This is a purely hypothetical post, playing "What if?" with a bunch of the empty, former restaurant spaces around town. The question is, which of those should be re-opened with (new) restaurants occupying them?
I know there are a lot of places around town that qualify, but I’m picking ones that have more character or are more interesting (to me). Here are a few that I would vote for:
- The old Mexicali Rose building. Other people might remember this as the Irish pub, or the first Bella Cucina location in Bend—the stone-walled building on the southeast corner of Third and Franklin. (It was the Mexicali Rose long before either of those, and that’s how I always remember it.) Sure, it needs a lot of work and the parking is horrible, but I’ve always liked the location and the space; it just smacks of Bend history.
- Ernesto’s. The old church building on the northwest corner of Third and Lafayette; you know the one. Another "Bend history" building with a lot of ambiance and potential. (Before it was Ernesto’s Italian, it was Le Bistro, a French restaurant.) Seems like this one should be a no-brainer.
- Kayo’s Roadhouse. This is a big space with decent parking out on the Eastside, in the "Crossroads Plaza" area on the other side of 27th from Barnes & Noble. Maybe the problem is the space is too big (and expensive), I don’t know, but it seems like a decent enough location and could be put to good use. Another brewpub?
- Zydeco’s former location: Formerly a Skipper’s, Zydeco’s old restaurant on the south end of Third Street next to Carrera Motors always seemed awkward, but they did great business anyway. They really turned it into a nice space and what it needs is another Zydeco-quality restaurant taking it over.
- Deep: Right, just what downtown Bend needs is another restaurant. But it seems a shame to let all the money spent building the place out go to waste; somebody should take full advantage of that.
What other good picks around town are there?