Deschutes Brewery's new food lot to break the mold

Not just food carts, but a seasonal experience

Unique food cart lot in Old Mill

BEND, Ore. - Bend has seen plenty of food cart lots arise in recent years. But an unusual and likely unique entry is about to pop up in Bend's Old Mill District, from a beer pioneer marking its 30th anniversary. 

Deschutes Brewery is calling it a "unique experience" because it is going to have a different theme for each season of the year. Right now, for example, it will be called "The Marina."

The food cart lot will be on the gravel lot bordered by Shevlin-Hixon Drive and Southwest Columbia Street, across from Riverbend Park. It will only be in one corner, so it will not spread across the entire property that is used for overflow parking by river floaters. 

"The Marina" will feature two to three sailboats, but this experience will be replaced in September, when the weather begins to change, and another themed experience will be put in. 

"The Marina" will be a family-friendly place featuring various food carts such as Parilla tacos, shaved ice and ice cream options. 

"There are a lot of food lots going in all around Bend and the surrounding areas, and we weren't looking to do the same," project manager Dave Gawlowski said Wednesday.

"We were looking to do more of an experience, and to do that means you need to allow flexible space, and that is what we are putting in right now is the flexible components," he added. "We're putting in parking, we're putting in sidewalks, we're updating corners and intersections, but we aren't building a large building. We are putting in the pieces we need to host experiences."

Gawlowski said more concrete structures and bathrooms will be constructed at a later date. 

NewsChannel 21 spoke with a few river-goers at Riverbend Park about the food cart lot plans. 

"We go to the tap room a lot, the Deschutes tap room that is right there, and it's always just a little inconvenient because there isn't any food there," said Libby Wilson. "I think that is a great idea, I think it will get a ton of, usage especially in the summer."

"It's pretty hip, it's definitely in, in Bend," said Troy Aguilar. "If anyone is hungry in this area of town -- I mean if there is a food lot right across the street, everybody would use it."

"The Marina" is scheduled to open up in the next few weeks. 

A majority of the gravel space that "The Marina" will be on will still be accessible to the public for over-flow parking. 

"It really is just a small space, and it really shouldn't make that big of a difference for parking," said brewery Associate Communications Manager Erin Rankin. "Parks and Rec is really encouraging people to use the old Mt. Bachelor park and ride for floating traffic and things like that, so I think it will all work itself out."

The brewery said it will monitor feedback from everyone who visits "The Marina" this summer and create a master plan for future use of the property. 

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