Food-cart pod. Mobile kitchen. Food-truck lot. Brew Depot.
Whatever you call it, the humble meal-on-wheels dining phenomenon continues to be a strong food trend -– even in tiny Tumalo.
It’s hard to believe I wrote about Yolie’s Drive-Up Kitchen, Tumalo’s first food truck, back in 2011 (has it really been that long?). Well, Yolie’s is still going strong, and now it has some company –- quite a bit, in fact, especially for our little hamlet on the Deschutes.
Tumalo’s newest food-truck “experience” is called “The Bite,” and it’s much more than just a place to pick up a burger and go.
The brainchild of Donni and Steve Davidson, two longtime Tumalo residents, it’s home to three resident food trucks: The Rogue Chef, whose offerings include a dynamite wagu burger with matchstick garlic fries; Nuthin’ Fancy BBQ (I tried the pulled-pork sandwich and wasn’t disappointed); and Bend favorite Rico’s Tacos, whose menu features plenty of Mexican-food staples, including fajitas, burritos, nachos and quesadillas.
The distinctively designed space (the work of Bend-based Stemach Design and Architecture, who are also responsible for designing one of my favorite local structures, the Bend Habitat ReStore) was envisioned not just as a place to grab a quick bite but as a welcoming neighborhood hangout. So in addition to the food trucks, The Bite boasts a covered -– and heated –- patio pavilion with lots of seating and a nicely stocked bar (plenty of local brews on tap), plus public restrooms and an expansive outdoors space dotted with lawn games, including cornhole, a large-scale Jenga-type tower, an outsize checkerboard, a tightrope (???) and several fire pits. The space is unashamedly kid- and dog-friendly.
So far, that formula is working well. Ever since The Bite opened in September, the place has been abuzz with activity every time we drive by (sometimes twice a day). On our visit last Friday evening, the weather wasn’t exactly ideal (a bit brisk) but the place was packed.
The Bite is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; it’s scheduled to be open year-round. They’re even planning live music for November and December: This month (Nov. 5 at 6 p.m.), Blackflower is slated to play; and next month (Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.), it’s Eric Leadbetter of Jive Coulis.
Other events are also on tap: For example on Nov. 10, ‘ Art and Wine, Oh My!” is hosting a “Sip and Paint” Party (which combines wine tasting with a painting class and socializing opportunity) at the Bite from 6:30-8:30 pm.
Meanwhile, More Food Carts in Tumalo
Yes, if you’ve driven by Tumalo in the past couple of months you’ve probably noticed the Pilot Butte Drive-In food truck cart stationed in the Tumalo Garden Market parking lot; it’s part of another food-cart pod (of sorts) here. It’s called the Tumalo Food Court, and it’s located just a few blocks from The Bite. It’s designed for six or seven trucks, but so far just two trucks have set up: Pilot Butte Diner and Bangers & Brews. This spot is definitely geared toward the drive-up-and-go crowd, with nowhere to sit and/or gather (but it does offer restrooms).
If The Bite and Tumalo Food Court don’t offer enough options to entice diners, Yolie’s is a block away from The Bite in the opposite direction from the Food Court. It’ll be interesting to see if Tumalo is food-cart-crazy enough to support all three endeavors.
Here are a few more photos of The Bite:
About the Author
Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE, is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Bend and Redmond.