Planker Sandwiches

Food:() Solid menu of tasty, hearty sandwiches and salads makes this a midday favorite

Service:() A friendly, efficient young staff takes counter orders and delivers them to tables

Atmosphere:() Neat, clean cafe has about 20 seats with large window views onto Wall Street

More Info

Location: 824 NW Wall St., Bend

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day

Cuisine: Sandwiches and salads

Price range: Breakfast $5.50 to $9, paninis $6 to $8, sandwiches and burgers $9 to $10, salads $8 to $10.50, soups $4 and $6

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: Peanut butter-honey and Nutella-apple paninis, both $5

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Best choice is the vegan panini with chick peas

Alcoholic beverages: Local craft beers

Outdoor seating: Sidewalk tables

Reservations: No

Contact: plankersandwiches.com, 541-317-5717

For more area restaurant reviews, visit www.bend bulletin.com/restaurants

The Planker is a breakfast sandwich. And oh, what a sandwich it is.

Stacked between halves of a toasted Kaiser roll, not one but two medium-fried eggs squeeze in with slices of bacon and ham, tomato and avocado, and melted white cheddar cheese. It’s the sort of sandwich that an outdoors enthusiast might crave before hitting the trail or the river or the mountain slopes in winter.

And that’s not by accident.

When Joe and Karin Devenchenzi, decades-long veterans of big-city corporate restaurants, established Planker Sandwiches half a dozen years ago, they made it clear that they were “just two old skiers, opening a place in Bend.”

“We’re just a couple of ‘plankers,’” Joe said.

Fast forward to 2017: They did it right. The menu is short and simple at the Devenchenzis’ downtown Bend sandwich shop, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. But it offers solid lunch fare, including burgers, cold and hot sandwiches, paninis and salads, along with a trio of breakfast options.

There are also soups (a house-made tomato-and-basil option) and sweets (chocolate-chip cookies).

And youngsters wear big smiles when they bite into paninis filled with peanut butter and honey or chocolaty Nutella with Granny Smith apple slices.

Come for lunch

There are two ways to be served at Plankers: Order at the counter, or phone in your order ahead of time. It will be waiting upon your arrival.

An enthusiastic young staff oversees the counter and the food prep space behind. Large blackboards display the cafe’s fare, which is also printed on takeaway menus.

For those dining in, small tables seat up to 20 patrons with a large window view to Wall Street, between Franklin and Minnesota avenues. Orders are delivered to the tables.

On the midday occasion when I enjoyed my Planker breakfast sandwich, my dining companion focused on a lunchtime salad. Her “chicken salad Cobb” (also available as a cold sandwich) featured an ample portion of chopped chicken, blended in tarragon mayonnaise with chopped toasted walnuts and Granny Smith apples. Tossed with a selection of leaf lettuce and other greens, it included chopped tomato, avocado, bacon and Gorgonzola cheese.

On another visit, a friend and I shared two very different lunches — a vegan panini and a warm pulled-pork sandwich.

The panini was made not with hummus, which I felt would have improved it, but with mashed whole chickpeas. These were blended with roasted red bell peppers and chopped Kalamata olives, along with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette.

I preferred the pork. Slow-braised pork shoulder, generously stacked on a toasted Kaiser roll dressed with whole-grain mustard, included a layer of apple chutney that kept it moist. Melted Gruyère cheese finished this delicious meal.

Past favorites

On past visits, two of my favorite sandwiches were the tuna club and the meatball Parm.

The tuna club offered a thick layer of line-caught Northwest albacore served on a toasted Kaiser roll.

It was topped with thick-sliced, smoky bacon and half an avocado, also sliced, as well as green leaf lettuce and a wedge of heirloom tomato.

The meatball Parm was made with moist, savory meatballs, a blend of beef and pork with herbs and spices.

A crushed tomato sauce, made in-house, was savory and delicious. Served on toasted sourdough bread, the meatballs were finished with mozzarella, as well as Parmesan cheeses.

Like all sandwiches, these were served with a portion of crispy Kettle Chips.

The drink menu includes coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks, kombucha and local beers on draft. There is a selection of gourmet sodas from the Dry Soda Company, Virgil’s Soda and Crater Lake.

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

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