Like the golf club at which it is located, Krista's at Widgi Creek flies beneath the radar of many Central Oregonians.
Located 14 miles from downtown Bend on the road toward Mt. Bachelor, it is a lunch stop well worth considering for people traveling Century Drive with hunger pangs. And you don't have to play golf to enjoy it.
Krista's serves a clientele of mainly Widgi Creek Golf Club members and condominium residents. The self-styled “bar and grill” is open from 11 a.m. until just 5 p.m. daily, although closing hours may be extended depending upon patronage during happy hour (3 to 5 p.m.)
Named for Krista Helm, co-owner (with husband Barry Helm) of Widgi Creek, the cafe sits beside an 18-hole, par-72, public golf course noted for its beauty, variety and modest greens fees. The simple menu — one sheet, both sides — lists a handful of appetizers, four salads, gourmet pizzas, a fried-chicken basket and a roster of burgers and other sandwiches.
Dining on the deck
If the weather is pleasant, I recommend sitting outside on Krista's spacious wooden deck. It is within view of the Widgi Creek driving range and overlooks the putting green, shaded by ponderosa pines and frequented by robins that keep the carefully groomed grass free of grubs.
Choose from six large picnic tables on the deck and another half-dozen patio tables. If you like, you can sit right next to the golf course's leaderboard, as the pro shop has a back entrance off the deck.
When we arrived mid-afternoon one day, my dining companion and I decided on sandwiches. She ordered a barbecued chicken sandwich with fries, while I chose a “Widgi burger” with potato salad.
Initially, my friend was disappointed in her meal. The chicken was quite thin, as if the breast had been sliced in half lengthwise. But once she bit into the sandwich, her discontent subsided. Served in a bakery bun dressed with barbecue sauce, covered with melted cheddar, it was garnished with lettuce and red onion. The meat was tender and tasty.
The thick beef patty in my burger had a tasty char-grilled flavor. Cooked medium, it was served on a sesame-seed bun dressed with mayonnaise. At my request, melted cheddar and two thick slices of bacon were added on top.
The burger was garnished with lettuce, two tomato slices, red onion and a few tiny slices of dill pickle. For me, it was a perfect hamburger.
The only mistake in service was that we both were served fries. I would have liked to have tried that potato salad, although I saw no need to send my order back to the kitchen.
Second time around
On my second visit to Krista's, I sat alone at one of a half-dozen bar stools. The same young woman who had so cordially and efficiently served us on the deck was now watching the bar as well. She quickly took my salad order, which was based upon her own recommendation, and delivered it within five minutes even as she tended two other tables.
The inside seating area has a sports-bar flair, with a couple of TVs above the bar tuned to the Golf Channel and to a football game. In addition to the bar stools, there are two four-person booths and a half-dozen tables; a flagstone-fronted fireplace separates this central room from an adjacent special-events space, where groups are easily accommodated.
The Cobb salad was, for the most part, excellent. Made predominantly with chopped romaine lettuce, it included three meats (ham, smoked turkey and chopped bacon), a sliced hard-boiled egg, diced avocado and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. I blended it all with blue-cheese dressing, which I had served on the side.
It would have been a better salad had the ham and turkey been sliced off the roasted bone rather than removed from packages of luncheon meat.
As befits a 19th-hole establishment, Krista's has a full bar, a nice small wine selection, and beers from several local breweries on tap.
The Bendistillery Tasting Room will celebrate its grand opening Sept. 18 with free samples of Crater Lake Vodka, Cascade Mountain Gin and other products. A series of men's and women's cyclocross races, accompanied by music from local DJs and bands, will highlight the activities. Free tours will be offered from noon to 6 p.m. 19330 Pinehurst Road (at U.S. Highway 20 West), Tumalo; 541-350-3120, www.bendistillery.com .
Sully's Italian Restaurant in Redmond has added a new section to its menu: “For the Smaller Appetite.” Diners may now choose from a list of 16 entrees, including soup or salad plus bread, for $9.95. Choices include veal, chicken and eggplant Parmesan; prawns prosciutto; and lasagna. Open 4 to 9 p.m. every day. 314 S.W. Fifth St., Redmond; 541-548-5483.
Cafe Alfresco (B+): Farm-fresh produce is prepared with a variety of pastas, although the kitchen tends to be heavy-handed with seasoning. Service is friendly and efficient; prices are moderate. The renovated two-story house has a lovely secluded garden for al fresco dining. Open 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to close every day. 614 N.W. Cedar Ave., Redmond; 541-923-2599, www.facebook .com/cafealfresco.redmond.
Pine Tavern (B): A dinner with disappointing food and service was followed by a superb salmon-salad lunch on the lovely riverside patio, begging the question: Would the real Pine Tavern please stand up? The restaurant has been a Central Oregon institution since 1936. Brunch 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (summer only); lunch starting at 11:30 a.m. Monday to Saturday; dinner 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. every day. 967 N.W. Brooks St. (at Oregon Avenue), Bend; 541-382-5581, www.pinetavern.com.
Rimrock Cafe (B+): The café at Bend's High Desert Museum may not be gourmet, but the soups, salads and sandwiches served here are fresh, tasty and generous in portion. Seating is indoors and outdoors, with chipmunks always ready to beg for a patio meal. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. 59800 S. Highway 97, Bend; 541-382-4754, www.highdesertmuseum.org.
The Spice Box (A-): This new family-friendly café is operated by three women of East Indian heritage who serve “the same things we have on our Sunday dinner table.” There's no buffet table here; the short menu features mild vegetarian curries as well as chicken dishes and, occasionally, lamb. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday. 133 S.W. Century Drive, Suite 204, Bend; 541-419-2542.