BITES, BREWS & BEDS
BITES: In recent years, Bend’s food scene has significantly evolved beyond fast food and commercial chains. The town has embraced the local, sustainable food movement and introduced a number of establishments that offer mouthwatering selections of both Northwest and international menus. Here are our picks:
Ask any local where to go for breakfast and they’re likely to tell you McKay Cottage. Open since 2006, this popular brunch and lunch establishment is housed in a 1916 Craftsman bungalow. Their huge breakfast menu features a variety of scrambles, omelettes, Benedicts, hashes, pancakes, crepes, pastries and more. Servings are large and will definitely fill you up for the trail. Another favorite is the Victorian Cafe, a local favorite for more than 3o years. This charming establishment featuring cozy, wooden booths is known for their daily specials, amazing Benedicts and tasty Bloody Marys. In summertime, brunch on the outdoor patio at either location is the way to go. If you’re looking for a quick breakfast to take on the road or trail, drop into the Sparrow Bakery. This tiny, slightly out-of-the-way shop serves up an incredible bacon breakfast croissant (with avocado and arugula aioli!), as well as a selection of sweet and tasty pastries. You can also choose from a variety of mouthwatering lunch sandwiches—stash one in your pack for later.
For lunch or dinner, we love tacos. And in Bend, there’s just one place to go: Parilla Grill. Start off with a glass of Uncle Wedgie’s Margarita—a perfect refresher after a long day on the trail. Follow that up with a few of their delicious street-style tacos. Choose your protein, salsa and toppings and dive in. Or, try their classic fish tacos—they’re awesome! For a little more exotic flavor, pull up to the counter at Spork. This local food truck turned into a stylish establishment in 2015 and it’s been an area favorite since. This casual venue prides itself on its locally-sourced ingredients which it then transforms into delicious dishes featuring a variety of international flavors. Everything here is good, but the Spicy Fried Chicken bowl is amazing! If a big burger and fries is more to your tune, just head for the Pilot Butte Drive-In. Choose from a variety of flavorful burgers, including the Ortega, the Hawaiian or the Western. If you’ve got a monster appetite, take on their 18-ounce Pilot Butte signature burger. They’ve got a Veggie option, too. Top off your order with fries, rings and a frosty shake, then chow down at a table by their central fireplace.
BREWS: If you’re looking for a refreshing post-trail beverage, Bend has become a mecca of the Oregon craft beer movement. Whatever satisfies your trail thirst—IPAs, ales, ambers, reds, porters, pilsners, stouts, radlers, ciders or specialty drafts—you’re sure to find a tasty elixir in Beer Town USA. Here’s few of our faves.
Opened in 2012, and located in an old industrial area, Crux Fermentation Project has become one of Bend’s official meeting places. Sample from their variety of seasonal taps or go for a pint of one of their classics—including PCT Porter, our favorite (duh!) Then enjoy your beer in the outdoor area with a fantastic view of the Three Sisters. With two locations in town, 10 Barrel Brewing serves up pints of refreshment with names like Trail Beer, Joe IPA, Raspberry Crush and Sinistor Black Ale. Or go for something different with one of their seasonal or small batch brews. Each location offers a full menu of pub grub, including sandos, wraps, pizzas and apps. Located in the heart of downtown Bend—and an Oregon institution—the Deschutes Brewery pours a variety of classic, seasonal, small batch and reserve drafts. Go for a sampler before settling on just one. Top it off with some of their tasty pub fare, much of which incorporates locally-sourced meats and produce.
If you have the time, and you really want to experience—and enjoy—the full range of Bend’s beer scene, check out the Bend Ale Trail. Start your journey at one of the participating breweries (see website) by picking up your official Ale Trail map and passport. You can then walk the trail on your own or take a paid tour. Pace yourself, though. With 16 breweries on the full tour, you want to make sure you can still get back on the trail.
BEDS: Need a place to crash before getting on the trail, after getting off the trail, or just taking a break? Bend’s got you covered with a variety of hotels, resorts, B&Bs and campgrounds. Located around the city center and outlying areas, there’s a place just right for you and your budget. Here’s a few of our picks:
You don’t need to stray far from the PCT to enjoy enjoy some R&R. Just a little more than a mile off the trail, Elk Lake Resort offers a small campground and a variety of rustic and furnished cabins. Kick back on their deck with a refreshing beverage and mound of nachos, or paddle around the lake on a SUP or kayak. There’s also a couple of Forest Service campgrounds north and south of the resort area. If you’re heading into town, you can crash at Bunk & Brew. This new hostel-style establishment in the historic Lucas House caters to the outdoors crowd—and welcomes each visitor with a refreshing beer! Save some money by bunking in a group room, or spend a little extra and get a private room. They even provide shuttle service via the Dirtbag Express to the downtown area and local outdoor playgrounds.
If you’d rather base yourself right in the middle of downtown, check into McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School. This 1930s school building was converted into a hotel (the classrooms are the guest rooms!), and offers an on-site pub, brewery and movie theater. Restaurants, gear shops and the Deschutes River Trail are just a short walk away. The Old Mill District with its giant REI and more food and shopping is 1 mile south. If you’re on a tight budget, and all you need is a good bed and a place to drop your gear, go for a room at the Holiday Motel. This small, family-owned motel, located on the east side of town provides clean rooms with free wi-fi, microwaves and refrigerators. From here, the Old Mill District is an easy 1-mile walk away.
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