02 May Rockin’ Dave’s Backstage Lounge
The best part of a piece of meatloaf is the tangy,brown-sugary crust. So Dave Flier converted his mom’s meatloaf recipe into a saucy meatball appetizer, ensuring that everyone at the table gets that coveted, delicious bite. Mom’s Saucy Balls are a good representation of the quality comfort food found at Rockin’ Dave’s Backstage Lounge.
For over a decade Flier has been serving bagels and more at Rockin’ Dave’s Bistro on Greenwood Avenue in Bend. Last year he opened the Backstage Lounge in the back half of the building. It’s located in Bend’s midtown, an easy walk for those in the evolving neighborhood full of hip, mid-century homes.
The lounge is retro and intimate, with orange velvet curtains and vintage chandeliers in shades of green and yellow. The space is meant to feel like a green room, where musicians might hang out before or after a show, and it achieves that through dark lighting, framed vinyl and a cocktail menu full of drinks named after Flier’s favorite bands, including Pearl Jam, the Seattle grunge band he has seen in concert more than 25 times.
The spicy cucumber gin of the Yellow Ledbetter cocktail shines with dry vermouth and a twist of orange. The B-Side is the Backstage Lounge’s excellent take on a Manhattan—prepared with ginger and peach-infused bourbon and cocktail cherry, both made in-house. Pacific Northwest beer is rotated on tap, along with a good selection of bottled beer and wine.
Flier grew up going to his grandparents’ farm in rural Illinois, and that farm-to-table ethos stayed with him through culinary school in Chicago and through his move out west. Bread is baked on-site, vegetables are pickled, pastrami is house-smoked.
The menu at the Backstage Lounge is Northwest comfort food—substantial, flavorful food made from locally sourced ingredients. Big juicy burgers are served on soft homemade buns. The delicious Pork Bomb sandwich is filled with pork three ways—rich pork belly, ham and pulled pork—then smothered with provolone and onions and served on grilled sourdough.
The four rice bowls on the menu start with a brown rice and roasted vegetable base and are topped with local greens, salsa, avocado and a fried egg. Choose a chicken, pork belly and jalapeño combo for spice or the popular bacon cheeseburger bowl. There are also vegetarian and vegan options available.
The lounge features nightly happy hour specials—Taco Tuesday, Wine & Wing Wednesday and Local Dog and Brew Thursday. Friday is a good night to order plates from the appetizer menu—they’re three dollars off during happy hour. Try a trio of deviled eggs, housemade pita and hummus or a half-pound of bacon wings.
It’s called Rockin’ Dave’s for a reason—there’s always good music on in the background, and bands who are traveling to Bend to play can eat for half price. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a musician to be well taken care of. The motto at the Backstage Lounge is, “When you’re here, you’re a rock star,” and they mean it.