Hidden gem brunch spots in Bend

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Hidden gem brunch spots in Bend

Google “Bend, Oregon brunch” and you’ll see all the popular faves. Spots like Lemon Tree, Victorian Cafe, Chow, Jackon’s Corner, and McKay Cottage draw big raves and crowds, and for good reason!

But what if you want something off the beaten track? A tasty Bend brunch with a little extra elbow room and less waiting for tables. Finding that takes some legwork, but it was no hardship spending six months scoping out Bend’s best tucked-away brunch spots. Here are some of my faves.

Brunch at the Hideaway Tavern in Bend, OR
Enjoy eggs benedict while catching the game at Hideaway Tavern.

The Hideaway Tavern

If you’re a fan of The Vic (aka The Victorian Cafe, one of Bend’s most popular brunch spots) here’s something you may not know: There’s a sister restaurant called The Hideaway Tavern. Here, you’ll find tastes of The Vic’s renowned culinary flair, but tucked in a sports bar filled with cozy couches and huge TVs.

As the name suggests, this hidden gem on Bend’s southside isn’t one you’ll find unless you’re looking. It’s a locals’ fave outside the main zones of downtown Bend and the Old Mill.

The Hideaway Tavern boasts big screens on every wall showing everything from football to women’s mixed martial arts, but you don’t need to be a sports fan to try their tasty brunch. Their unique lineup of specials changes often and can include everything from huevos rancheros to unique twists on eggs benedict. Regular staples include pub faves like chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy, or get your serving of veggies with a green hornet omelet filled with fresh asparagus, green onions, diced jalapenos, and spinach topped with gruyere cheese and fresh avocado.

Little touches like the homemade applesauce served with the chicken fried steak elevate The Hideaway above most sports bars serving brunch. From gravy to hollandaise, count on finding tons of housemade goodness here.

Prices here are lower than you’ll find at Bend’s most popular brunch stops, and you’ll rarely wait more than a few minutes for a table. Service is quick, too, and with a full bar, you’ll keep the brunch cocktails flowing from halftime to the final whistle blow.

Brunch at the Washington in bend, Oregon.
Don’t miss the mouthwatering breakfast potatoes at Washington.

Washington Dining & Cocktails

Visitors seldom venture to the NW Crossing neighborhood, but it’s worth the drive for a tasty, wait-free brunch at Washington. One of the few spots in town that takes brunch reservations, Washington makes it quick and easy to get in, get seated, and get eating in the time it takes to put your name on a waitlist at some spots.

Run by the same owners as Drake in Downtown Bend, you’ll find a different menu and a vibe that feels more like a neighborhood cafe than a hip hotspot.

The food itself is some of the best around, with their crispy breakfast potatoes taking the big prize. Petite and tender new potatoes get boiled, smooshed, and dried, then flash-fried with lots of fresh herbs. Perfection!

The applewood bacon served as a side or atop their eggs benedict is thick and flavorful and so tasty you’ll want to take home extra. Their creative cocktail menu keeps you juiced up with standard mimosas or fun stuff like the Rose Gardens featuring Nolets gin, cucumber, mint, rose water, lime, and salt.

After your meal, spend time strolling neighborhood shops like Roundabout Books and even Sparrow Bakery to grab a legendary Ocean Roll for later. 

Brunch from Cafe Sintra in downtown Bend, Oregon.
Eggs benedict with an international flair, courtesy of Cafe Sintra.

Cafe Sintra

My father’s the ultimate omelet connoisseur, so when I say he described Cafe Sintra’s Luna omelet as “the best I’ve ever had,” you know it means something. 

Despite its downtown location next to Deschutes Brewery, Cafe Sintra doesn’t draw the huge crowds of some of its counterparts, which blows my mind––their food is divine, particularly for the first meal of the day.

Cafe Sintra pays homage to its Portuguese roots with dishes like linguica and eggs or several unique twists on eggs benedict offering both traditional or spicy hollandaise and served on rustic sourdough bread that stays dense even when drenched in egg yolk and sauce. Paired with Sintra potatoes, it’s a filling and flavorful meal.

But back to my father’s favorite omelet. With the international flair that infuses most of Sintra’s dishes, the Luna comes filled with Italian spicy sausage, mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach, mozzarella cheese, and topped with spicy tomato sauce. Yum!

You’ll find sweeter offerings as well, including a french toast trio that includes two eggs and your choice of italian link sausage, ham, linguica, or bacon. 

Housemade granola comes served with roasted coconut, cranberries, raisins, nuts, and honey for a filling, nutritious breakfast.

Unlike most brunch spots, you order at the counter and then find a table to wait for your meal. Spend that time sipping a scrumptious cocktail, espresso, or their housemade iced tea infused with spices and fruit juice. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a quaint European cafe!

Fix and Repeat

While Fix and Repeat isn’t the sort of brunch spot where you’ll gorge on mimosas and bacon, it delivers joy in other forms with scrumptious superfood smoothies, vegan pastries, and tasty twists on avocado toast.

Order at the counter from a variety of fresh-pressed juices in yummy combinations like Paradise Glow (carrot, orange, pineapple, lemon, turmeric, and ginger) or True Blue (lemon, apple, ginger, coconut water, and blue spirulina).

I know avocado toast gets a weird rap sometimes, but The Millennial served with avocado, garlic, olive oil, chili flake, and sea salt is truly awesome. Maybe it’s the fresh miche bread from Sparrow Bakery or the hearty flakes of sea salt, but it’s worth adding it to your breakfast order.

For heartier fare, try one of their macro bowls like the Banh Mi Bowl made with brown rice, roasted cauliflower, spicy sesame sauce, spinach, sriracha cashew mayo, pickled vegetables, daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro, purple kohlrabi, and avocado. There’s your veggie fix for the week!

If smoothies sound better than cocktails in the morning, here’s your new favorite brunch spot. Try the Boom Shaka Maca made with almond milk, almond butter, maca, maple, vanilla protein, banana, and sea salt for a filling and healthy treat.

But if boozy breakfast drinks call your name, don’t worry––they also offer hard kombucha, sparkling wine, and canned craft beer. Even if you indulge, I promise you’ll leave feeling healthier than when you went in!

Breakfast at Drake in Downtown Bend, Oregon.
The cornmeal waffle with cardamom-spiced date syrup makes a tasty pick at Drake.

Drake

This retro neighborhood cafe sits next door to Lemon Tree, which you may know as one of Bend’s top brunch spots. 

But if the line next door looks a little long, Drake’s scrumptious brunch menu should prompt you to make it way more than your second pick. The ricotta donuts alone should elevate it to the top of your Bend bucket list.

Highlights here include a cornmeal waffle with cardamom-spiced date syrup that’ll leave you swooning and sighing and licking the plate. No judgment.

Shrimp and grits is my personal go-to at Drake, and they serve it up special with a poached egg and lemon-tabasco butter. 

You know how the toast that comes with your breakfast sometimes gets shoved to the side and forgotten? That’s won’t be the case at Drake. They griddle theirs so it’s crisp and smoky and worthy of more than mopping up hollandaise from your dining companion’s eggs benedict (another great pick here, since theirs comes with honey ham, tomato, and arugula atop a tasty English muffin with two poached eggs and fresh hollandaise). 

Wash it all down with a Ristretto Flip (cold brew, rum, amaro, demerara, and whole egg) or The Mimsy—Drake’s spin on a mimosa with champagne and passionfruit. Bottoms up!

Palmer’s Cafe

Longtime Bendites might recall Palmers as a locals’ fave for more than 50 years. They vanished for a while to remodel their hundred-year-old building, but they’re back and better than ever in their longtime Greenwood Avenue home.

Don’t expect frills or fancy table decor, but do expect a darn good breakfast. The highlight may well be their tasty breakfast potatoes which are par-boiled and then flash-fried for the ultimate crispy perfection. 

The Belgian waffle is thick and fluffy and topped with strawberries and whipped cream. If omelets are your jam, you’ll find a wide range here from Mediterranean (sausage, spinach, tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, parmesan cheese, and salsa) to the Sparks Lake Omelet (corned beef hash, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, jack and cheddar cheese).

And while the vibe here is more “cozy locals’ hangout” than “trendy uptown eatery,” that doesn’t mean you’ll miss your cocktail fix. From mimosas to bloody marys to a regular ol’ screwdriver, you’ll find just the thing to quench your thirst and top off your tasty, hearty brunch at Palmers.

Brunch at Roam at the Oxford Hotel
Enjoy yummy brunch and a cool vibe at Roam.

Roam

Once upon a time, The Oxford Hotel had an awesome restaurant on the lower level called 10Below. In the midst of the pandemic, they changed things up, made a whole new restaurant, and moved it to the main level in a space next door.

I’m talking about Roam, and if you haven’t been yet, it’s worth a stop. On a summer day with the windows wide open and the upscale, modern rustic vibe filling your soul, you can fill your belly with some pretty fine fare. Since some folks haven’t noticed it’s there yet, you can usually walk in and get seated without much of a wait.

The lemon poppyseed pancakes with fresh berries, cream cheese frosting, and lemon zest make an especially bright and flavorful treat on a warm summer day. If you’re missing the brioche french toast they used to serve at 10Below, you’ll find Roam’s twist on the dish to be quite tasty.

Another awesome pick is the elk morning hash made with elk sausage, crispy potatoes, bell peppers, caramelized onions, sunny side up eggs, pickled fresno peppers, sour cream, queso fresco, and Big Ed’s toast.

Pair it with a fresh-brewed coffee or a Blood Moon cocktail made with sun ranch vodka, creme de cassis, lillet blanc, earl gray tea, blackberry, coriander, lemon, and soda water for a real treat!

Currents at the Riverhouse or Cafe des Chutes

You don’t need to stay at The Riverhouse hotel to hit their in-house restaurant (though it’s a great spot to sleep off your big brunch).

Currents at the Riverhouse sits right on the bank of the Deschutes, and on sunny days, you can score a spot overlooking the water to enjoy river views with your Denver omelet. 

My favorite brunch fare here is a tossup between the Rooster Cogburn Scramble (chicken apple sausage, two eggs, jalapenos, cheddar cheese, green onions, potatoes, and toast) or the corned beef hash (house corned beef, onions, red and yellow peppers, potato, spinach, poached eggs, horseradish creme, green onion, and toast). Bonus: they both make excellent leftovers so you can enjoy it again for lunch or tomorrow’s brunch!

Fans of sweeter breakfasts will dig options like the Belgian waffle or berry parfait, and their ever-changing cocktail menu guarantees you’ll get something tasty and creative. 

Nancy P’s

While a basic bakery wouldn’t normally make my roundup of Bend’s best brunches, Nancy P’s isn’t a basic bakery.

From quiche to frittatas to savory pastry pockets filled with egg, cheese, and veggies or meats, Nancy P’s offers hearty breakfast fare mixed with all the normal stuff you’d expect from a bakery. Their cinnamon rolls are to die for, and the fresh fruit cobbler bars tickle the taste buds of even those who lack a sweet tooth (raises hand).

My favorite fare here is their bagel and lox featuring wild caught smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, and capers. It’s filling and flavorful and perfect enjoyed on their sunny patio with a cup of chai and tiny birds flitting about.

Their salads are outstanding as well, especially the house salad made with green apples, red onion, hazelnuts, dried cranberries, gorgonzola, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Sit and sip and savor your meal before ordering some cookies or cupcakes to take home.

Pro tip: If Chow is on your brunch bucket list (and it should be–SO GOOD!) but the waitlist is longer than your stomach can bear, save it for next time and stroll across the street to Nancy P’s. You’ll have food on a plate in less time than it took to walk here.

A swoon-worthy bowl from Active Culture.

Active Culture

Ask my kids where they’d like to go for breakfast, lunch, or brunch and I don’t need to wait for an answer. I just get in the car and drive to Active Culture.

This alone doesn’t make it a great brunch spot. Leave that to the outstanding array of acai bowls, salads, breakfast burritos, and more, all of which are flavorful and nutritious.

Much of what you’ll find here is vegan or vegetarian, including the housemade lentil burger patties and raw, organic almond milk made fresh daily.

But let’s talk about the bowls, since that’s what makes us swoon. Few things in life make my taste buds and tummy happier than the Quinoa Lentil Bowl made with organic quinoa, organic lentils, organic garbanzo beans, kale, carrot, cucumber, red onion, tomato, sunflower seeds, lemon vinaigrette, and Slammin’ sauce. 

For my better half who prefers a sweeter treat, the Protein Bowl is his go-to. That’s made with Organic Sambazon Açaí and peanut butter, topped with organic granola, banana, almond slices, cashew pieces, cocoa nibs, coconut flakes, and honey.

You’ll also find smoothies, shakes, sandwiches, breakfast tacos, and some of the tastiest huevos rancheros around (organic corn tortillas, organic black and red beans, organic over-medium eggs, melted cheddar cheese, ranchero sauce, crumbled goat cheese, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, seasoning, served with choice of tortilla chips or organic roasted potatoes).

And just because the food’s healthy doesn’t mean they don’t offer a wide array of wine, beer, and cocktails, including all the usuals like bloody marys and margaritas.

Parking’s a bit limited at this tucked-away treasure on Riverside Boulevard a couple blocks from the river. Bike or walk if you can, but if you can’t, don’t sweat it—it’s seldom tough to find a spot on the street or in their little lot.