Andres if they’d caught on to the gluten-free craze, a woman walked in wanting a gluten-free meal.

Andres asked her a little about what she liked, then told her to take a seat and said it would be no problem.

“Most of our menu is already gluten-free, but if someone calls us one day ahead of time...We’ll figure out what to do for them,” said Fernandez.

Ariana’s reputation for being a special occasion hot-spot helps the restaurant because reservations take up their entire floor. You can drop in and find a spot at the bar any night, but the tables inside and outside, especially with Summer fast approaching, are almost all accounted for before they open their doors.

Despite most their clients coming in on date-nights – at the core, Ariana is a family restaurant. Ariana’s mother and father are co-owners with her and Andres and they all play their part.

“We have the end goal in mind, if someone needs help setting a table or clearing a table we’re going to jump in there and do it because it needs to be done,” said Fernandez. “It’s more important for the customer to be happy.”

One thing that’s definitely keeping customers happy is Ariana’s mother’s white cosmo cocktail. The drink has become so popular among the regulars, they’re making their own at home when the restaurant is closed.

“When I went over to the liquor store, (they have little bottles of St. Germaine -- which Susan uses in her white cosmo), he said, ‘I can’t believe how many people are coming over here, getting stuff to make your drink’,” said Susan Asti.

After you have a decadent drink and meal, the staff says the best way to end your night at Ariana is hands down with their Buttered Caramel Budino.

“It’s like the best pudding you’ve ever tried and it has a little caramel sauce and Sea Salt on top,” said Fernandez. “I don’t think anyone has ever said they don’t like it.”

The only problem is finishing it. One of the long-time servers, Stephanie O’Brien told me customers usually complain that they need a spatula to finish the huge dessert off.

“So...I offer them this,” said O’Brien holding a miniature green spatula.

What more could you want? Ariana has overly prepared servers, an up-scale family dinner feel and a full-bar.

For the perfect night out -- call ahead and enjoy a night full of ambiance at Ariana on Galveston Avenue.

Five Fusion & Sushi Bar is breaking the mold with it's high end feel yet affordable prices
Most Bendites spend Friday night in puffy down jackets, with a dog leash in one hand and a microbrew in the other, so I get that foie gras nigiri and sake martinis might sound like a pricey night out in Portland's pretentious Pearl District.

Lilian Chu disagrees.

"This is a not a high-end restaurant," Chu told me. "Sure, we can serve you a $90 bottle of wine, no problem, but you can also get a $5 wine."

Five Fusion and Sushi Bar is smack in the heart of Downtown Bend at 821 Wall Street, where just a few years ago, another sushi bar called Deep drowned in bankruptcy.

Chu says even Bend foodies weren't willing to, or just couldn't afford to pay a Deep tab.

"When my husband and I went there for dinner, it would cost us $150 for two people," she said.

Chu's frugality translated into one of the happiest happy hours in town just a few years later.

Five Fusion has topped The Source's "best-of" lists two years in a row with pint-sized versions of their dinner menu favorites, like Mini Crab Cakes 6 bucks during happy hour -- 10 bucks as a starter during dinner service.

This is a good time to talk about Five Fusion's signature cocktails. During happy hour, they go for $6 and the surprise is...good liquor.

I'm no liquor snob. I'm the girl who always gets intimidated when the bartender asks what type of vodka I want with my ginger ale.

It goes something like this...
Me: well vodka (whispered)
Bartender: what?
Me: well. (a little louder)
Bartender: ohhh... WELL. (loud enough to make sure everyone else in the bar now knows I'm a cheap ass who probably should have just bought a cheap fifth and drank at home.)
Me: Alright...back to my point.

Five Fusion makes you forget you're living paycheck to paycheck and instead feel like you just fell into a scene from Sex and The City (cue: roll your eyes)...OK, how about Gossip Girl? Is that more hip and timely?

Anyway, here's the breakdown. Fancy fruity martinis. Coolers, like their Not So Old Fashioned a combo of Makers Mark whiskey, club soda and Marionberry Puree.

And...Sake-Tinis, really the best Tini to take down if you're feeling all like, "Look at me using chopsticks, not even dropping sushi all over the place." Yeah, if it's that kind of a good night, a Sake-Tini would be the perfect pair to your newfound sushi skills.

