Worthy Brewing plans a second pub location in the spring in downtown Bend.
Brewery owner Roger Worthington said the new pub, to be located at 806 NW Brooks St., will have a simple theme: tacos and beer.
“The plan is really simple: Provide tacos and chips and seven or eight salsas and queso and beer,” he said Tuesday.
The west side pub will be much smaller than the 4-year-old Worthy Brewing brewpub on NE Bellevue Drive, near the U.S. Highway 20 and SE 27th Street intersection. The space on Brooks Street, in a building Worthington owns, formerly held Mazza Bistro, a Mediterranean-style restaurant.
Worthington said his executive chef, Dirk Baxter, dove into Tex-Mex cuisine for a week at restaurants in Austin, Texas, in order to come up with his own version of street tacos.
“They were very gracious with us, sharing their recipes,” Worthington said. “I am confident we’ll be able to deliver authentic Tex-Mex cuisine.”
Baxter said Austin restaurants use a different cut of meat, prepared differently than most restaurants in Bend prepare tacos.
“I don’t want to give away too much, but we’ll use chicken thighs instead of breasts, and inside skirt steak,” he said Tuesday. “It makes a huge difference in the texture of the meat you’re eating.”
The kitchen will source its ingredients locally, he said. He said the new location will have about eight taps and a salsa bar and will employ about eight people and a manager. Baxter visited a dozen restaurants in Austin, gathering up basic knowledge to which he added his own spin, he said.
“We ate a lot of food in a lot of the restaurants and used that as a starting point,” Baxter said. “Right now, it’s about authenticity.”
Kirsti Wolfe Designs, of Bend, worked on the pub layout, Worthington said, and Edward J. Happel Construction is renovating the 900-square-foot space. The project has yet to obtain a city building permit.
The spot on Brooks Street where Worthy west will locate is also close to downtown and the Riverfront Plaza, where business owners have complained about people loitering and panhandling, sometimes aggressively. The Bend City Council in September clarified a law that makes obstructing a sidewalk or the breezeway between Wall Street and the plaza illegal.
The city also recently approved about $80,000 for security improvements, including $30,000 on a camera system to monitor the area that includes Brooks Street, about $25,000 for a security guard to make foot patrols on a random basis for the next year, $10,000 on a power-washer to help keep downtown streets clean and another $10,000 on a public campaign to encourage residents and visitors to support local agencies such as Bethlehem Inn and local food banks, said Rod Porsche, executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association.
“We’re excited about more active businesses open for longer hours,” Porsche said. “We want Brooks Street to feel like a walking path, a place where people feel comfortable spending some time. The more active the businesses are, with outside dining, for example, makes a huge impact on that area.”
Worthington said he expects to place four or five tables outside the Brooks Street location, which has an indoor capacity of 36 and room for another eight to 10 at the bar.
“It’s a tiny, cozy little niche, and we don’t want to overdo it,” he said. “It’s an elegantly simple menu — tacos and chips. It’s gonna be fun.”
In conjunction with opening a second Worthy location, the brewery also plans on redesigning part of the outdoor area at the original, east-side location into an amphitheater for live music performances, Worthington said.
“I love music and musicians and want to be supportive of live music,” he said. “We have the space and the resources to build something beautiful.”
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