Hip eatery

By David Jasper, The Bulletin

Matt Davis has long considered Marz Bistro his favorite restaurant in Bend.

In April, the 32-year-old caterer came to own what he loves.

And, frankly, there isn’t much to say about Davis’ short tenure, which should be good news to fans of the downtown Bend restaurant. The menu, decor and staff remain the same, including chefs Levi Smith and Jeff Hunt and executive chef Rich Hall.

Also hanging around will be the hip ambience that Davis, who hails from Philadelphia, found so alluring about Marz. “Hip is a good word,” he said. “(Marz) helped bring hip to downtown Bend” when it opened seven years ago.

Goal number one, he said, has been a seamless transition in ownership. There was no work stoppage during the change, and regulars likely would not have noticed a bump as he took over the downtown Bend restaurant.

Part of the sale agreement helped assure they wouldn’t feel a thing. According to Davis, previous owners Jerry Rhodes and Merritt Gandin agreed to stick around for a couple of months to help facilitate the not-so-hostile takeover.

The only perceptible change on the horizon: a switch to being open seven days a week. That’s more good news — a whole day’s worth — to fans of the restaurant.

Davis has been a caterer for 10 years. “That’s my connection with the cooking world,” he said. “But, ironically, I had never really worked in a restaurant until I bought this restaurant.” He hopes to do as much catering as possible via Marz Catering, and the restaurant is also available for private parties.

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Though a lot more restaurants have joined the competition for diners in downtown Bend, Davis said that Marz is a staple with consistent fare.

Appetizers on the menu include the Thai crab and lobster cakes, served with a red curry aioli and cilantro Chimmichurri sauce ($11.95). Cheaper options if you’re saving your bucks for your entree are the grilled artichoke ($7.95) and Asian baby back ribs ($8.95), also available as an entree with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables ($18.95).

There are several popular entrees that, if ever removed from the menu, would cause some diners to boycott the restaurant, Davis said. The list includes the above-mentioned baby back ribs, along with green Thai curry ($12.95) and the Marz Noodle Bowl ($9.95). Diners can add chicken, shrimp, pork or tofu to either dish for an additional $4.

Another popular favorite is the grilled Angus New York strip al giorno, the preparation of which the chef changes daily. Like many of the entrees, it comes with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables ($21.95).

Additionally, Marz offers a full bar, about 20 house specialty drinks and some 65 bottles of wine. On a nightly basis, 12 to 15 wines are featured, meaning they’re poured by the glass.

All in all, like a good glass of wine, “The transition has been smooth, I think, for the public, and certainly for myself,” Davis said. “That was the intent.”

marz bistro

Location: 163 N.W. Minnesota Ave., Bend

Hours: 5:30 p.m. to close Tuesday through Sunday; open seven days beginning in July

Price Range: Entrees $14.95 to $29.95

Alcoholic Beverages: Full bar

Kids’ Menu: No

Reservations: Accepted for parties of six or more

Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover

Contact: 389-2025

David Jasper can be

reached at 383-0349 or djasper@bendbulletin.com .