Bend’s Riverside Market to become French bistro

The former Riverside Market, once a local haunt known for its cheap drafts and bean-bag toss tournaments, is no more.

Located at the corner of NW Riverside Boulevard and NW McCann Avenue, the building is becoming a French bistro. Renovations are underway. The new name, “French Market,” already hangs on the exterior.

New owners, Philip and Judith Lipton, purchased the property, which includes the original 2,208-square-foot building and quarter-acre lot, for $610,000 in May, according to Deschutes County property records. The property also came with a conditional-use permit to allow more space for food service and other changes. It will remain a market for prepared foods, meats, cheese and wine.

The previous owners, including manager Melanie Brent, applied to the city of Bend for the permit in July 2015, which set off a year of contention between Riverside supporters and neighbors who described the place as out of control.

About 60 people attended an August 2015 meeting to gather neighborhood comments on the permit application, according to city records. Supporters referred to Riverside Market as an iconic Bend spot, a family friendly place to enjoy food and drink.

“I have always respected the business for the way it behaves and interacts with the neighbors and larger community,” wrote Nathan Boddie, a Bend city councilor. Boddie wrote that he was not speaking on behalf of the city. “Recently, the current owners have made herculean efforts to accommodate requests from neighbors, often to the point of sacrificing profits because they recognize the importance of a functional neighborhood.”

As the city prepared for a September 2015 public hearing on the permit application, neighbors opposed to the market expansion also weighed in. They described drunken behavior, loud gatherings, profane language, litter, traffic, smoking and frequent visits by Bend police. The hearings officer’s decision in January does not identify neighbors who urged the permit be denied.

“An eighth neighbor mentioned the volume and quantity of noise from patrons, including vulgar language, yelling, honking and revved engines, as well as smoking and traffic,” wrote Hearings Officer Sharon Smith. “The neighbor noted that ‘alcohol was a huge problem with what happens at the market …’”

Philip Lipton said those days are over.

“I don’t want to offend some of the very nice people that I met that came in here,” he said Wednesday, but “it was a dive bar. That’s not what it’s going to be.”

Outside seating will shrink to make way for required parking, he said. The permit approval in January came with 26 conditions, including no more outside games like bean-bag toss; no amplified music; no scheduled, live entertainment; and the installation of curbs, sidewalks and barriers around the property. Business hours are set at 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Lipton said the renovation work will amount to a “couple hundred thousand dollars.” The chef behind the menu is Franck Bacquet, of Boise, Idaho, Lipton said.

Lipton, who relocated to Bend recently from Ketchum, Idaho, said he conceives of a neighborhood bistro featuring cuisine of southern France, along with the market. Prices will be affordable, and pizza will be on the menu, but dinner will be fine dining, he said. Lipton said he expects French Market to open in two or three months.

“Bend is a sophisticated enough community that people would appreciate food with that kind of focus,” he said. “Not to be snobby about it, but it’s really about quality.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com


Source: BB Real Estate – topStory

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