In terms of growth in the food scene in Central Oregon in recent years, food carts are where it’s at. Sure, we’ve seen a host of new brick-and-mortars open up with much to-do, but food carts pop up nearly daily, giving budding restauranteurs a more accessible forum to share their talents. Tucked away next to Humm Kombucha on 2nd Street in the Bend Central District is Manzanita Grill—slowly and steadily gaining a following since its opening three years ago, even in spite of being among the handful of carts not attached to a food cart pod.
At Manzanita Grill, one can enjoy a plate of mac ‘n cheese, a Mexican torta, or even a “secret menu” of chef Joaquin Ortiz’s beloved tacos. Or maybe a Nashville chicken sandwich, or a Philly suits your fancy? They’ve got all that. This is the place our chef friends rave about—and while said chef friends might not relish us telling everyone about it, this is one spot those who have yet to try definitely need to.
Launched by Ortiz and partner Jade Sellers—two longtime restaurant professionals—the “Southwest fusion” menu at Manzanita Grill offers a lot of the unexpected.
“Let’s just pick all of our favorite foods that we love to eat—all of the best, and we’ll make a menu,” Sellers said of developing the cart’s concept. “We each picked our own things and came up with our own recipes.” What wasn’t initially on the menu, however, was much Mexican food, which Ortiz grew up learning to cook from his grandmother. But one day, Ortiz did tacos as a special—and customers loved it. “The Mexican food kind of grew on the menu,” Sellers said.
Serving primarily a lunch crowd Monday through Friday, Manzanita Grill isn’t the fancy-night-on-the-town type of spot—but that’s just perfectly OK by us.
At the Humm Kombucha Taproom
1125 NE 2nd St., Bend