Whoops, almost forgot one of the most important Coolers -- the Bloody 5 Fusion. Sounds a little creepy. But, it's got all the goods of a normal Bloody Mary with Organic vodka and fresh wasabi.

Fresh meaning their wasabi doesn't come from a powder. When you think about it, what good thing ever came from something in powder-form? I mean, there was Tang back in the day, but do you really want to be slathering your prized cut of raw fish with something that came in the same form as Tang?

That brings me to a great quote from Chu about flavor. She wants you to like their fresh hand-crushed wasabi and even the gluten-free soy sauce they offer...but not too much.

"We don't want them to walk away saying, 'I just had a dinner of wasabi and soy sauce,'" she said.

The executive chef told me a lot of people say they don't like wasabi, but what they really don't like is the powder wasabi because it's way too strong. Fresh wasabi has a much more subtle taste.

Many of Five Fusion's specialty sushi rolls come with their own special sauce concocted by executive chef Joe Kim.

Segue -- the great thing about sushi is, if nobody tells you what the japanese word on the menu means, you're more likely to try things like Unagi -- freshwater eel. Or Tako -- better known as octopus.

If you try the Shogun Roll, your adventurous self will taste eel, butterfish, asparagus and avocado spicy salmon (not that adventurous) black tobiko (flying

fish roe or if you're really new to this kind of thing -- fish eggs.) All of this is fried in a tempura batter with an unagi sauce on top (that's more eel). Good for you!

With all those new flavors, no need to muck it up by dunking it in a ton of soy sauce -- you're not eating chicken nuggets, you know.

Alright, back to the man behind the counter, Joe Kim. He's the creative charge behind Five Fusion.

But as any good man is -- he's modest, even though he's been preparing sushi since 1995 when he was just a 15-year-old helping out at his dad’s restaurant.

"I've seen a lot, but I haven't seen everything, so that's one of the things that drives me is the continual desire to get things perfect, to do something new -- to do something different," said Kim.

"Everyone that I've worked with has worked in other sushi restaurants so they all bring something to the table as well."

Kim is talking about his right-hand men, Bryce Beard and Ian Brubaker, who join him on the sushi line.

Don't forget Remi Oakman either. He's the sweet, towheaded teen peeling cucumbers. The high school student developed a love for sushi and has been working his way up the Five Fusion crew hierarchy ever since he was hired as a runner a few years ago.

If you're a beer lover and a sushi lover, go ahead and give Bryce a high-five the next time you step into Five Fusion.

The guys came up with the idea to brine the Wild Alaskan Chinook salmon they serve in Boneyard Brewing's IPA -- then smoke it for their special "roll of the week."

But Bryce thought to throw some hops into the smoker with it.

What came out is tasty and totally local. Well, except for that Alaskan salmon...they didn't reel that in themselves, but you can't blame them for that.

Kim tries to constantly switch things up at the restaurant with things like Uni ice cream and right now, he's working on finding a way to "cold-smoke" fish. So far it's involved trips to Home Depot and a little creative thinking.

So what do you do if you love sushi but your boyfriend is all, "Why would I pay to eat raw fish?"

Kim suggest easing them into sushi with a mild fish like Tuna or the kid favorite California Roll with crab.

If you can't do it, try sitting at the actual sushi bar one night in Five Fusion and let Kim work his charm.

"If they feel like you're just a used car salesman trying to sell them whatever is left over, they're not going to try anything," Kim told me. "But when they know that you're trying to get them to try something that you love and that you're passionate about, I think you can get people to try just about anything."

Kim didn't set it up, but sitting two chairs to my left at the sushi bar, James Westcoat proved his point.

Westcoat is from Redmond and comes to Five Fusion often -- tonight was a special occasion, his wife's birthday.

Westcoat pointed at the Uni in the sushi case and said "There's no way I would have ever paid for that upfront -- now I will."

Yep, Kim convinced Westcoat he was missing out by passing on the Sea Urchin's edible part -- its gonads.

Uni really doesn't look much better than what it really is, but it's considered to be an aphrodisiac by some and have a sweet taste.

Not for everybody, but how will you know unless you try it?

I don't need much convincing on trying new things so I looked forward to trying their special foie gras nigiri.

The duck liver came out looking like a small slice of andouille sausage perfectly placed atop a small pillow of sticky rice.

The process of fattening up a duck so that it's liver can be enjoyed after it's killed is, of course, controversial. But the sweetness of Five Fusion's foie gras nigiri was reason enough to turn a blind eye and feel bad about force-feeding ducks later.

