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Fire it Up 

How can you go wrong with pizza? You can't.

To demonstrate our infinite love for our favorite food, we would like to start this restaurant review with a haiku:

Cheese, sauce, bread, toppings

The combination can't fail

Pizza forever

According to the National Association of Pizza Operators there are 3 billion pizzas sold in the United States each year; with good reason. Pizza is a deliciously versatile dish. Whether it's a dressed down grease bomb with a PBR tallboy or dressed up with gourmet toppings and a glass of merlot, pizza is the pinnacle of food inventions.

Fire in Bend, the new wood-fired pizza joint in the heart of downtown, falls on the fancier end of the wide-ranging pizza spectrum.

A classy-but-casual, sit-down establishment, Fire is not a by-the-slice, grab-and-go joint. It's got more of a Southern California wine bar feel, with exposed, slightly distressed ceiling beams, black and white photography and simple decor. A glowing fire, both aesthetically pleasing and functional, roared from behind the full bar. Despite feeling a bit sterile, the remodel of the former yogurt shop is nice, and the best feature—the floor to ceiling windows, ideal for downtown people watching—make Fire a desirable place to take a load off for a casual-paced dinner.

But enough about ambiance: Let's get to what's really important here. Pizza. The pies, were sized for sharing, around the size of a shoebox lid and served on a cutting board. They were priced moderately enough ($10-$14) to be individual orders—with a little to take home for later. Bonus: You can order whatever you want. None of that half-and-half business.

As pizza purists, we found the shape of the pizzas—oval rather than round with square slices—blasphemous. The shape flies in the face of the sacred geometry of pizza. That said, the smaller-sized slices lend themselves to more graceful eating (great for first dates), no folding or forks required. But beware, the soot-dusted crust bottoms—a natural side effect of wood-fired pizza.

We started our meal with a cold beet salad, overflowing with crisp and slightly spicy mixed greens, large medallions of red and gold beets, goat cheese, hazelnuts and a citrus vinaigrette. Also generously portioned and suitable for sharing, the salad was light and earthy without tasting like dirt (as beets so often do).

We also tried the dough bites—a sort of cross between a breadstick and a donut hole—which were lightly seasoned with a pleasing texture, crispy outside and chewy inside.

When it came to the main event, we had a hard time choosing from a variety of tempting options. The menu includes the basics—pepperoni, cheese, and Margherita—along with some fancier options, Mediterranean, Thai and weirdly, "Funghi," which is not the word we would have chosen to describe an otherwise delicious sounding mushroom pizza.

We were intrigued by the Yukon Gold Potato, featuring its namesake, chives, parmesan, bacon and mozzarella on a house-made cheese sauce. But ultimately, we went with the Summer Pear, a seasonally appropriate pie with sliced pear, gorgonzola, honey reduction, RPM IPA, mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil.

The sweetness of the honey complemented the slightly crunchy pears, and the gorgonzola and hints of rosemary lent a warm and savory flavor. While we're often tempted to simply shove slices of pizza into our face hole, Fire in Bend's complex concoction begged a more relaxed relishing. Overall, the meal was about as light and refreshing as pizza can be.

Fire in Bend

744 NW Bond St.

Open daily 11:30 am-10 pm

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