The best spots for a grab-and-go breakfast in Bend, Oregon



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The best spots for a grab-and-go breakfast in Bend, Oregon

Though we like to wax poetic about how laidback everyone is in Bend, the truth is that we’re almost always going somewhere. Perhaps we’re en route to Mt. Bachelor for a day of skiing, or maybe we’re headed to Drake Park for a morning stroll.

There’s a huge call for grab-and-go breakfasts that are delicious, nutritious, and above all, portable. I’m not suggesting you grab a gloopy breakfast sandwich and hop behind the wheel of a car, veering dangerously into the bike lane when the sausage patty hits your crotch. I’ll leave it to you to be responsible about saving the nosh-fest for when you’re either a passenger hand-feeding your driver, or transporting your portable breakfast to a scenic locale to enjoy it.

However you handle it, here are the best grab-and-go breakfasts you’ll find in Bend.

Tasty bacon breakfast biscuit from Jackson’s Corner.

Jackson’s Corner

Jackson’s Corner is ideal for a lazy Sunday breakfast sprawled at one of their huge farm tables taking your time over a plate of biscuits and gravy or cardamom & sea salt French toast.

But if you’re itching to hit the road, you can still sample their fare. Try the biscuit sandwich, made with Hills bacon, Tillamook cheddar, and organic scrambled egg on a house-made biscuit. I like asking them to add a few seasonal, grilled veggies for added crunch and nutrition.

This tasty sandwich actually looks messier than it is. The box they give you for takeout makes a perfect catch-all for dropped crumbs, and I’ll admit I enjoy the tactile pleasure of eating the side of home fries with my fingers (though my husband—refined gentleman that he is—opts to eat them with a fork in an unmoving car).

One of the things I love about Jackson’s Corner is their commitment to fresh, locally-produced ingredients. If that’s important to you as well, you’ll enjoy a little peace-of-mind with that side of home fries!

Yummy, fruity, healthy breakfast options from Mother’s.

Mother’s Café

I planned my most recent stop at Mother’s Café to coincide with my drive to the annual Yogis Unite yoga festival held each September in Bend. This was no accident. The instant you walk through the door, you feel centered, balanced, and oh-so-very-healthy.

But you get even healthier when you start ordering from the menu. Their cold-pressed juices and smoothies make a supremely portable breakfast option, with tons of variety to choose from. I’m partial to the Tropical Fuji, made with orange juice, pineapple, banana, mango, coconut, mango sorbet.

I’ll admit I have a tough time feeling filled up by a meal I can’t chew, so there are plenty of chewable options here as well. Their breakfast sandwiches are a bit messy to eat in a car, but they’re a terrific choice for that brunch picnic. The Mother’s Cristo features ham, egg, Havarti, and marionberry jam on an English muffin, or try the Baden-Baden with avocado, egg, tomato, spinach, Swiss, and chimichurri on an English muffin.

On the morning of the yoga festival, I decided to branch out with something new. “Have you tried our Chia Pudding?” asked the friendly attendant. I had not, and I’ll be honest—it sounded a little weird. Boy, was I in for a surprise! Chia pudding is made with chia seeds, hemp milk, kale, lemon, mango, bee pollen and ginger, topped with apple, almonds, fresh berries and coconut. It’s a glorious mix of textures and flavors with the perfect amount of crunch and zing. Definitely don’t attempt to eat this one while driving, but do take it with you to that perfect picnic table where you’ll wield your plastic spoon and feel very zen about your life.

Like many other cafes in this roundup, these guys have both Eastside and Westside locations, so you can hit them whether you’re heading to Mt. Bachelor or out to the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.

Los Jalapeños

You know how sometimes you order a breakfast burrito and you end up with all the egg on one side and the meat on the other? Or the ratio of filling to tortilla is skewed so heavily to the tortilla that you feel like you’re chewing a piece of cardboard rubbed with egg?

That’s sooooo not the case at Los Jalapeños. This hidden little mid-town eatery isn’t something you’d find unless you went looking for it, but I urge you to stop whatever you’re doing now and go looking.

These guys are the masters of the perfect breakfast burrito, which they’ll grill up hot while you wait, chattering happily in Spanish the whole time. They have tons of options to pick from, ranging from the Chorizo Burrito (Mexican sausage, hash browns, two eggs, and cheese) to the Machacha Burrito (shredded beef, bell pepper, hash browns, two eggs, and cheese) and more. I loved the sound of their veggie burrito (two eggs, bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, cheese, and hash browns) but wanted to add ham. No problem! They charged a little bit more, then cooked the whole thing up fresh while I waited.

