I'm a born and raised Bendite. The holidays always felt a little extra magical in this then-rugged mountain town as a child. As tourists and transplants have poured in over the years, many would argue it's lost its small-town charm. Still, a few of my favorite gems have stuck around to continue to bring that magical holiday coziness I associate with my childhood. The holidays are full of family, friends, and festivities and have always revolved around food in my house. I'm often torn between cooking and going out. One thing always rings true in my heart, though: no matter what the choice, I want my money to stay in this community to support local families and businesses during the holiday season. These are a few of the long-standing local businesses that I hold near and dear to my heart that you can get all of your holiday shopping done at, whether you're entertaining, gifting, or eating out!
Central Oregon Locavore
As an avid home cook and BBQ'er, I've always had a passion for buying local food. It's fresh, tastes better, and puts money back in the pockets of the local farmers and ranchers in the area. Farmers and ranchers brave the high desert elements to create a more sustainable future for all of us. Central Oregon Locavore has been serving Central Oregon since its founding by Nicolle Timm in 2009. As one of my former employers, Locavore taught me the importance of eating and harvesting seasonally. They're essentially an indoor farmers market that hosts two coolers of local produce, a wall of freezers stocked with local a wide variety of meat, local honey, local milk, bulk items, and also a selection of local artisans and makers. This spot is an excellent one-stop shop for all your Christmas dinner cooking supplies and those last-minute stocking stuffers for the stragglers left on your Christmas list.
Bend Savory Spice Shop
You just bought a beautiful roast at Locavore, but you have no idea how to season it? Not to worry! Matt Perry, the owner at Savory Spice Shop in Bend's Old Mill District, has been slinging spices since 2012 and has a wealth of knowledge in many different cooking styles. I'm constantly in the shop picking his brain on the latest and most significant things he's whipping up in his home kitchen, and I fully credit him for inspiring my Thanksgiving turkey this year. Savory carries traditional spice blends from worldwide and holiday favorites like Peppermint Vanilla Bean Sugar, Pumpkin Pie Spice, and a wonderful mix of Mulling Spices. Want the holiday smell in your home but don't have time to pull out your baking pans? I always have a little cast iron simmering with mulling spices and orange peels while I'm home. Savory also has a selection of gift packs, sauces, and other easy stocking stuffers for the aspiring cooks in your life.
When I was a kiddo, my family would always spend Christmas Eve with one or two other families in our circle, sitting around the giant pine tree trunks that grace the aptly-named Pine Tavern's dining room. The Pine Tavern is one of Bend's oldest restaurants, boasting 85 years of serving our community. I highly recommend slathering one of their appetizer rolls with honey butter before dinner or swinging through on a weekday to grab a quick bite off of their extensive happy hour menu. Their food is classic, flavorful, and sure to please even the pickiest eaters in your crew, making it one of my top recommendations for any time of the year.
Ah, the D. The D&D. DnD. The Dirty D. We love you, no matter what your name, and there's a reason this bar boasts being the oldest in Bend. It describes itself as a "no fills establishment," and for a good reason. Stiff drinks, good food, heavy pours, and reasonable prices make this a must over the holiday season. Are the cousins feeling a little rowdy after dinner? Take them to the D. The family needs a brunch spot that won't break the bank? Take them to the D. Need an excuse to get away from that one weird uncle that won't stop talking about his latest trip to Indonesia? Meet your friends for a drink at the D. The D is a phenomenal one-size-fits-all bar that offers consistency year after year.
Written by Ariel Rose
Ariel Rose, a.k.a. The BBQueer, was born and raised in Bend, OR. She has always had a passion for food, mainly focusing on local and sustainable options. Although she can eat and cook just about anything under the sun. She was raised a vegetarian and loved to explore her plant-based roots, especially on the grill. Catch her experimenting on her Traeger, hanging out at local food trucks, sipping local brews, traveling, hiking, writing poetry, paddleboarding, bouldering, and, well, you get the idea.