Times are tough all over, but the local restaurant industry has certainly been taking more than its share of punches. This year saw the passing of restaurants ranging from low-key eateries to the finest in fine dining. We bid adieu to high-end gems Bluefish Bistro and Bistro Corlise. Number-themed restaurants also didn't fare well as 38 Degrees and 541 Lounge packed it in. Newcomers Celina's, Bungalow Bar & Grille and Volo (we hardly knew ye!) didn't last long. Demitri's, Bend's only authentic Greek restaurant, quietly closed. Ernesto's and Redmond's Guido's and Vito's dropped out, thinning the ranks of Italian eateries. And Deep and Merenda departed in one dramatic exodus.
Some opted for a change of venue. Pepe's reversed course and moved back to Madras and Chloe, formerly of Redmond, moved to Sisters. The Village Grill, which was open only a year or so in the Grove's old spot downtown retreated to Sunriver. La Rosa expanded its holdings with a new Northwest Crossing location. And Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails, has extricated itself from its former location sandwiched between car dealerships on Business 97, and is taking Volo's spot downtown.
Across the board, spaces downtown haven't stayed vacant for long, which is hopefully a good sign. Almost overnight, the Village Grill became Seven, a combo nightclub/restaurant that is distinguishable from its former occupant in name only. Bend Burger Company opened in the Bluefish Bistro space. The Merenda space is slated to reopen under the auspices of its former manager as 900 Wall. And Bistro Corlise will transform into Joolz, a Middle Eastern fusion restaurant courtesy of the former owners of Jackalope Grill.
This year has also seen the openings of Tomo Japanese Restaurant and Mio Sushi, two welcome less expensive sushi options, the Three Creeks Brewing Co. in Sisters, as well as the opening/closing/reopening of Fireside red also notable in the area south of downtown was the birth of Jackson's Corner a hip neighborhood café that is just off the beaten path in the historic Delaware Market. The restaurant features a wood fired pizza oven, beer on tap, an espresso bar, and a bustling bakery. - Alice Finer