Judged, I know.

Let me wrap this up by wooing you with Lilian Chu's involvement in local non- profits like Kid's Center, which helps raise awareness about child sexual abuse.

Chu is devoted to sharing Five Fusion's space with the community's non-profits to raise money.

The upstairs is frequently full of people attending collaborative catered charity dinners that bring in big bucks. Last year, the events raised more than $30,000. Cha-Ching. See, now we all feel better.

In case you're wondering, their service is fast and pleasant, the restaurant is clean and classy and if you're one of those people who rates a restaurant on whether they have crisp white napkins (as if that has anything to do with how
good the food is) -- YES, Five Fusion is well-stocked with crisp white napkins folded by servers and runners when they're not running your food to you.

The Wine Shop in Bend Oregon
The Wine Shop and Beer Tasting Bar is a delicious and welcoming slice of Europe right here in Bend.  Originally known at The Wine Shop and Tasting Bar, they’ve now, very appropriately, added the word BEER to the title.  The Wine Shop and Beer Tasting Bar is for wine and beer connoisseurs alike, as their 8 taps offer up some of the highest quality local and international beers to be found.

Owner Melanie Betti added the taps after taking a trip to Europe which included time in Belgium and Austria.  The free-flowing Belgian beers on tap were an entirely different experience than in the bottle, and she wanted to make that incredible experience accessible to her customers back in Bend.  Currently, half of the eight beers on tap at The Wine Shop are Belgian, and they are served up in the correct stemware for a truly authentic experience.  The other four taps aren’t too shabby, either.  On those taps Melanie generally features the best of local and regional craft brewing, often offering special edition kegs and brews that are harder to find.  She generally always has a Pilsner, an IPA and a darker brew on tap to give some nice, rounded variety.  Melanie indicated that local beer aficionados praise her beer offerings, which she takes as a big compliment.

I’m a brew lover so I got really excited about that, but don’t get me wrong, there’s so much more going on at The Wine Shop than beer.  If you’re not familiar with The Wine Shop, it’s a beautiful space located in a central spot in downtown Bend on Minnesota, next to Thump Coffee.  The Wine Shop is definitely more than a retail spot to buy yourself a fantastic bottle of wine to take home to go with dinner (although you can certainly do that, and Melanie is happy to help you choose one).  It’s also a great spot to hang out, have some great conversation, and relax.  With its warm brick walls, dark woods, high ceilings and walls of wine bottles, it’s got a cozy, European feel.  It’s a local pub sort of spot that makes you want to linger a while.

In addition to the world-class wines and beers, The Wine Shop also serves some tasty food and offers a fabulous array of meats and cheeses from all around the globe.  A cheese-lover’s candy store, you can get yourself some triple cream brie from France, some gruyere from Switzerland, some smoked gouda from the Netherlands or some lavender and fennel-infused “Purple Haze” goat cheese from California.  And that’s just a small sampling of what’s on the menu.  In addition to the vast selection of cheeses, you can also find specialty meats, olives, paninis, salads and more.  The Wine Shop is passionate about food and beverage pairings, so no matter what you get, you can have a wine or beer recommended that will compliment your food fabulously.  For Valentine’s Day, The Wine Shop hosted a cupcake and wine/beer tasting.  Three delicious cupcake flavors (locally baked) were paired with three different and fabulously complimentary wines or beers.  Yes, cupcakes and beer.  Sounds like the ultimate comfort combination.  I’ll take the fudge cupcake with the craft porter, please.

The Valentine’s Day pairing was just one of many of The Wine Shop’s special events.  They regularly host tastings, food pairings and other fun happenings.  Coming up soon they’ve got the Sage in the Kitchen Foodie Crawl on Sunday, April 1st, live music with Josh Hart on Sunday April 27th, and several tastings in the works for April and May, including a Rose tasting, Italian tasting, and Belgian beer tasting.  You can check their website at for specific dates for the tastings and further happenings.  In the meantime, stop in for happy hour between 4:30-6:30 Tuesday through Saturday for $1 off all glass pours, and to soak up a little European flavor.

Velvet is one of Bend's hottest new after hours spots for cocktails with friends.
There’s a little place in downtown Bend that has a lot going on for its size.  Velvet is a small spot with big personality that doesn’t really have an equal counterpart in town.  It’s a one-of-a-kind lounge and night spot serving up a visually tasty, sleek atmosphere and equally tasty cocktails and food.

