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Little Bites: Restaurant Round Robin

The Central Oregon restaurant industry has been experiencing a pretty big overhaul lately, with the opening of three new eateries and big changes and additions to four more.


The Central Oregon restaurant industry has been experiencing a pretty big overhaul lately, with the opening of three new eateries and big changes and additions to four more. Level 2, the new lounge above Saxons in the Old Mill District (formerly the home of the Old Mill Martini Bar), opened its doors over Labor Day weekend. The Aida Chow-run restaurant (the woman behind Szechuan) features "globally inspired cuisine" with prices ranging from $4 - $18. We hear Level 2 is hoping to appeal to the pre- and post-movie and concert crowd with small plates and pastries, as well as cocktails. Finally, a late-night destination in the Old Mill.

Also new to the Old Mill area is the Old Mill Brew Werks, opening October 1st in the Phoenix West Building off of SW Bond St. What will eventually be a full-functioning brewery focusing on German-style lagers - we hear by March - the Old Mill Brew Werks will, in the meantime, offer craft beers from Portland, Eugene, Salem and possibly San Francisco. The pub will also feature a bakery-style breakfast menu, a lunch menu with soups, salads, sandwiches, pizza and fish, and a tapas menu into the evening.

It's not just Bend that's getting a restaurant overhaul - Redmond is welcoming a new bakery/deli in the historic Landaker Building on 6th Street. Called Soup 2 Nuts 2 Go, the eatery will highlight fresh, local products, most purchased within a 2-mile radius and hauled back to the kitchen via bicycle. Soup 2 Nuts 2 Go will also focus on sustainability, recycling most products and utilizing compostable packaging. The restaurant will open this Friday, during Redmond's Harvest Block Party from 6-9pm. Stop in to Soup 2 Nuts 2 Go (which needs an acronym, stat) for free samples.

Among the shake-ups within some of our existing favorites, included is Volcano Vineyards' impending move at the end of this month from their Minnesota Ave location to Century Center. While it's not quite as central a location, there is an added bonus of space - enough so that Volcano will be able to produce their wines right here in Bend. Check out their new space in early October at 70 Century Drive, Suite 175.

If you haven't been to the new Riverside Café recently (read all about it in Dining this week), you're in for a surprise - they've nipped, tucked, tweaked and repainted the neighborhood institution to a lovely effect. Owners Melanie and John Gaipo are taking their neighborhood do-gooderness to a new level with Miller Mondays. From 5 - 9 p.m., all Boneyard Beers on tap are $2 and all proceeds go to the Miller Landing project, which aims to turn the vacant lot at the end of Riverside Blvd. that was previously slated for a condo development into a public park.

Lastly, we hear that Marz Bistro, our 2008 Restaurant of the Year, recently sold to Chef Gavin McMichael from the Blacksmith Restaurant and Bourbon Street. Marz closed its doors last Saturday and will reopen in two weeks with an overhauled menu and possible staff changes. This downtown gem was among the first to push the envelope of fine dining in Bend, foregoing the steak and chops model for a more inspired and eclectic approach to its dishes. Hopefully, McMichael and Co. will retain Marz's endearing funkiness as well as its creative cuisine.

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