What empty restaurant spaces should be filled?

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?

6 thoughts on “What empty restaurant spaces should be filled?

  1. Let the old Zydeco die… or maybe be taken over by a national chain restaurant that nobody cares about.

    I think the old Kayo’s location would be a great spot for a new Deschutes Brewery restaurant/pub! I mean locals have been begging them to open a second location for years now. It’s so frustrating trying to get into that tiny place they have now that I don’t even bother anymore.

    Come on DB, give us locals (and your original customers by the way) a place we can call our own.

  2. I agree that the old Mexicali Rose building is so iconic of "real" Bend architecture that something should go in there. The major issue is the noise.
    I remember eating there, and the windows rattled every time a big truck drove by. At least with the parkway, there’s less truck traffic on 3rd, so it could be do-able, but the building is right on top of the road, so it’s always going to be noisy.

    I totally agree about Ernesto’s. That’s a great space.

    I hated Kayo’s Roadhouse, just too loud to carry on a conversation, and the building design made sound echo with an especially annoying high pitched tinny tone. A ton of money would have to be spent on redesign to create something a little more intimate feeling and warmer sound. Oh, and talk about awful parking, how the heck were they allowed to build a property that could hold twice as many patrons inside as it would cars in the lot?

  3. Okay, well they could certainly find a better spot than the old Kayo’s… I guess I’m just frustrated that the brewery has essentially become a tourist trap. I mean, they spend $20 million or whatever building a place in Portland and they can’t do right by their original customers?

  4. I would like to see Deschutes Pub expand into the lot next door (Where Yoko’s west and Alpen Glow used to be)

    I too think that the old Robbie J’s location is a pretty sweet spot.. Especially in summer. I’d like to see something a little more casual in there though.

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