Restaurant news… and Olive Garden!

The Bulletin had two new restaurant bits on Saturday:

  • NorthWest Crossing gets new restaurant
    The new NWX Bar & Grill, at 745 N.W. Mt. Washington Drive, replaces Aloha Cafe, which closed Oct. 23. Aloha’s other two restaurants in east Bend and Sunriver remain open.
    Stoddard said the restaurant is a family-friendly neighborhood gathering place that serves burgers and sandwiches but also features a full bar and big-screen televisions for sports.
  • Chicago-style hot dog shop opens in Bend
    A new Chicago-inspired hot dog shop opened Nov. 7 in the old Baskin-Robbins location at 1106 N.E. Third St.
    Chicago Style Hot Dogs is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The owners said they import all of their products — from Vienna Beef hot dogs to neon green relish — from suppliers in Chicago. Co-owner Jeff DeHart, who grew up in Chicago, said the food is authentic, adding his restaurant serves up hot dogs just like they do in Chicago.

But what I know really drew you in to this post was the Olive Garden news.

There’s an opening date: Monday, January 18th at 4pm. That’s the word straight from their Corporate offices.

(We had heard a rumor last week that they were doing a soft opening this past weekend, but that turned out to be false, and my wife called them direct.)

23 thoughts on “Restaurant news… and Olive Garden!

  1. Oh yeay! An olive garden! Look honey, put the rest of those breadsticks in your jacket pocket before the waiter sees. How does your bag of food taste sweetie? Did they add enough butter and oil? I just love the chef’s idea on food. Let’s bring gary and barbara next time. They’re so interesting with breadsticks in their mouths. Resist the corporate restaurants bend. Independents need our support now more then ever.

  2. Soupcon, I erased what I initally wrote….but…I would like to know why, with given your pretentious attitude here why on earth would I go to your soup cart now? And yes, I suppost local businesses, but with an attitude/comment like yours…I promise you…you will *not* last, as you have just turned a local away from trying you.

  3. So, I have another thing to bring up.

    It is not right nor proper business ettiquitte to slam another business, as a business owner.

    As a business owner, shut up, keep your comments to yourself and let your food speak for itself (in your words as you commented on the street vender post). If your food exceeds Olive Garden, then you have no need to run your mouth off in the manner you have done so here.

  4. @Your wife:
    Um, what? Soupcon is right. Why would we be excited about an Olive Garden? We’ve already got two other "Italian" restaurants in town that feature reheated, pre-packaged slop. I mean half the city was out with torches and pitchforks when there was talk of a super Wal-Mart, but the Olive Garden is met with open arms? I don’t get it.

    One of my wife’s coworkers was recently complaining about how there "are no good restaurants" in Bend. When she told me that, my jaw hit the floor. We are literally overflowing with AMAZING, locally-owned restaurants that deserve your money far more than Olive Garden ever will.

  5. Like it or not The Olive Garden is coming…with it comes the promise of some much needed jobs for people in our community a fact that surely you Soupcon can appreciate…If you don’t like it don’t eat there, but as for some ideas for new soups.’The Possibilities are Endless."

    Will chain restaurants become the new landscape of Bends dining scene or will all the hype blow over just as fast as the newest see and be seen eatery opening in the ever so changing restaurant game?…super long, traffic choking lines at Sonic and Jack in the box…Failed attempts at "street cuisine"due to poor planning and an over all desire to screw up the current marketing trends merely to get your name in print AGAIN…Are we not not more than this..?

    I agree that we need to to keep our dollars supporting our local restaurants but on the same hand the local restaurants should not settle for delivering mediocre food and poor customer service.

    Wis en up!..Jody Denton a guy who was once praised for bringing fine dining to Bend is long gone, only his debt remains. Let us not forget the hard working folks who have been here working in the kitchens and dining rooms long before he came and will continue to do so as long as Bend is our home.

    As for me, I will be saving you and Shooter McGavin a spot at my table, once we get ourselves a good ole’ Red Lobster…Come on Shrimp Month!!!!!