The tortilla was light and fresh and heavenly, and the fillings were scrumptious and well proportioned. They gave me little to-go cups of green and red salsa, which I doused over each bite I took while working at my standup desk.

Strictly Organic

As a devout tea drinker, I didn’t think to put Strictly Organic on my list of grab-and-go breakfast options at first. But when I asked the girl making my breakfast at Mother’s for her favorite grab-and-go spot that isn’t Mother’s, Strictly Organic was her suggestion. I’m glad I heeded it!

For starters, Strictly Organic offers waaaaaaaaaay more than just coffee. I was taken aback by their selection of grab-and-go breakfast items, including pastries, muffins, breakfast wraps, breakfast sandwiches, and quiche. As you might expect from a spot with this name, these guys specialize in fresh, locally-produced, organic goods.

The wide selection makes it a perfect spot to take a family looking to eat on the run.  My stepkids opted to pick something out of the pastry case, which offered a wide array of cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones, and bagels.

My husband chose the daily breakfast special, which was turkey bacon, egg, and Swiss with spinach, onion, mayo, and roasted red pepper on his choice of bread. I went for the veggie breakfast wrap with avocado, tomato, and onion, plus I added turkey bacon because—well, I could. Everything here screamed “fresh!” and I liked the added bonus of being able to choose between white, wheat, or a gluten-free rice wrap.

Keep in mind this spot is super-popular with locals, so if speed is crucial in your grab-and-go quest, you might want to pick someplace else on a busy Saturday or Sunday. But if you have a little extra time to wait, it’s definitely worth it!

Cedar and Violet enjoy their tasty treat from Big O Bagels (while Bindi the dog looks on).

Big O Bagel

Yet another option with handy Eastside and Westside locations, Big O Bagels is one of my family’s most regular stops when we want a super-fast, super-predictable breakfast on our way out of town for a hike.

The kids are suckers for their chocolate chip bagels smeared with butter or (if they’re feeling adventurous) cream cheese.

For me, the no-frills nature of their bagel sandwiches is a huge selling point for an on-the-go breakfast. I don’t have to worry about the whole thing falling apart in my lap while I’m attempting to simultaneously eat, unwrap my husband’s sandwich, and throw napkins to the kids.

I typically choose one of their sundried tomato bagels smeared with red pepper cream cheese, then adorned with egg, bacon, and a few slices of tomato. They also have other meat options like sausage and ham, and they routinely offer unique, seasonal bagel flavors.

Ocean Rolls from Sparrow Bakery….mmmm!

Sparrow Bakery

One of Bend’s most popular breakfast eateries, Sparrow Bakery is legendary for their melt-in-your-mouth ocean rolls. What’s an Ocean Roll? A flaky, buttery pastry a bit like a cinnamon roll, but spiked with cardamom and drizzled with the most mouth-watering glaze you’ll ever taste. I’m not a big fan of sweets for breakfast (or in general) but even I go nuts for Ocean Rolls.

But Sparrow also offers a pretty tasty breakfast sandwich made with poached egg, bakery-smoked bacon, avocado, arugula, and aioli served on a hand-rolled croissant. This one can be a little messy, though my husband occasionally makes it less-so by asking for a bagel instead of the croissant. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this breakfast treat.

Emerald City Smoothie

I was driving to work thinking about this blog post and reflecting on the fact that I hadn’t included any breakfast smoothies in the mix. Suddenly, I spotted Emerald City Smoothies on the north side of Greenwood Avenue. Perfect! A chance to try something new, and a chance to see if I could get over my aversion to non-chewable breakfasts.

As it turns out, I didn’t have to. Not completely, anyway. See, Emerald City Smoothies gives you the option to layer any of their smoothies with granola, which adds the bit of crunch I crave.

I was blown away by the sheer volume of smoothie options here. There are smoothies geared toward weight loss, weight gain, immunity support, energy boosting, and more. Best of all, each smoothie on the menu is labeled with nutritional information to help you make smart choices about protein, fat, and calorie content.

I picked the Marionberry Fuel smoothie, made with marionberry, strawberry, nonfat milk, protein, and energy mix (in case you’re wondering, that’s 380 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 14 grams of protein). I also added the granola, and while it was tasty, I recommend asking them to add only half the regular amount (unless you really, really dig granola).