Most regular customers of the popular Brooks St. deli have already heard that it's moving lock, soup stock and beer barrel over to its sister operation at the Summit. Owners Matt Gordon and John Simak -- a couple of great guys who deserve our thanks for rescuing the former On The Rocks location and keeping downtown a safe place for non-Cali socialites --are positioning the move as a chance to broaden its customer options (sit down dining, more space, menu options). Unfortunately you can't move the hip soul of the Downtowner into a sports bar/nightclub. The cool parkside urban vibe and Brooks St patio just can't be replicated on Minnesota Ave.
For me the line out the door and the harried pace of the open kitchen, even the scramble for seats have always been part of the allure of the downtowner. East Coasters to the core (did your team really just sign Michael Vick, wtf?) these guys just inherently understood what made a great sandwich shop. And they've done an admirable job with the Summit in a space that has vexed other bar tenants. But they're just two different animals.
Obviously this is a financially motivated move, consolidation is a no-brainer in a shrinking economy. But here's hoping that they can bring back the Downtowner and its unicycle logo as a freestanding biz when things pick up again in Bend.
Meantime, get down to Brooks street for a soup and sandwich before the boys close it up for good on Labor Day, Sept. 7. After that, help the guys get through the recession by making the Summit part of your lunch rotation.