One of the things I love about Velvet is that it is upscale and sophisticated without being pretentious or snobby.  It could be, if it wanted to.  It’s one of the sleekest, most artistically-inspired spots in Bend, with urban forest-inspired décor (think Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, but better), fancy cocktails and sexy, pillowed nooks for socializing.  But contrasting with its upscale appearance, it’s accessible and welcoming to everyone, from the wealthy urban traveler, to the laid-back snowboarder, to the twenty-something chick dressed to the nines for a night out with the ladies, to the local construction guy looking for a good-priced tallboy.

What makes Velvet so welcoming?  For starters, when I approach the bar I can be almost sure that I will be greeted by friendly and engaging Austin, or Cori.  There are only a few people who run the show at Velvet, and it’s obvious that they love what they do. Their laid-back, friendly energy infuses the service.  Cori is not just a bartender, she’s also the owner.  She took over ownership of the place in January of this year after working as a bartender for quite some time, but ownership doesn’t keep her from mixing up her fabulous cocktails and connecting with customers.

Another aspect of Velvet that keeps it so accessible and friendly is its affordable prices.  Along with its tasty variety of sophisticated and creative cocktails, you can also get yourself a beer in a can for just a couple of bucks.  On the same menu that you can find a Mate Mojito with muddled mint and lime, coconut rum and organic lemon juice, you can also find yourself a 40 ouncer of PBR.  Reflecting the salt of the earth to urban chic theme of the place, you can get your 40 “classy or trashy,” with classy being served up chilled in a bucket champagne style, and trashy being served in a paper bag, depending on the mood you want to embody.  In addition to the already reasonable beverage prices on the menu every day, they’ve got a daily special that’s a smokin’ deal.  Right now, on Mondays you can get a fabulous bloody Mary with all the fixins’ for five bucks, or an Old German Lager in a can for only a dollar.

Don’t let the focus on beverages fool you; Velvet also has some really fabulous food.  The menu was designed by Jeff Hunt, chef extraordinaire of global fusion food cart and local creative food staple Spork.  The food is also amazingly affordable, with no food item over 8 bucks and most items priced at around 6.  My favorite dish is the Spanish tortilla, which is a fabulous frittata with onion, queso fresco and honey aioli.  It’s a perfectly-portioned savory dish that hits the spot for dinner or late night munching.  The BLT sliders are the most popular item on the menu and also fabulous.  If you want something a bit more decadent, try the prociutto-wrapped mushrooms with goat cheese, chickpea puree and truffle oil…they are little bites of bliss.

Velvet is more than a lovely spot for fabulous food and drink; it’s a also a good spot to check out local art.  During each First Friday artwalk, they showcase a different local artist.  On First Friday in April, Velvet will feature the collage art, jewelry and fashion of cutting-edge local artist Sarah Viles, also known as the Homeslice.  Come check it out, grab yourself a cocktail and wear what you want, because everybody is welcome.

Foodies Enjoy,


Tetherow is a lot more than just a golf course. They are #1 for Restaurants with a view!
Having lived in Bend for over 10 years, it’s interesting to see how the dining and nightlife scene has evolved.  Or, more like exploded.

Ten years ago, there were a handful of restaurants offering up standard central Oregon dishes of meat and potatoes with little flair or variety to choose from, and the most appealing nightlife option was a crazy night at the bowling alley. 

Now, Bend is home to a diverse array of dining options inspired by cuisines from all around the globe, and a tasty selection of happening breweries, bars and live music venues. In this town, you can get anything from sushi to paneer masala to chicken mole to escargot.  And yes, you can still get meat and potatoes, in all sorts of tasty varieties. There’s definitely nothing wrong with meat and potatoes, as long as they are done well.  

One of my favorites is a good old-fashioned burger and fries, and fortunately Bend burger institution and local favorite Pilot Butte Drive-In is still around but keeping things fresh with a new Westside location. The new location serves all the goodies of the original, with fresh ingredients and locally baked buns.

If you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated, there are quite a few appealing fine dining restaurants to choose from, boasting fusion cuisine and international flair. Some of my favorite dining spots in downtown Bend are 900 Wall, Zydeco and Tart Bistro. These lovely places are among the best restaurants in town.

