Every year about this time something stops me from my busy life and makes me pause to welcome summer and appreciate just how good we have it here in Bend. Fresh air and clean water, hot days and cool nights.
Sometimes it’s that first margarita of the season that does it, or the first leap into the shockingly cold Deschutes.This year, I found my “welcome to summer” moment on the sun-drenched patio at Tetherow, which is now just one mile from my front door thanks to a recent move—“stumbling distance” I like to call it.
Open to the public and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant at Tetherow nails it for knowledgeable service, quick and affordable food, and views of one of Golf Digest’s 100 Best Golf Courses.
The breakfast menu includes many standards like omelets and biscuits and gravy. But Chef Ryan Mulligan adds interest by using fresh berries and orange zest on the Texas-style French toast, wild mushrooms in the scramble, and crab cakes for one of the benedicts.
The lunch menu is also simple but well-rounded. Classics like the reuben and the club are mainstays, but there are many options with a touch of the unexpected, like the pulled pork “Philly” with wild mushrooms, or the ahi sandwich with pea shoots and a ginger couli on toasted sourdough.
We found both breakfast and lunch at Tetherow to be consistently good, and we were surprised by how inexpensive it was, given the high-quality ingredients and the posh surroundings with textured leather walls, comfortably padded high-backed chairs and fresh flowers on the tables. Almost the entire breakfast menu is under $10, and most lunch options are just $8 to $13.
After weeks of packing, moving and unpacking, we finally found the time to have dinner at Tetherow.
The late evening sunshine slipped in sideways through the patio railing and cast shadows behind the moguls of the golf course, rolling like sage-colored sand dunes toward Broken Top. We took in the clear blue skies and the panoramic view of the horizon, from Lava Butte and Paulina all the way to Mt. Jefferson, the Sisters and Three-Fingered Jack. Seeing these landmarks from this southwest perspective, as Century Drive climbs higher towards Mt. Bachelor, was remarkable.
Our martinis arrived quickly and we raised them to make a toast. But before we could, two men at the table next to us rose to leave, stopping to look out over the golf course one last time. One patted the other on the shoulder and said, “A perfect evening.” We laughed—they had made the toast for us.
The dinner menu we perused offers appetizers, from Asian duck nachos and shitake potstickers to fried green tomatoes and Manila clams, and several options for a quick or casual dinner like the pub-style fish and chips ($14) or the grilled ham and cheese sandwich with fire-roasted tomato soup ($11).
But the real treats at Tetherow are the numerous dinner entrees, which can be ordered two ways, either á la carte, or as part of a three-course fixed price meal. The salmon, pork, chicken and gnocchi are just $30 for the three course option and the lamb, halibut, filet mignon and duck are $40.
We both went for the three-course deal. I ordered the Duck Two Ways as my entrée. They had me at duck, but two ways sounded better than one, so I was in. I closed the menu as quickly as I had opened it, and ordered the beet salad for my first course.
My companion also started with the beets, but went for the chicken cordon bleu as his entrée.
As the first course arrived, I realized my martini had disappeared—hole in the glass I’m sure. So, I studied the wine list for something to go with the duck. A pinot would be appropriate, but instead I went for a six-year-old French syrah, which turned out to be perfect and a steal at just $8 a glass.
The beets were sliced thinly, lightly salted and drizzled with champagne vinaigrette. Small dollops of herbed chévre and micro-greens completed the perfect-for-summer ensemble.
The cordon bleu arrived juicy and stuffed to the hilt with caramelized onions, bacon and gruyere. The pan-seared duck breast was a tender medium, sliced under an IPA glaze next to the crisped-skin duck leg confit. The accompanying lemon thyme risotto was bright with citrus, savory with thyme and rather light and fluffly—a nice contrast to the overly rich and thick-with-cream risottos found elsewhere. The halved zucchini served alongside was marked by the grill, but still firm and crunchy.
We were so satisfied with our meals that we passed on our included desserts, opting for an espresso instead—hard to do with options like basil panna cotta, vanilla gelato with fresh berries, and a red wine poached pear with chantilly cream.
As we left, I wondered how Tetherow remained such a well-kept secret. What I realized is that most people still don’t know that both the course and the restaurant are open to the public. And it’s closer than you might think, less than five minutes from downtown. But once you’re there you’ll feel worlds away and pleased that you don’t have to empty your wallet to enjoy it, or endure the elitism that keeps me away from other golf-side dining options.
61380 Skene Trail, Bend, off Century Drive
Open to the public 7 days a week
Breakfast Thursday to Sunday 8-11 a.m.
Lunch 11 a.m.-5p.m. daily
Sunday Brunch 8a.m.-2p.m.