IIn terms of the growth of the food scene in central Oregon in recent years, food carts are where they are. Sure, we’ve seen a host of new bricks and mortars open up with plenty to do, but food carts are popping up almost daily, giving budding restaurateurs 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, which has been slowly and steadily gaining a following since opening three years ago, even though it’s one of a handful of untethered carts to a basket of food.
At the Manzanita Grill, you can enjoy a plate of macaroni and 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 to your liking? They have it all. It’s the place our chef friends rave about – and while those chef friends might not appreciate us telling everyone about it, it’s a place those who haven’t yet tried absolutely must.
Launched by Ortiz and his partner Jade Sellers, two longtime restaurant professionals, Manzanita Grill’s “Southwest fusion” menu offers plenty of the unexpected.
“Let’s just pick all of our favorite foods that we like 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 created our own recipes.” What wasn’t initially on the menu, however, was a lot of Mexican food, which Ortiz grew up learning to cook from his grandmother. But one day, Ortiz made tacos on special and the customers loved it. “Mexican food has grown on the menu,” Sellers said.
Serving primarily a Monday-Friday lunch crowd, Manzanita Grill isn’t the fancy type of place for nights out on the town, but it’s fine with us.
Manzanita grilled meats
At Taproom Humm Kombucha
1125 NE 2nd Street Turn