900 Wall has an awesome happy hour from 3 to 6 daily that features very reasonably priced wine, cocktails and food. The pork belly sliders are only five bucks and absolutely delicious. Zydeco serves up Cajun fusion cuisine in a stylish atmosphere, and the dessert is to die for.  I’ve made multiple trips there just for the key lime pie. I highly recommend having dinner on Zydeco's heated patio on a summer night.

Finally, Tart Bistro is French inspired with global elements.  It’s got a sexy atmosphere, an exotic menu (this is where you can get the escargot) and delectable cocktails.  Their lavender lemon drop is perfection.  All three places also serve lunch if you are looking for a little noontime sophistication and taste.

Bend also has some great casual lunch options.  In the last couple of years, a couple of satisfying locally owned sandwich places have come onto the scene. TuckMo Subs on the east side has tasty sub sandwiches with reasonable prices and a friendly atmosphere. Letzer's Deli is an authentic Jewish-style deli with huge sandwiches and a new downtown location. There was a feature about Letzer's new downtown deli in last week’s Source Weekly (search Letzer's Deli on that offered a great description of the goodness they’ve got to offer.

So, I’ve covered some tasty lunch and dinner options, but what about breakfast? Bend is home to some fabulous spots that may very well make breakfast your favorite meal of the day. Whether you are looking for greasy spoon dive bar kind of start to your day or a fresh breakfast made with organic and local ingredients, you’re covered. 

One of the consistent local favorites, and one of my own, is the Victorian Cafe`. They’ve got a fire pit outside, and there’s a reason why there’s generally people packed around it, waiting for a table.  This place is awesome.  The menu features traditional breakfast options in addition to some creative dishes, and they have a changing menu of creative specials.  They have a variety of eggs benedict to choose from, which is heaven for a girl who loves hollandaise.  The benedict I order depends on my mood, but one of my favorites is definitely the British benedict, which has roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and sautéed garlic.  All of that deliciousness is made even better by friendly, attentive service and tasty bloody marys and mimosas.

Speaking of cocktails, Bend has some great spots to drink and be merry.  In addition to the old, trusty dive bars that have been serving stiff cocktails for decades, there are some more posh spots, wine bars, live music venues and breweries. One of my favorite spots to have a cocktail downtown is Velvet, which is an awesome spot for a “Ladies Night”. Its lush part urban, part forest decor makes for a lovely backdrop for sipping mate cocktails. The Astro Lounge, also downtown, echoes Velvet’s slick urban aesthetic while boasting two dollar well drinks on Tuesday nights. There are also some interesting nighttime hangouts that aren’t so easily classified, such as the Horned Hand, which opened near downtown last July. Owner Wesley Ladd describes it as an art and entertainment space, and I suppose that description is accurate but doesn’t quite sum up all that the Hand has to offer.  It’s a bar serving local beer on tap and old German lager in a can, a vintage clothing boutique, an art gallery, a movie theater and a live music venue.  Intrigued? You should be. Check it out and throw some peanut shells on the floor.

A devout lover of dining and nightlife, I’m happy that Bend’s scene is ever-evolving.  I’m looking forward to seeing what new treats the next few years have in store.  In the meantime, I will enjoy the myriad of tasty options that this town has to offer. 

Did you know over 50% of Americans over 18 years of age drink coffee every day. This represents over 150 million daily consumers. Approximately 30 million adults in America drink specialty coffee beverages daily. Some specialty drinks are mochas, lattes, espresso, café mochas, cappuccinos, frozen/iced coffee beverages, etc. 

With an estimated population of 80,000 that means about 40,000 Bend residents enjoy a coffee each morning of which about 8,000 are enjoying a specialty drink. In a city whose residents enjoy quality, innovation, and uniqueness  but are less affectionate to complacency and stagnation, its easy to see why Bend has so many quality places to get a good coffee.

Thump in Downtown Bend is probably the place where I would start my day if just wanting the best overall coffee experience. A few tell tale signs for any good coffee shop or restaurant for that matter is consistency. I test consistency by evaluating if my drink tastes the same each day regardless of who is working or how busy the business or restaurant may be. Thump is a perfect example of consistency, no matter when I go or what is going on I get the same drink every time. 