  6. We do need jobs. If Ollive Garden can add to our economy then that is a good thing. Money goes round. We are all connected. Our economies are connected. Olive Garden is making a long term bet on our community, and I hope they help to attract other businesses with jobs to offer. I just hope it doesn’t come at the expense of jobs for local businesses in the short term. Bend could easily become one of those towns that is dominated by national chains, because they can out spend, and out last locally owned businesses during lean times like now. Soupson cry is not about being arrogant, it is cry for uniqueness, and passion driven food operations. Olive Garden is purely profit driven. I know, I used to work for them. Profit helps to drive our community, but passion drives the character and culture of our community as well. I would much rather live in a place with diversity and is interesting, rather than predictable and homogenized. Now is not the time to boycott any business, because it effects all of us right now, and our futures. If you boycott someone over this, your business may be effected, or you may be the one that is boycotted in the future. The sooner everyone looks around and sees we are all riding along in the same boat, the sooner we can start working together to pull through this and be better for it. If we don’t, many of us won’t survive. The ripple effect of one person losing their job effects many different businesses, particularly in a town this small.

    I hope Bend be a positive growth market for many types of businesses and employers, and not just a branded food court stop with a view on 97.

  7. If Donald thinks that Olive Garden and Red Lobster are not mediocre, and this is his benchmark for what is good food, then he needs to have his taste buds revoked, and given to a more responsible person. You are hardly qualified to comment on good taste.
    As for what is left at Merendas, it is the former employees who have put themselves on the line to keep a local business going, and employ the people that lost their jobs. It is heroic and noble and should be supported.

    @Your Wife

    I believe you are overreacting at some fun poking by a soup guy at the beheamouth Olive Garden. I am sure they would appreciate you defending them, but I think even they would appreciate the humor. Do you work in a coffee shop?


    It’ll be allright pumpkin. Have some soup and relax.

  8. I am a SAHM. Honey, bunches, sweetie, please don’t ever call me pumpkin. Trust me, you don’t want to see my wrath. A little teeny warning.

  9. Concerned & What the….you are one in the same as Gavin from the Blacksmith posting on this blog earlier this year. Hmm……

  10. I ate at that "what is left at Merendas" last night and wasn’t that impressed. The menu was minimal (probably not a major problem but I prefer more options) and nothing really stood out to me. The halibut cheeks in the overpowering tomato sauce was a serious let-down. One pizza was good, the other not. And about half of the other meals were good. With kind of a hit or miss place, does that really justify the price?

    As far as the olive garden goes… all I know is that Johny Carinos is screwed. The OG is much better in my opinion and this town doesn’t have room for both of them. It’s kind of sad in my opinion because I’d like to see both stay open simply for the jobs it brings to the community.

    Can anyone explain to me why Boston’s is freaking packed every time I drive by there? I’ve been there a few times and the first time it was good but the next couple times not only was the food mediocre but the service was bad also.

  11. WTF
    First off nobody likes a potty mouth. Secondly you quote that Olive Garden would see the humor in (your wife)’s comments yet you fail to see the humor in my finishing statement. Have you ever seen Happy Gilmore? It was a joke, perhaps you need to lighten up with a big bowl of steamy soup. Obviously you have a dislike for caffeine.

    As for my qualifications they are many. In fact I have worked in kitchens for nearly 22 years of my life, eeking out a living by trying to make people happy through food.I merely comment on Bends dining scene since it has been a place I have chosen as my home for the last eight years.I have in fact helped open several of Bends newest places in my time here. So I feel my taste buds and I have every right to our opinions and I will be keeping them around.

    I was simply trying to convey that local business’s need our support, yet customers should get what they pay for.
    People need jobs now more than ever, even if it is for working for a profit-driven corporate chain. (it pays the bills)
    There have been and will continue to be great restaurants to choose from which makes Bend so great.
    As a community we are lucky to have what we have….choice.

    Next time I’d leave the demeaning remarks toward the ladies out …but then again what do I know I GOT NO TASTE..:)

  12. Lots of angst – let the market decide. We do need JOBS! Luckily, we do have a lot of yummy restaurants to eat at that are unique, but some folks value consistency and lower prices. I don’t do chains but lots of folks like them.

  13. Wow! Simply astounded by the passionate outpouring of opinions over this issue. Concerned about your wife’s myopic views concerning criticism and business. Is she suggesting that NO business should be "slammed", as she says I’ve done to the OG by simply offering a fun translation of many local conversations here in Bend and no doubt other communities all over the country. So now I’ve lost his/her business with my poor etiquette unless he/she accepts an invitation to agree to disagree over a bowl of soup on me. So how about it wife? Cream of tomato and white bean/chicken on Monday and you have to try the KNODEL!!!

