Down on the Bayou

A Power Lunch at Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails in Bend.

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Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails
919 NW Bond St. Bend, OR 97701

Hours: Lunch 11:30-2:30 Monday through Friday


Owners: Steve and Cheri Helt

Atmosphere: Sit-down table service in downtown Bend with a lounge and a more formal eating area. Decor in both is clean and simple with splashes of midcentury modern. Wait staff in all black. A well-lit corner wine cabinet holds about 250 bottles of Northwest wines. Lunch seating for about 80 people.

Clientele: Downtown business employees from nearby places like G5 as well as City Hall staffers. Hospital workers from across town and passing tourists. Book clubs sometimes meet upstairs in a private wine club called the Loft.

Most popular: Barbecue shrimp appetizer (ask for extra bread to mop up the sauce), Shrimp po’boy and homemade veggie burgers.

Best seat in the house: On warm days, tables line the sidewalk outside. Tables inside by the large windows and by the bar are ideal in the fall. All of the tables and flatbread serving trays were made by local artists.

Menu items for $200, please: “All of our servers take tests on all of the ingredients used in all of our menu items,” says Alia Gahan, general manager. “We are very allergy friendly.” Everything is made from scratch with ingredients that are sourced locally when possible. Pacific Northwest cuisine with Cajun influences.

Daily soup selection, $6;  Mama G’s steak salad, $16; homemade vegetable burger, $9; shrimp étouffée, $13; bonta vegan banana split, $7

Inside scoop: The farmers market unfolds just a few blocks away, and kitchen staff have spent the summer loading up on blackberries, peaches, strawberries and rhubarb that they soak in coconut vinegar for 45 days to make cocktail shrubs. Order the fish on Mondays and Thursdays, when it is flown in fresh from Hawaii.

Overheard: Two male colleagues in shorts and dress shirts trade project ideas. “Dude, it’s really great to bounce this stuff off you,” says one. Three well-dressed women seated outside stop a passerby to inquire about his dog, a large Akita. “Does he like cats?” asks one. Owner: “He likes chasing them.”

Critics’ corner: The best seats are actually on the roof, which is only open for dinner twice a week.

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