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.”
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.)