In what is sure to provide a boost to downtown Bend, and to bring a smile to the faces of local “foodies,” Zydeco Kitchen+Cocktails has announced that it will move into the old Volo space this spring.
Steve Helt, who (with his wife Cheri) owns Zydeco as well as the “28” bar and bistro, signed a lease yesterday afternoon to relocate his popular restaurant from 1085 S.E. Third St. to 919 N.W. Bond St., probably in April. The deal had been in the works for some time, according to commercial broker Peter Lowes, but Helt chose February 8 for the lease signing because he considers 28 [2-8] to be a lucky number.
The 4,000-square-foot space, on the ground floor of a new building next to the D&D Bar & Grill, has been vacant since owner Chris Jones closed Volo in early December.
Despite its name, Zydeco (named for a family dog) is not a New Orleans-style restaurant. There are some Cajun-influenced dishes on the menu, such as blackened redfish, but other dishes, including ribeye steak and barbecued shrimp, are strictly contemporary American. Kitchen manager Mary Diehl will remain in charge of everyday food preparation, Helt said, and head bartenders Justin LeBart and Chris Hardy will also transfer to the new store.
Said Helt: “Here’s our spin: Same great food, great staff and great service as before, just in a different location.”
Helt said he plans no significant changes to “28,” the bistro in the St. Clair Building a half-block from his new location. “Zydeco and ’28’ are two different concepts,” he said. “As much as I want to make ’28’ a cool little tapas restaurant, the fact is that it’s more of a martini bar. But we’ll continue to work on the menu there.”
When Zydeco opens on Bond Street, Helt said, he’ll christen the new location with a two-day fundraising event to benefit local charities.
A personal note: In my estimation, Zydeco consistently has the best service of any restaurant in Central Oregon. The wait staff is knowledgeable, friendly and attentive, and clearly very well trained. The food is always excellent … but the present location, where Zydeco was established four years ago, still feels like a Skipper’s Fish and Chips shop, which at one time it was. Despite a makeover last year, it still feels box-like to me. I’m delighted and excited that Zydeco will have a space that suits the fine restaurant that it is.