I’ve just been made aware that Mike West, 51, owner of the Bend Fish Company, has passed away.
West lived in Eugene for three decades, graduating from high school there and operating numerous restaurants as a chef and owner, including West Bros. BBQ, Cafe Zenon, Mona Lizza, Mucho Gusto Mexican Kitchens and others.
He and his wife, Cynthia, moved to La Pine in 2005 and established the casual seafood eatery and market on Revere Avenue that same year.
A friend of mine who was a classmate of West informed me today that he died of a heart attack at Eugene’s Cafe Zenon on Jan. 26.
“He really made a mark in the restaurant scene in Eugene,” she told me. “His untimely and shocking death last week has shaken all who knew him, and at his [weekend] memorial [in La Pine] literally hundreds attended to pay respects.
“So many young people that he employed over the years told stories, and thanked him for teaching them work ethic and responsibility.”
In 1991, according to a story in the Eugene Register-Guard, “West spearheaded the inaugural Chefs’ Night Out fundraiser, a hunger benefit now celebrating its 20th year and which raises about $65,000 annually for FOOD for Lane County.”
Bend Fish Company has recently been for sale. West had planned to open a diner in La Pine.