Quality of drink is important as well and there are 3 main components of quality in a coffee drink which are:

1. Shot Quality - Is it thick and chocolaty (which it should be), or thin and watery or somewhere in between? Also what type of espresso are they using? There are many great local roasters and a few national roasters that are big enough to provide good quality. From Bend I think 11Roasters and  Back Porch are the best. Regionally Stumptown and Intelligenstia have to be right there. Good roasters spend the extra money and extra time to import the finest beans in the world. They spend a great amount of time "cupping" blends to get the flavor just right for you.

2. Sweetener - how much, what brand, and how pure is it? Some of the best sweeteners/sauces are made by steaming natural ingredients together. For example a mocha is really good with Monin or Holy Kakow chocolate sauce, but unbelievable with organic raw cacao powder and organic pure cane suger steamed together with the milk.  

3. Milk - steamed to 165 degrees and appear glassy smooth or is it bubbly, choppy, and over or under temp? A good rule of thumb is if it's good enough for latte art, it's good enough to drink (that's true about 95% of the time).

If you are looking for drive thru coffee there are plenty of options: Nationals like Dutch Bros. and Human Bean, or Locals, like Latte Dah on the North side of town corner of Butler Market/27th, Golden Delicious in DSR,  and about 8 others in the area. Strictly Organic has both a drive thru and cafe which is the choice of some locals.  Though the quality of coffee usually isn't as high in the drive through scene there are some good options. 

Some other cafe's you might go for coffee are Mother's Juice Cafe, Bom Dia, and River Rim which serve 11Roasters and do a good job of preparing coffee as well. Also I ran into a place called the Looney Bean which is next to Pine Tavern in Downtown Bend and they do a good job as well.  

Anyway if you are looking for good coffee in Bend you have some choices and I'm sure you will find the one that's right for you! 

Bend Oregon is known by many as a destination unlike any other. Central Oregon is a premier travel destination in the Pacific Northwest that boasts 300 days of sunshine annually and is full of natural scenery, outdoor activities, and a vibrant nightlife! Just to name some of the outdoor activities in this tourist hot spot you have hiking, biking, fishing, rock climbing, river rafting, skiing, golfing, backpacking, fly fishing, and so much more! Bend Oregon also has what the locals call the "Trifecta". The "Trifecta starts with a quick trip to Mt. Bachelor in the morning, followed by Golf in the afternoon, and finishing off your day fly fishing on the Deschutes River. With all this available to the locals, its easy to see why Bend and Central Oregon is one of the most desired places to live in the US. 

One of the benefits of living in a world class city is having excellent choices of first class cuisine. Bend has some of the finest restaurants per capita that you will find in the Northwest. Many of the area's best restaurants are locally owned and operated offering unique blends from around the world with a touch of the Northwest. If you look around on just about any given week of the year you will almost always find a wine tasting, live music, or outdoor event of some sort. Some highlights of the restaurant scene for 2011 were our award winners starting with Tart Bistro French Global Cuisine, Tetherow Golf Grill's breathtaking views with first class eats, The Victorian Cafe's World Class breakfast experience, Pilot Butte Drive In's myriad of gourmet burgers, Mother's Juice Cafe's Creatively Tasty & Healthy menu, Letzer's Deli NY Style meat packed sandwiches, TuckMo Subs fresh tasting sub sandwiches, and the absolute best frozen dessert anywhere in Cuppa Yo which is one of Bend's hottest new dessert places. These are just some highlights of the restaurant scene in Bend and we urge you to go hit the town and see for yourself! When you're done, please come back and let us know what you think by Voting for your favorites! 
Welcome to Best Restaurants in Bend Oregon by the People of Bend! The goal of our website is to help inform people about the Locals View of which restaurants they like the best and why! Currently listed are some of the Award Winning Restaurants in Bend from 2011. 

We have polls on the site for 2012 and they will run through July and the Winners will be announced in August! We will be adding new categories so look for those daily. You may only vote one time per category and if you would like to nominate a business that is not on the site then please let us via email and once enough requests come in we will add them to the poll. 

Please keep in mind that the restaurants of Bend Oregon work very hard to give top notch service, and provide the high standard of food quality you have come to expect. With that in mind please keep any criticism professional and cordial. This is meant for mature opinions that will help the businesses improve for the benefit of all of us! 
Tourists are also encouraged to vote and we would love to hear your feedback! Look for us on Facebook at the beginning of 2012 and we look forward to hearing your opinions! Thanks for your future Participation! 
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