Rating Mother’s Downtown Kitchen

Food: () Healthy, diet-conscious menu ranges from vegetable-juice smoothies to chicken and salmon dinners.

Service: () Counter orders on weekdays, full table service during dinners and weekend brunches.

Atmosphere: () Simple but functional, with varnished wood tables and a full wall of windows.

More Info

Location: 10 NW Minnesota Ave., Bend

Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Cuisine: Vegetarian and health-conscious

Price range: Breakfast $8 to $11, lunch and weekend brunch $9 to $14, dinner $13 to $17

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: Half a dozen options priced at $6

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Extensive range of choices for all dietary preferences

Alcoholic beverages: Full bar

Outdoor seating: Sidewalk seating

Reservations: Suggested for brunch and dinner

Contact: mothersjuicecafe.com, 541-382-1870

Other locations: 1255 NW Galveston Ave., Bend (541-318-0989), open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 62090 Dean Swift Road (at U.S. Highway 20 East), Bend (541-647-6880), open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Mother’s is a progressive business. Each of its new outlets takes the best of its predecessor and makes it even better.

The original west-side shop, on Galveston Avenue, is Mother’s Juice Café. When owner Michael Sackin added an east-side restaurant with a bowls-and-wraps menu in the summer of 2012, he called it Mother’s Café, thus emphasizing that he sold more than just healthy fruit drinks and smoothies.

His new store is Mother’s Downtown Kitchen. While the Kitchen continues Mother’s reputation for fruit and vegetable juices and unique food combinations (think Lean Green Chia Pudding, $8), it has gone several steps further, serving dinners and weekend brunches along with everyday breakfast and lunch.

Its central location at The Oxford Hotel — it began welcoming patrons in mid-February to a street-level cafe — already attracts attention from out-of-towners who may not have seen the previous Mother’s outlets, better known to Bend locals.

The ambiance is simple but functional, a full wall of windows making it highly visible to foot traffic on Minnesota Avenue. Varnished wood tables, standing atop concrete floors amid white walls, are attended by servers who may take counter orders at midday, but who are friendly and professional evenings and weekend mornings when full table service is offered.

The menu ranges across a variety of salads, sweet and savory bowls, sandwiches and wraps. You’ll still find such favorites as the Bohemian Wrapsody (curried coconut hummus, roasted veggies, cilantro-mint pesto and house greens, $9) and the Mother Clucker (chicken, smoked gouda and other veggies on toasted rosemary sourdough bread, $10).

But the menu has expanded to include many new dishes, including fresh seafood: It now features an ahi tuna poke bowl ($14) and a grilled wild salmon entree ($19) with coconut cilantro rice and baby bok choy.

Lunchtime

Together with my dining companion, I’ve visited the new Mother’s three times for meals in recent weeks. Not everything was perfectly to our taste, but overall we were very pleased with the fare and service.

At lunch, I started with a cup of the soup of the day ($4) — a Thai-style “tom kha gai” with chicken-breast meat and coconut milk. Simmered with ginger and mushrooms, it was delicious, even though I considered it overloaded with onions.

My friend had an avocado Caesar salad ($10) of romaine lettuce, tossed with curly kale, in a dressing made with creamy avocado. Topped with capers, roasted chickpeas and shredded Parmesan cheese, it was offered as a vegan dish, although my companion chose to top it with chicken, coarsely chopped.

I had a burger, or as it’s called here, a Burger She Wrote ($12.50). The variation changes “du jour.” I asked if it could be served wrapped in lettuce rather than in a bun, and I was assured it could be.

I was presented with a turkey burger topped with Swiss cheese, a too-thick slice of red onion, and a delicious pineapple chutney that featured tiny yellow grapes, much like golden raisins. But I was less than thrilled that it was presented in a very large hamburger bun despite my request. It also came with a side of slaw with sweet chili sauce and a unique pasta salad of chopped egg noodles with crushed pistachios in what tasted like a peanut-and-ginger sauce. It wasn’t my favorite.

Dinner and brunch

Dinner was more satisfying than lunch, beginning with our shared starter: a do-it-yourself lettuce cup ($10), with all the ingredients required to stuff leaves of butter lettuce. Pan-seared tofu, mushrooms and cashews were offered with chopped cucumber, shredded carrot and a dry slaw of red and white cabbage. An excellent tamari-based brown sauce, not unlike a savory Chinese hoisin sauce, provided moisture and extra flavor.

My companion loved her spaghetti squash casserole ($13), the pithy heart of the gourd scraped into noodlelike form. It was baked with caramelized onions, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms and chevre cheese, then finished with romesco, a classic Spanish sauce of tomatoes, red peppers and almonds. She couldn’t have enjoyed it more even if she were vegetarian.

My roasted chicken entree ($17) was outstanding. Seasoned with an herb-and-mustard rub and finished with a generous sprinkle of thyme, it was served with spinach and feta cheese on a cake of creamy polenta. The flavor of grilled Meyer lemon stood out in a white sauce ladled over all.

We returned on a Sunday for brunch, which basically meant gourmet breakfasts. My savory Wall Street Waffles ($10) were made with sweet potatoes in a mix with spring onions, cheddar and bacon (nitrate-free, according to the menu), baked and served with sour cream and syrup. I requested my two squares be topped with a fried egg, over easy. The meal was rich, but the portion was perfect.

My friend went with Perfectly Poached ($12), two organic eggs served upon a bed of sweet potato-and-kale hash. Perhaps a vegetarian version of corned-beef hash, it featured caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and sliced avocado, with a side serving of a delicious pesto sauce.

It’s not only the diet-conscious who will be delighted by the new Mother’s Downtown Kitchen. There truly is something for everyone here.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at janderson@bendbulletin.com.

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