Barrio, opening March 1

BarrioI’m a little bit behind on reporting this, but there’s definitely some excitement I’ve seen over the opening of the new Barrio restaurant on March 1st. Interestingly they’re opening in the former Gatsby’s space (163 NW Minnesota), which answers the questions I’ve been hearing about what’s going on there (sign in the window, windows papered over, etc.).

Here’s the press release:

Barrio, a neighborhood Spanish kitchen, is the newest addition to downtown Bend. The new venture is scheduled to open on March 1, 2012. The restaurant is an elevated version of co-owners Steven Draheim and Joel Cordes’ prior ventures, Soupçon and El Sancho, two popular food carts in downtown Bend.

“Barrio maintains the casual lunch atmosphere of our food carts, allowing guests to get in and out quickly,” explains Draheim. “We know better than to change a good thing. Our lunch menu will stay true to what made us successful on the corner, but we’ve added happy hour and a Spanish-influenced dinner menu to round out the offerings.”

“We’ve added a menu that goes beyond the food cart, but is still accessible to everyone,” Cordes adds. Indeed, adding tapas (small plates of food that are typically shared and enjoyed with drinks), paella and signature entrees including a half roast chicken, is more than the two carts could handle. Barrio will also offer signature sangria, local beer and focused wine and cocktail lists. “We are thrilled to invite our loyal customer base into our restaurant and grow that following into happy hour and dinner patrons as well.”

The Barrio menu is a collaboration of Draheim and Cordes, both classically trained chefs with extensive backgrounds in Spanish and Latin cuisines.

Draheim, a Bend native, graduated from Western Culinary Institute and has worked under James Beard award winning chefs Cory Schreiber at Wildwood in Portland and Janos Wilder at Janos in Tucson, AZ. From 2003-2006, he also worked as executive chef of the Kokanee Café in Camp Sherman. In 2007, Draheim became executive chef at Janos restaurant and helped earn the restaurant another James Beard nomination. In 2008, Draheim returned home to Bend, Oregon and opened Soupçon, believe that food carts were the answer to Bend’s down economy.

Cordes, another Bend native, attended culinary school at Colorado Mountain College in Vail, CO and worked in restaurants in Vail and Seattle before embarking on a food quest to Mexico and Africa. A longtime chef at The Blacksmith Restaurant, Joel decided to open his own food cart. In early 2010, El Sancho was born. In October 2011, Joel took his cart down to Phoenix for the Arizona Taco Festival and returned to Bend with a trophy for the “Best Booth” award. Cordes built his entire food cart by hand so the award was well-deserved. His most recent metal work, the Barrio storefront sign, is already on display.

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