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Quick Bites: Riverside Market Dinners 

Soup and samboe at RiversideA town like Bend that has nearly quadrupled in size in the past two decades is home to a multitude of

Soup and samboe at RiversideA town like Bend that has nearly quadrupled in size in the past two decades is home to a multitude of recent transplants whose ties to the community are tenuous and whose families and lifelong friends are hundreds of miles away.

For the most part, the sea of friendly, if not entirely familiar, faces that crowd the city's bars, restaurants, parks, and shops is sufficient reassurance that the situation is temporary. Yet there are inevitably times when the newcomer feels rootless and yearns for a sense of belonging-the comfort of home, those moments around the kitchen table, talking trash with the people who know you better than you do yourself. That's exactly what you'll find at Riverside Market (or a pretty close approximation). Part corner grocery, part cafe/bar, Riverside Market is the kitchen table, living room, and front porch for a cast of local characters and other passers-by who happen in for a PBR and a bite to eat.

There are lunch specials served up daily with a side of neighborly sass from behind the counter. But if you're feeling that tinge of homesickness, dinner at Riverside is the cure. Offered Sundays and Wednesdays, dinner consists of one option per night: a plate of whatever chef/owner Patty McLean has decided to cook for you. Menus have included apple-baked pork chops with applesauce and carrots, spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread, and beef stew with garlic cheese sticks. On a recent Sunday, a helping of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and creamed corn ($10) could have been straight from grandma's kitchen right down to the blue, speckled tin dishes, mismatched utensils, and praise from Patty for cleaning your plate-or guilt if you didn't. Riverside Market is the ultimate home away from home, just with better cooking.

Every neighborhood should be so lucky. - Alice Finer

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