Baldy’s Barbeque

Food: () A meat lovers’ delight, smoky barbecue slathered in spicy sauces.

Service: () Enthusiastic and efficient, but training is continuing.

Atmosphere: () Impressive renovation of a dilapidated 1942 restaurant building.

More Info

Location: 343 NW Sixth St., Redmond

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Cuisine: Barbecue

Price range: Starters $5 to $9.50, sandwiches $10.50 to $14, entrees $11 to $24; weekend breakfast $7.50 to $12.50

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: Yes

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Fried okra, make-your-own mac and a spicy black-bean burger

Alcoholic beverages: Full bar

Outdoor seating: Patio with fire pits under development

Reservations: Large parties only

Contact: baldysbbq.com; 541-923-2271 For more area restaurant reviews, visit bendbulletin.com/restaurants.

It took a little longer than planned for Brian and Paige Dioguardi to open their new Redmond restaurant.

Indeed, by the time Baldy’s Barbeque opened March 19 on NW Sixth Street at Dogwood Avenue, 51 weeks had passed since the restaurant had closed its original Redmond eatery in the Fred Meyer mall. That’s a long time with no business.

“I felt like we were putting lipstick on a pig,” Brian Dioguardi said, referring to his lengthy restoration of the dilapidated former Fireside Bar & Grill.

Built in 1942, the Fireside had been an old Redmond institution before it closed permanently in 2012. It stood vacant until the Dioguardis bought it and began making plans for a barbecue restaurant worthy of their Bend establishments on Century Drive (founded in 2005) and in the Forum Shopping Center on 27th Street (opened in 2011).

“Redmond is a diamond in the rough,” Brian Dioguardi said. He noted that business at his first Redmond store, which he opened at the start of 2012, didn’t begin to boom until late 2014.

“It was kind of a tricky location,” he said. “But driving around, and thinking about Redmond growing, I found the old Fireside. The flagstone facade, on Rosewood (Avenue), screamed barbecue!”

Building backwards

Construction started in September 2016, but came to “a screeching halt,” Brian Dioguardi said, when substantial amounts of asbestos and lead were discovered. Not until the following January was it safe to work. Then, “everything had to go,” he said. “We kept the five load-bearing walls and the roof. We kept the bones and built it backwards.”

Two small windows at the front of the building had allowed the Fireside’s only natural light, so the windowless south side of the building was opened up. Garage doors, large windows and skylights were installed. They greet patrons to a patio with fire pits and a lawn that welcomes corn-hole players.

The Dioguardis determined that the original building had been added onto five times. Beneath the flooring, they found a sidewalk and irrigation ditches 60 to 80 feet deep. They replaced 1/16-inch pipe that had been in place for 75 years. They installed a kitchen where the bar had been.

“People were coming in on a daily basis and telling me stories,” Brian said. “I felt the ghosts.”

But that pig with the new lipstick? “She’s flying now, for sure.”

Meat lovers’ delight

Baldy’s menu selection is a treasure trove for meat lovers. The newly reborn restaurant on the north side of downtown Redmond — with its giant “YUM” sign brightly lit between two TVs at the rear of the dining room — has quickly become a go-to destination for residents of north Deschutes County.

I’m a huge fan of the baby back ribs, fall-off-the-bone pork that is hand-rubbed with a house spice blend, slowly smoked and slathered in Baldy’s original sauce or in the tongue-tingling “cat’s meow.”

As an entree, it comes with a choice of numerous sides. The peppery coleslaw has found that particular balance between sweet and tart that too many restaurants miss. The baked beans are made with just the right amount of molasses and smoky pork belly. Honey-sweetened corn pudding has real kernels of corn, while au gratin potatoes (one of five possible selections of spuds) are rich with cheese. The honey-jalapeño cornbread is another excellent choice of side dish.

By ordering two entrees, my dining companion and I were able to sample all of these sides. She chose a combo plate of beef brisket and grilled hot links, and both meat options were superb. The brisket was smoked and sliced, the sausage thick and juicy.

Lunch choices

At a subsequent lunch visit, we sat near the main entrance at a comfortable bar, once the Fireside’s dimly lit pool room. My friend enjoyed a Que-Ban, Baldy’s version of a classic Cuban sandwich. Smoked ham, pulled pork and Swiss cheese were topped with fried pickles and house-made horseradish mustard, and served on a French roll.

I dined on a pair of starters, fried okra and chili. The okra, a favorite Southern vegetable not often seen in the Northwest, was chopped, breaded, fried and served with ranch dressing. The “spicy smokehouse chili” was a heartier choice, a blend of meat, beans, topped with diced onions and shredded cheddar, served with sour cream and a slice of cornbread. I did not go hungry.

There’s more to eat here than pork and brisket. The menu also includes chicken, turkey and rib-eye steak, along with fried catfish, grilled salmon and jumbo shrimp. You can get breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings, including a Baldy’s Signature skillet with pork chili verde.

Baldy’s west-side Bend restaurant has recently reopened after a two-week renovation closure during Century Drive roadwork. And both Bend restaurants are about to launch Uber home-delivery service within the city, Brian Dioguardi said.

Service continues to be a concern for the owner. I find the Redmond staff to be enthusiastic and efficient, but Dioguardi acknowledged some occasional confusion with orders. “I try to empower all my servers to handle any problems right at the table,” he said.

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

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