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Food & Drink » Chow

Little Bites: Pho-shure! Steakerrific!

Best restaurants in Bend heading downtown

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All that junky-looking brown paper on the windows of what was once Amalia's? It's coming down! And something fabulous will soon be happening behind those windows!

That's right. Amalia's is doneskis. But the even bigger news is that PHO IS COMING TO DOWNTOWN.

Tan Vo, the owner of Pho Viet on Third Street, confirms that he is ready to expand, opening a second location for pho in the old Amalia's spot, hopefully by mid-February.

"We got the key and we are remodeling right now," said Vo.

He says the place will be called Sweet Saigon and will be spiffier than the current Pho Viet location, which despite its somewhat under-the-radar ambiance won Rookie Restaurant of the Year from the Source in our 2012 Dining Guide. They earned that, people, because their pho is the chronic.

"The new restaurant will have the same concept but give us an opportunity to move into a more upscale dining experience," he said. "It will still have reasonable prices, though."

This is very good news for downtown Bend.

FIREHALL+BRICKHOUSE=AWESOME

It seems the old Firehall on Minnesota Avenue will most likely become the new location of Bend's Brickhouse steakhouse.

Owner Jeff Porad said the lease is not yet signed on one of Bend's premier restaurant locations, but "we are negotiating for that space."

Porad's restaurant earned the 2012 Best Steak award in our 2012 Best of issue. We're pretty psyched to see this great spot go to a great cause—more filet Oscars.

The Firehall has been on the market since October 2011. Bourbon Street, a New Orleans-themed restaurant operated by Gavin McMichael, went out of business in October 2011 after being open for a little over a year. The space was occupied by longtime Bend favorite Staccato prior to that.

If the Brickhouse deal goes through, Porad said he hopes to open sometime around March. While the restaurant's main dining menu will remain very similar to the current menu, Porad said to expect some changes.

For instance, he aims to expand the lounge area of the Firehall and offer a more casual menu in that section of the restaurant.

He said the current Bend location on Industrial Way near the Old Mill would remain open until the new restaurant is ready. He also wanted to be clear about the restaurant's other location.

"Redmond," he said, "despite any rumors, is not going anywhere." (EFM)

Speaking of Quick Bites, Little Bites

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