If there's anything readers of the Source like more than food, we don't know what it is. And while we know you're gearing up to cast your ballot and nominate some awesome winners in our annual Best of Central Oregon readers' poll, it never hurts to refresh your memory about who's won in past years... maybe only because it gives locals a chance to go back to some beloved spots once again. Here's a very short (and not comprehensive) look at some of the winners in the Food category in 2022, and what we had to say about them.
Best Patio Dining: Pine Tavern
Tucked under huge shade trees, the popular patio at Pine Tavern overlooks Mirror Pond. It's a chill atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the busy downtown streets and an ideal spot to enjoy some Pine Tavern favorites like the soft scones with honey butter. Even on a summer day, the scones, which have been on the menu since the 1980s, are a must-have. Classic French onion soup, steamer clams, hazelnut encrusted mahi mahi, and a huge burger made with local grass-fed beef are other menu faves.
Best Vegetarian/Vegan: Toasty (Don't worry readers – for 2023, we've separated these categories, so that there's now a Best Vegan and a Best Vegetarian category. You're welcome.)
Toasty, located inside a vintage trailer at The Podski, has only been on the scene since 2021, and so far is making quite a splash. For the vegans who have lamented about seeing a non-vegan place win in this category in the past, you're finally vindicated. Make great vegan food and even the omnivores will flock there—and who knows, it might even result in a few converts.
Best Milkshake: Dandy's
Dandy's Drive-In is a Bend staple, slinging burgers, fries and milkshakes via roller-skated carhops since 1968. Bend has changed a lot in that time, but Dandy's hasn't; the classic '60s feel is a big draw for the business.
"We haven't changed things since 1968. We have the same old-fashioned aspect to it. Between the roller skating carhops, the same menu, smiling faces, I would say that's what makes Dandy's, Dandy's," said Noelle Ensz, general manager. "It's really cool to hear so many customers who will come back in and when they're eating, they say, 'Hey, I used to work here 30 years ago, and you guys kept it the same!'"
—Voting in the Best of Central Oregon readers' poll goes through July 17. Printed ballots should be submitted by July 15, and online voting ends July 17. Check out the ballot online at bendsource.com, (or inside this issue!).