What led to your decision to open Wild Rose in downtown Bend?
We came here from Port Townsend, Washington, where our restaurant has been open 32 years now. We enjoyed Bend whenever we visited, and we saw that it could use a Northern Thai restaurant. That's where our family recipes come from. Bend was larger and growing, but still had the small-town feel, so we thought it was a perfect choice.
What do you think it is that makes Wild Rose so popular?
We do things differently. The food is family recipes, things we eat ourselves. My father is the chef and all the recipes are his. We are cooking and serving what we enjoy. It's like going to a friend's house. We are hands-on owners, always here, so there is consistency. You know what you're going to get when you eat here.
What kinds of things are distinctive to Northern Thai food?
Thailand is very regional, like the U.S. Northern Thailand is very rural, mountainous and less beachy than the south. Central Thai is a kind of modge podge; Northern has a lot more green things: herbal ingredients. They have more places to farm. There are a lot of pig farms, so pork is prominent. Flavor profiles are different. The flavors are from more Vietnam or Laos: fresh, less coastal, less seafood, less fermented food.
Is there a particular customer favorite?
Definitely the Khao Soi Curry,which is very traditional Northern Thai. It's a coconut broth curry with egg noodles, topped with crunchy noodles, pickled cabbage and red onion. It's definitely our most popular dish.
How has Wild Rose been affected by the current pandemic restrictions?
We are doing well. We are opening up a second restaurant, right next to Bend Brewing on Brooks Street, getting built right now. It's going to be a Thai Hot Pot and Noodle Shop. We're looking forward to the new addition.
Wild Rose Northern Thai Eats
150 NW Oregon Ave., Bend