I've always had a soft spot for mom and pop joints—the no-frills food, the camaraderie among customers, the satisfaction of supporting a little ol' family business.
2nd Street Eats is the modern version. It’s a hole-in-the-wall breakfast and lunch spot where The Brown Bag used to be, hidden in plain sight just north of Greenwood Avenue on 2nd Street. From the outside of the nondescript building, it may not look like much, but venture in for the surprise of homemade bagels, handmade chocolates and inexpensive eats.
Tricia and Jeremy Pollard are a younger and more energetic incarnation of "mom and pop," but still embody old-fashioned values. They greet everyone with a smile and most by name. With just a handful of small tables, most of their business is to-go orders. Their breakfast bagels and burritos, homemade soups, and made-to-order salads and sandwiches are simple, quick and, best of all, affordable. All menu items are $7.50 or less, and many are $5 and under.
Husband and wife, the Pollards are the only two employees. They rise early to boil and bake their organic bagels, prepare soups from scratch and prep fresh fixings for salads, sandwiches and wraps. Tricia’s vegetarianism and Jeremy's self-described “meat-a-tarianism” are both well represented on the small menu.
Summer, autumn, winter, spring…there's no better bagel than an everything, at least to me. And 2nd Street Eats competes against Big O and Rockin’ Daves with their medium sized organic everything bagel. It was not too airy, not too doughy and not too dense. Topping it with fresh mozzarella, tomato and a thick, sweet roasted red pepper made for a great breakfast on my second visit ($4).
I prodded a bit to gain some background on these bagel pros:
Turns out Jeremy is a graduate of Western Culinary Institute and has years of experience in long-lived and noteworthy kitchens, like Giuseppe’s and Brasada Ranch. Tricia, in addition to her own kitchen skills, is an exceptional chocolatier. She sells her hand-made organic truffles from the cafe under her own label, called Tricia’s True Confections.
When I heard the word “chocolate,” I veered off towards the display cases, selecting a 70 percent cacao truffle. It was smooth, dark and mostly unadulterated save for the two crystals of rock salt on top and the hint of caramel within it. I planned to split it in two and share when I got home. A quarter mile later I had consumed it without remorse.
By my third visit I had tried the chicken salad sandwich, macaroni and potato salads, and a veggie grinder, as well. My chicken salad sandwich ($6.50) came on soft, thin sourdough (yes!). It was good, but like the slightly sweet mac salad, fairly unremarkable. The potato salad was simply perfect—a real show of integrity. The firm but easily smooshed potatoes were suitably salted and mayo’d, tossed with slivered hard-boiled eggs, seasoned, then dusted with just the right amount of dill. How so many people screw up this simple side dish, I don’t know.
Even better was the veggie grinder ($7) with cold toppings under a cloak of melted provolone. The chilled roasted red peppers, cucumbers, pickles, tomato, lettuce and avocado were secured underneath this blanket of cheese, all on a soft Philadelphia-baked hoagie roll, complete with cornmeal dusting.
Out of an unassuming building, the Pollards have created a hot spot for court house and county workers, downtown nine-to-fivers and others along 2nd Street's industrial/retail row by keeping it simple, consistent and fresh. 2nd Street Eats has been open just 10 short months, but it’s no surprise they’ve already earned such a loyal following.
Photo taken by Laura Kessinger.
2nd Street Eats
1289 NE 2nd Street, Bend
Open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday
8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday