SILVER MOON BREWING
Food: () Limited menu, but food is local, fresh and good, even with an overcooked burger
Service: () Well-staffed, prompt and friendly, with only one glitch in two visits
Atmosphere: () Summer-long renovation added space but kept locals-friendly vibe
Location: 24 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
Cuisine: American pub food
Price range: Starters $6 to $10, salads $10 to $12, burgers and sandwiches $12 to $15
Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Kids’ menu: Three choices $7 to $13
Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Veggie burgers, tacos with beans, mac ‘n’ cheese, salads
Alcoholic beverages: Beer and cider
Outdoor seating: No
Contact: silvermoonbrewing.com, 541-388-8331
For more area restaurant reviews, visit bendbulletin.com/restaurants
As long as the food is good, nothing will stop me from returning to a brewpub that offers excellent service and a fun atmosphere. That’s what keeps me coming back to Silver Moon Brewing.
No, it’s not the beers, although they make a difference, too. Bulletin beer columnist Jon Abernathy assures me the beers are better than ever.
The third-oldest of Bend’s two-dozen-plus breweries (it started business in 2000), Silver Moon reopened in early October after a summer-long renovation. The update maintained the pub’s backstreet atmosphere while giving the room and its rustic wood furnishings a more orderly appearance.
In fact, the redo increased Silver Moon’s capacity by 50 percent, to 178 guests. The ceiling was raised; new wood tables and benches were installed; local artwork was hung, and the beautiful mural behind the band stage was touched up. Several televisions were placed around the pub for sports watchers, and the bar got a new set of 16 handmade tap handles. Contemporary rock music plays in the background.
Parking remains around back, in a lot off Kearney Avenue just west of the parkway. That makes the entrances to Silver Moon a little obscure, with a side door — in an alleyway near a projected summer patio/beer garden area — getting more use than the original front door facing Greenwood Avenue.
These changes have led to service changes, specifically in the hiring of more than twice the staff of last year. Silver Moon offers table service at all times: There are no more bar orders, unless that’s where you’re sitting.
On each of my two most recent visits, I was warmly greeted within moments after I seated myself at a table in the spacious room. My servers made light conversation easy as they took my beer order, pointing to a lengthy chalkboard list, and returned with a broadsheet menu.
Service was a little slow on the first of those visits, and I still didn’t have a napkin by the time my food arrived. But by the time I was halfway through my second meal, I not only knew my server’s name; I knew the recent story of her life. The staff is that friendly.
The Silver Moon menu isn’t an extensive one. It’s one side of one page, and it’s been cut back since the relaunch, with pizza and a couple of more elaborate salads among the fatalities.
But it still has burgers and sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts offered, as well as finger food and a three-item kids’ menu.
I began one meal with a cup of the soup du jour selection ($5), a peppery Southwestern-style vegetable brew with red beans and corn, tomatoes, carrots and spring onions. It clearly had come right out of the pot.
I followed with a Shroom Swiss Burger ($14), made with one-third pound of lean ground beef from Alfalfa’s Borlen Cattle Company. Although the meat was cooked medium well, more than I would have liked, the thick patty remained juicy.
It was served on a toasted bun spread with mayonnaise, and topped with sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese — as well as leafy romaine lettuce, sliced Roma tomatoes, and pickled onions and zucchini, the latter dry and crispy.
Tacos and mac
On another visit, my dining companion and I shared a garden salad ($10) that was at least three times the size of a typical side salad. A fresh mix of leaf and romaine lettuces with plum tomatoes, red onions and thick-sliced cucumbers, sprinkled with marbled-rye croutons, it was served with a side cup of dressing; we chose a house-made honey mustard, at once sweet and spicy.
My companion was drawn to a trio of street-style tacos ($14), filled with pork carnitas, sauteed onions and peppers, and a house slaw. Wrapped in corn tortillas, they were topped with Mexican cheese and a creamy cilantro lime sauce. My friend said they were the best she’s had in Bend at a restaurant that was not Mexican.
In the mood for comfort food, I opted for the Brewers mac ‘n’ cheese ($10). Spiral cavatappi noodles were baked with savory cheeses and pulled pork, and topped with panko crumbs. A baked-in sprinkling of Mama Lil’s spicy peppers gave it a sneak-up-and-bite-you kick.
Then again, what’s better than a beer to take the edge off that spicy surprise?
— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.