It might be snowing on the rest of Central Oregon, but there’s plenty of color to be found at 10 Below. The restaurant in the new Oxford Hotel, Bend’s only four -star boutique lodging, is tucked away in the basement (hence the name—10 NW Minnesota Ave, below ground). But that secluded location only makes this bright space feel all the more separate from the rest of the world. Separate, in a very good way.

The chic urban space, rich with uber-creative touches (ever seen white ceramic antlers made into light fixtures?) is truly unlike any other in Central Oregon. Many restaurants have claimed in the last five years to be Bend’s most metropolitan, but 10 Below’s totally unusual, completely cool décor is the first to really put itself out on a limb. And you might feel like you are out on a limb, with tree cross-sections on the wall, tree motifs on the curtains, and shades of green all around.

The two lunches I recently enjoyed at 10 Below were a tiny slice of hip, delicious heaven. On my first visit, I ordered the chop-chop salad, comprised of mixed greens, cucumber, cous cous, heirloom tomato, free-range chicken, toasted pine nuts and tzatsiki dressing. It was completely yummy. But on my second visit, I decided to take a friend’s advice and go whole hog for the BLTA. The grilled rustic toast, thick-cut bacon, tomato, avocado and smear of maple aioli is a perfect example of why sweet, fat and salt have always been some of our favorite things. I saved my virtue by ordering the green salad on the side, which was very fresh and ample in size.

10 Below vows to use as many local products in their dishes as possible, and the list of local vendors on the back of the menu is very impressive. Come summer, look for Executive Chef Sam Reed wandering around the Drake Park Farmer’s Market, gathering ingredients straight from the farm to put into your dinner special. But don’t wait until then to stop by. 10 Below’s fresh look and fresher cuisine is the taste of spring we’ve all been waiting for on the east side of the mountains.

10 Below at the Oxford Hotel

10 NW Minnesota Ave, Bend

www.oxfordhotelbend.com

541-382-1010

About the Author: Kim Cooper Findling

Kim Cooper Findling grew up on the Oregon Coast but became a Central Oregon girl in the mid-90s, taking in the sunny skies and never looking back (expect a few wistful glances at the ocean). She is the editor of “Central Oregon Magazine” and the author of “Day Trips From Portland: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler” and “Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir.” Catch her around the state sampling microbrews, hiking river trails, taking silly pictures with her iPhone, and camping with her husband and two daughters in the family tent trailer, Brutus.

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