In the nearly 24 years our pub has been open here in Bend, one thing has been abundantly clear, we need more room! We need room in the dining room, as no one really wants to wait 2 hours for a table, and we need more room in our kitchen which was never intended to serve the volume of food that has been required of it over the more than two decades its been in existence.
Well, out of crisis comes opportunity as they say. This economic crisis Central Oregon (and the rest of the country) has been in over the past four years has brought sanity to a real estate market desperately in need of some.
I have coveted the property next to us for the past 20 years. I looked longingly as the owners demolished the building leaving an open wound on Bond Street, with steel supports levered against the stone wall of the building adjacent to the now empty lot to prevent the century old stones from collapsing. Throughout the recession the property languished, the developers having declared bankruptcy. The surviving owner, Doug Knight, I had known for many years through my work with the Downtowners and having watched his project converting the old Masterson-St. Clair Hardware building into St. Clair Place, a gem on Bond Street. Doug and I began talking seriously about what could be.
Fast forward to today. The so-called “quiet opening” has been underway for four days. Preceded as it was by five days of “friends and family” meals intended to give our staff, with 50-odd newcomers (they’re not odd, the number is . . . ) the opportunity to hone their skills in the new space. All our regular friends have managed to find their way back after being turned away for the past 20 days. And, the deft touch of architect and contractor, owner and enthusiast have created a warmer, more welcoming space where our bar has always stood. Additionally, the new space is more; more spacious, more seats, more comfortable, more engaging, more artistic, more . . . well, just more! Whereas we are not done yet, we have more things to hang on the walls, more details of menu and service to work out, suffice it to say, we are very pleased with the results. Even our toughest customers are very pleased with our results (and that is a relief).
What is best is that many old friends and customers who we have not seen in many years because they just did not want to endure the long wait for a table are coming back. They are back because of the additional space and resulting reductions in waiting time. But they are back also because many never wanted to leave in the first place. But to all of them, we say, “we’re glad you’re back!” Grand Opening is set for next Wednesday, February 1, a fitting day for a celebration. We will see you all there!