Merenda is closing, too

Right on the heels of finding out Deep is closed, it turns out Merenda—Jody Denton’s longer-lasted downtown trendy restaurant—is closing for good, as well. A couple of people noted in the comments here on the blog, and the initial announcement in the Bulletin is here, with a longer, more detailed article appearing today.

The Jody Denton era in Bend has come to an end.

Denton said Wednesday that he is leaving Bend — and Merenda Restaurant and Wine Bar, arguably the highest-profile restaurant in the city, will close its doors after dinner on Sunday.

… He had hoped Merenda … would remain open. But he learned Tuesday morning that its demise, hastened by prevailing economic conditions, was inevitable, he said.

I guess it’s not really surprising; rumors have been floating around for awhile about the demise of both restaurants (I’m looking at you, craigslist).

What’s interesting is after I blogged the closing of Deep, I followed a link that was sent to me to John Gottberg Anderson’s new blog and read this post, which was much more detailed than the original Bulletin article. And it had the foreshadowing of Merenda:

Jody spilled the beans to me in a private conversation this afternoon. He seemed calm and composed, but perhaps a bit nervous, as we sat at a table on Merenda’s mezzanine level and discussed this turn of events….

Rumors about the impending demise of Merenda and Deep have been circulating throughout Central Oregon for months. … “The rumors have been going on it seems forever, and they’ve never been true,” Jody said, shaking his head. “Not a single rumor that I ever heard was true, not one time.”

Until now.

There is more to this story, by the way. But I’m sworn to secrecy until Thursday morning.

One of the odd things from the article: Denton ran Merenda (and Deep) with a management team of investors, which seems strange to me for running a restaurant. But I’m just ignorant enough about the industry to ask: is that normal? Maybe not, because the story also implies that the management team was a (possibly significant?) source of financial drain. (Or at least, that’s how I’m reading it.)

3 thoughts on “Merenda is closing, too

  1. If you don’t have enough money to open a restaurant yourself you ask friends or people you know that have deep pockets. banks won’t just loan on the fact that you are a chef. You have to have some net worth,apparently at the time he did not. having the investors onboard meant they got a huge share of the money taken in and afterall the bills were paid i.e. rent,utilities,FSA ect. little was left. Sometimes even the landload if written in the rental agreement take a profit off of what you make..I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject but maybe you can understand this?

  2. Yeah, that makes more sense; I was also talking to someone last night about it and it was made a bit more clearer as well. Essentially when he took on investors–rather that just going to/getting turned down by the bank–he ran it with a management team more like a corporate structure than a restaurant.

    Which still strikes me as unusual; but I guess most people who can’t afford to open a restaurant simply don’t.

  3. I used to drop so much cash at Merenda… Jody never ever ever said hello, thank you or even Boo! I quit going cause of his lack of whatever you want to call it.

    Not only that, the food quality really went down. Why go there when you have Cork or Blacksmith around the corner.

    Often times, I’d take friends to Deschutes Brew and walk right by Merenda. Jody needs to understand it is a people business too, not just a creative food/wine one.

    Farewell, don’t let the door hit you on you’re way out of Bend.

    P.S. wonder how he’s gonna unload that huge home he recently bought. Prob. have some corp. hire him by him out?

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