  14. I’m not even going to comment on that and will respectfully decline your invitation. The kids are out of school for the week and I have to prepare for our Thanksgiving.

    It’s called respect and you lost mine. Sorry.

  15. I love the competition! It forces all the amateurs who call themselves professionals out there to raise the notch or go out of business! So sorry business can be so cutthroat. And for all those who hate eating at Olive Garden… GREAT! It’s going to be packed with enough people so a few less will help!

  16. If Merendas was good OMG. Slow service, cold/undercooked food, high prices. Fine dining should really be fine dining. That said, Although not fine dining per se, I for one welcome the OG which will provide a decent dining experience for a reasonable price with an abundance of bread sticks. Not everyone can afford a fine dining experience; at least not frequently. My only complaint/request is for some decent chinese food for Bend. I for one would like to see a Bubba Gumps here also. Places like OG, Johnny Carinos, etc… provide decent employment opportunities which are badly needed. They also provide training ground for advancement to more fine dining establishments.

  17. I LOVE that OG is coming to Bend! It will keep all the blue hairs and the slubs out of my favorite restaurants. Let em have it! Enjoy! Get some of the best breadsticks and salad ever and fill up on it. I can’t wait!

  18. WOW! So emotional everyone. I am not a business owner, and I don’t own a soup cart but I can tell you two things. ONE… Anyone who knows Olive Garden’s food knows it tastes horrible. I AGREE WITH THE JOB THING, always a good thing in the community. What else, let’s see, I do think Olive Garden will do good, till everyone has tried them once and is appauled at mediocre fast food. Trying to go through the other blogs above here… to the gentleman that said local businesses need our support, THANK YOU SIR!!!!!! And let’s see, oh, whoever said Olive Garden will beat out Carinos, this guy might need some therapy, you must not have eaten at Olive Garden to say that one. Carinos is probably the best service and best Italian food in town. 10 times Olive Garden, the other one that kills Olive Garden is Pastini, Love Pastini. In fact there isn’t any Italian restaurant in this town that doesn’t leave Olive Garden in the toilet where it belongs. I’d rather stay home and have mac and cheese. This isn’t just my opinion, everyone I know except my sister all say the same thing, big deal, Olive Gardens coming, great, another chain to put Mom and Pops outta biz so that some GREEDY CORPORATE MONSTER can have 50 million in the bank instead of 49 million. OLIVE GARDEN IS A MICROWAVE BASED OPERATION, LITERALLY 90 PERCENT OF EVERYTHING IS MICROWAVED, SO IF YOU LIKE THEM, YOU ARE DISQUALIFIED FROM AN OPINION BECAUSE YOUR TASTE BUDS ARE NOT WORTH ANYTHING! But, in the end, I’d like to end on a positive, the job thing is good. IT’S GREAT TO BRING JOBS TO A PLACE THAT WILL JUST PUT A MOM AND POP OUT OF BIZ AND THEN PUT THEIR EMPLOYEES OUTTA WORK. This is why politics are so tiring. I hope everyone in this blog room has a beautiful day.

  19. Your Wife,
    Enjoy the OG little lady, it’s sad, so sad. Really I just feel sorry that you can’t realize what an awful thing the olive garden is and how it destroys community. You’re ability to laugh at the abusrd and the wrong in our community is just astounding. Nice.

  20. Olive Garden is doing great and the community IS excited for the restaurant to be here. People have been lining up just to get in long before the restaurant even opens. Olive Garden has not only brought jobs to Bend, but it has provided extensive training and an astounding approach to food service and quality control. I have worked in the hospitality field for about 20 years. I can honestly say that Olive Garden is the cleanest restaurant I have ever worked for. They actually hire an outside company to come in and inspect each of their restaurants quarterly. Far more extensive than even the health inspectors require. The food is amazing and prepared fresh to order. The above comment about 90% of the food being microwaved is false. The Olive Garden has very high standards for the preparation, temperatures and sanitation procedures for cooking food. I am honored to work at the Olive Garden. Yes, it is a corporate owned restaurant but the money IS coming back to our community. All of the people that work for Olive Garden have the opportunity to make really good money for a company that treats you like family. They offer GREAT benefits as well… They offer medical, dental, vision, 401k and vacation pay. All of these benefits are available without a waiting period. The Olive Garden has brought their amazing classic restaurant to beautiful Bend! I’m glad they are here and honored to work for such an amazing company.

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