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Keeping It Casual 

Industry Roundup: Lola's and NWX Bar and Grill.

As reported recently the much-loved Downtowner restaurant picked up stakes and moved down the street, shacking up with its sibling establishment the Summit Stage and Saloon. Now comes word that the Downtowner's former home in the breezeway has a new tenant. Lola's (In The Breezeway) opened late last month after taking over the lease and equipment from the Downtowner. Owner Amy Levinger has added a full bar with beer, wine and cocktails and hours that stretch until 11 p.m. on most nights to accommodate hospitality workers and other folks who operate on a more European dining schedule.
A Philadelphia native, Levinger graduated from Western Culinary Institute in Portland and worked several restaurant industry jobs before moving to Bend for the lifestyle. When the Downtowner space opened Levinger jumped on the opportunity to open what she describes as restaurant based on a menu of affordable Americana inspired comfort food. (There are no less than four macaroni and cheese preparations, including a Mac and Cheese for kids who are welcome until 9 p.m.) Like the Downtowner gang previously, Levinger draws on her East Coast lineage for the menu, which was co-written by former Cork head chef and owner, Greg Unruh. Levinger recommends the Philly Cheese steak that in true Brotherly Love style comes served with Cheese Whiz and thin strips of seasoned beef on a soft hoagie bun with onions and peppers. With a limited menu and nothing over $10 available, Lola's has put together a nice lunch and casual dinner recipe.

The breezeway isn't the only place where the dining scene is getting a shake-up. Out in Northwest Crossing, another casual dining and drinks establishment, NWX Bar and Grill, has supplanted the Aloha Café.

The restaurant is touting handmade soups and hand-pressed burgers served with eight different draft beers and a full bar.

Chef Chrisalis Stoddard, a veteran of Bella Cucina, is at the helm of this new venture that will offer the growing number of workers and residents in Northwest Crossing a new place to grab a burger, beer and a game on one of the establishment's two big screen televisions.

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