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Hit the Ground Running: Food and service have made 10 Barrel the new hot spot 

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Since opening just last month, 10 Barrel is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best brewpubs in Bend, which, considering Bend's tough competition, says a lot. With heavyweights like Deschutes Brewery, Cascade Lakes, and BBC leading the pack, 10 Barrel has managed to quickly gain a solid footing. With increasing foot traffic as the weather improves, eateries and pubs are quickly turning Galveston into the destination spot every Westsider always knew it was.

On my first visit, my friend and I dined on what can best be described as a little bit of everything. We shared Steamed Manila Clams ($9), Small Caesar ($4), Steak Sando ($9), Pesto Chicken Prosciutto Pizza ($12). The clams were steamed and bathed in a sauce of American Wheat ale with scallions, while the Caesar salad was one of the best we've had in Bend with rich, garlicky dressing and fresh romaine. As for the Steak Sando, this huge sandwich came on DiLusso's "mammoth" sourdough, and that's not to mention the marinated steak, peppers, onions and fontina. The highlight of the already great meal was the pizza, which was the right thinness (doughy and crispy at the same time), and had proper portions of dried tomato, prosciutto, chicken, ricotta and cheese. The only complaint about our first visit was that our pizza came out first after a long delay, followed by our appetizers and sandwich. Confused but hungry, we gobbled down the food as it arrived.

On my next visit, we ordered the same pizza, the Smoked Salmon Antipasto, the Spinach Salad, and the Mac 'N Cheese. The food was served promptly and presented beautifully. The Antipasto, replete with salmon, salami, provolone, olives, artichokes, and two dipping sauces, was an excellent way to start the meal. The Mac 'N Cheese noodles were al dente, and the five-cheese blend had a complex sharpness to it. The dish was served in a small cast iron skillet and topped with green onions.

Seating 130 people between the main dining room, the bar area, and the outdoor patio, 10 Barrel has the energy and excitement expected at a brewpub although sometimes, the noise becomes overwhelming. If you're looking for a high-energy spot, 10 Barrel won't disappoint, but for drinkers/diners who prefer a quieter, more laid back atmosphere, I'd advise stopping in before the dinner rush. As long as the staff isn't overwhelmed, the food and drinks are great; the service is friendly, and the atmosphere lively. It's no wonder why 10 Barrel is the newest hot spot in Bend, and why some are willing to wait up to an hour for a table. Owners Chris Cox and Garrett Wales are a constant, positive presence throughout the day while Chef Mike Moor is very enthusiastic about the menu. On three subsequent visits, 10 Barrel was packed with standing room only in the bar and a waitlist at the front door.

I would be remiss not to mention the vast selection of house-made brews. The O'Riley's IRA had a nice dark, amber color and was easy on the hops, according to my friend. I opted for the Belgian Blonde. With a slightly citrusy nose and clean taste, I was pleased with the choice. The Apocalypse IPA and Sinister Black Ale are two other popular varieties for those who prefer more full-bodied beers. The downside is that there's no on-site brewing operation on site, as was once envisioned. Instead, 10 Barrel's brewery is located in Bend's north side business park with freshly brewed ales trucked over to the Westside regularly.

Worth the wait? For me, the answer is yes. 10 Barrel, like the buds of spring, represents the sort of incessant creative energy that thrives on the Westside. Are we really going to complain that a restaurant in Bend is too busy? I think not. So add your name to the waitlist, grab a beer and relax on the patio until your name is called. With delicious pub food, generous portions, top quality house-made brews, and a sun-soaked patio, what more could we ask for? 10 Barrel, welcome to the neighborhood!

10 Barrel Brewing Company Pub

1135 Galveston

Sunday-Thursday 11am-11pm; Friday-Saturday 11am-12pm. (541) 647-4019

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