I recently moved out of northeast Bend, a virtual wasteland when it comes to food and nightlife. (The last vestige of culinary civilization, Little Pizza Paradise, picked up stakes and moved to Cascade Village Mall earlier this summer.) I didn't improve my lot much by moving to southeast Bend, particularly when it comes to nightlife.
A few scattered pubs on Third Street and an outpost at Reed Market were an improvement, but hardly a sea change. To make matters worse, my favorite South side watering hole/pizza place and blues club, Grover's, recently closed.
Fortunately, I wasn't the only one who enjoyed the confines of the former Grover's with its pre-10 Barrel garage door accessible patio and laid-back vibe. It wasn't long before a partnership that includes Victorian Café owner John Nolan moved in on the property. After several months of interior makeover work, the neighborhood bar and restaurant reopened this past week as the Hideaway Tavern.
While the digs will look familiar to Grover's former patrons, the new owners have added some nice touches that downplay the poker club ambiance of Grover's in favor of a sports bar motif. I counted more than a dozen flat screen HDTVs on the walls and behind the bar, making it nearly impossible to grab a seat that doesn't offer a view of the game.
Also emphasized are the beer offerings, which include 17 local and regional tap handles, including Boneyard, 10 Barrel and GoodLife. Longtime patrons will be glad to know that Nolan and Co. haven't ditched the pool table, which offered free racks during the MNF game this week.
The Hideaway is apparently hoping to maintain Grover's legacy as go-to for handmade pizzas on the South side. The tavern offered up a half-price pizza special during the first half of the recent ill-fated Packers-Seahawks game, of which we took advantage.
Football specials notwithstanding, for $16 diners get a large 16-inch pie and a choice of several pre-fab options including a BBQ pork or Margherita preparation.
We opted for "The Hunter," which features a chef's choice meat topping. The Hideaway also offers a companion "Gatherer" pie that consists of a daily veggie selection.
Our pie arrived with a perfectly flaked, thin, hand-tossed crust and generous smattering of pepperoni, sausage, roasted pepper, black olives, mushrooms and a sprinkling of fresh basil on the mozzarella cheese.
While our kids spent most of their time picking off the toppings, we devoured ours and their cast-offs. We silenced their pleas for cheese pizza with a couple of tall Shirley Temples and a towering basket of hand-cut fries that arrived with a house dipping sauce. And, while we took home a third of the pizza, the fries disappeared in minutes.
We stuck around long enough to watch Aaron Rodgers take half a dozen sacks and to run into some good friends we hadn't seen for a while. It's something we plan to do more of in the not too distant in the newly resurrected bar and restaurant. (EF)