Bend, Oregon, is quickly becoming known as a small town destination for delicious food, making the expectation from diners of new establishments quite high due to the quality offerings at restaurants and food trucks. One of the reasons the bar is high is because of a restauranteur who arrived in Bend in 2013 and established a coveted downtown destination for diners on the corner of NW Wall and Franklin, Drake. The man and his team behind the successful restaurant is Ted Swigert, his executive chef John Gurnee and his contractor Bob O’Connor. And now the trio has ventured into a new eating destination in the Northwest Crossing neighborhood: Washington Dining & Cocktails, or “Washington”.
Located on the corner of Mt. Washington Drive and Northwest Crossing Drive, Washington D & C (the name was purposely chosen as an homage to where Swigert’s roots and bulk of restaurant experience took place – Washington D.C.), opened on August 25 just a few weeks ago. Offering a family and neighborhood aesthetic, there is both ample indoor and outdoor seating. And for those looking for a beautiful setting and scrumptious aprés ski destination this winter, Washington is the place to go as they will have heaters in the outdoor area.
The outdoor area, as you can see below beckons to be enjoyed with group seating as well as more intimate individual tables, a gas fire structure nestled against a plushly decorated bench for sitting and sipping and two flat-screen televisions above the bar (three glass garage doors open up to outdoor guests).
Ted Swigert kindly sat down with me just before the restaurant opened, and I asked him why Bend. Why move to Bend and why open another restaurant? His candor was appreciated as he admitted, he was reluctant to move to the west side of the country (having called D.C. home for quite some time), but the immediate difference and what he most appreciates about living and working in Bend is,”People like being here and live here because they want to” and that makes a tremendous difference. With his expertise in cultivating food establishments that connect with the community and providing guests with a sense of stepping into “their” restaurant due in part to a welcoming aesthetic conceptualized by Style 8 Design, the community has begun to flock already to Washington.
Wanting to visit the restaurant when it opened to see for myself how everything was working, tasting and evolving, it was a Saturday evening and the place was packed. With the glass sliding doors open, the air was fresh and warm and the service was prompt. With every new restaurant, there are minor kinks to work out, but the quality of food (see below the appetizers we ordered), the atmosphere and the location offer a wonderful experience.
Oh, and as far as food is concerned, Swigert has brought onto his team a pastry chef who will share her talents at both the Washington and Drake locations. Having had a chance to look at the menu, I am excited to give it a try. In the months to come, I look forward to sitting around the outdoor fire and either nibbling on something sweet and enjoying the Bend outdoors or sipping a lovely glass of wine and losing track of time after enjoying a wonderful day here in central Oregon.
Enjoy a tour of Bend’s newest restaurant below.
~outdoor dining area, sliding garage doors open to the bar and two large televisions above~
~outdoor seating area for sipping and noshing around the gas fire fixture~
~Take Out window, walk up and pick up~
~view from the corner of Mt. Washington Drive’s round-about and NW Crossing Drive~
~Melanie Ehrlich is the resident “Liquid Therapist” behind the bar that heads up the bartending team~
~French bistro chairs and statement wall-paper~
~watch your meal being prepared with the open kitchen~
~appetizers: sweet-corn pancakes topped with brie and crispy mozzarella with tomato cape~
~private al fresco dining~
~a new neighborhood restaurant plants its roots in NW Crossing~
~MORE Bend Destinations to Visit:
All images taken by TSLL