You know how when you're looking at a car to buy, say a Honda or a Subaru, you'll suddenly notice how many people have that same car out on the road? I always find that a little curious. A similar experience led to this week's review. My friend Dave said he was coming into town, a Crazy Dave's ginger beer appeared in my fridge, my sister named her rescued cat David and I accidentally stepped on my favorite Dave Matthews CD. So perhaps it was foreshadowing or slightly serendipitous that I was assigned to review Rockin' Daves Bagel Bistro, owned by not one, but two Daves: Dave Flier and David Cohen.
Most of us know the story - Bagel Stop on Greenwood, owned by Flier and Cohen, burned down. That was last September, four days before their two-year anniversary. The outpouring of support from local businesses was immediate and genuine as restaurant owners rushed over in sweatpants asking how they could lend a hand. Flier describes the intense sense of belonging that he discovered in the wake of the fire, "I never knew what community was until this happened. To me, this is the best part of Bend."
Local advocacy resonates in the daily business practices of Rockin' Daves Bagel Bistro. Proceeds from the soft opening were donated to the Bend Community Center and attendees of the opening were asked to bring canned goods, also given to the Community Center. On a weekly basis, the bistro's presence at the Farmer's Market demonstrates a strong dedication to supporting local purveyors. Flier has built relationships with vendors and farmers, trading fresh baked breads and bagels for produce, dairy and even locally grown flowers. By supporting local purveyors through trading and bartering, the Bistro is able to offer local ingredients on a regular basis.
And then there's the new name - Rockin' Daves Bagel Bistro. The perception of being just a place to get bagels and cream cheese has been replaced with a bistro, a place where creative ideas flourish through daily menu specials, fast-casual service, full service catering and more.
On a recent visit to Rockin' Daves, the food was really good. Flier, who operates the front of the house, later told me that day had set a new record for daily sales since opening in June. Meanwhile, Cohen was in the kitchen manning the stoves. By the looks of the new interior, the sharp-looking menu board, the prices and the coffee cups, it's easy to see why Rockin' Daves may be breaking more records in the future.
Ordering for me was simple. I love pulled pork and they were running a pulled pork and chevre omelet with home fries and fruit ($7.50). Slightly smoked, tender and goat-cheese tangy, the omelet was delicious, the potatoes seasoned, crunchy and fluffy, and the fruit was unique and local with plums, blueberries, cherries and strawberries. My guests had a tougher time with their choices and I couldn't blame them. With a new bistro menu consisting of entrees centered around weekly Farmer's Market fare, along with the bagel menu offering at least a dozen different types, numerous cream cheeses and eggs, lox, bacon, plus build-your-own breakfast burritos, combinations were endless. A full lunch board of built-to-order sandwiches, wraps and salads was equally impressive. I filled my Crater-Lake-sized coffee cup, took a seat and perused the rock-music motif displayed across the green and orange walls.
Both friends ordered bagel sandwiches with prices ranging between $4 and $7. One chose the Oh Nelly, a bagel with dill cream cheese, Nova lox, tomato, cucumber and red onion piled high. The flavorful salmon balanced with the rest of the ingredients and my companion found it satisfying. My other companion had an egg/sausage/cheese bagel sandwich with a generous portion of sausage.
I returned for a Hot Pastrami ($8) since this is one of the few places in town that actually brines and smokes their own meats. The brisket is juicy and fatty enough, and is generously stacked onto slices of rye bread baked in-house. For anyone who thinks Rockin' Daves Bagel Bistro is just a bagel shop, this sandwich will feel like a smack in the face. Really, it's that good.
As if the food and prices aren't appealing enough, the Bistro now serves beer, wine, mimosas and bloodies that could crown it victorious over some westside competitors. Let's just hope that from now on Rockin' Daves Bagel Bistro burns singles rather than shingles.Mon - Sat 7am-3pm