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Written by Teresa Ristow
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Gallivan Creative

Gluten-Free Goodness at Bend’s Blissful Spoon

Blissful Spoon

Locally grown, fresh foods have been a part of Miki Bekkari’s life since she was a child growing up in Humboldt County, California. By age seven, she was helping out with the family business, Potter’s Produce, which supplied fresh food to stores and restaurants in northern California.

After college and travels that brought her to Lebanon and Spain, she met her future husband, Kamal Bekkari, and the two settled into life with corporate jobs in Australia—he as a banker and she as a grant writer. But it wasn’t long before the couple was drawn to the United States, and after a trip through the Pacific Northwest they landed in Bend in 2018. 

It was then that the couple began Blissful Spoon, a new “passion project” that started as a granola and baked goods pop-up shop at farmers markets. The granola features organic ingredients without oats, grains or sugar, making it a hit right away with those following special diets, including gluten-free, paleo and vegan. In addition to the granola, the baked goods were proving popular at the farmers market too, especially the gluten-free varieties, like flourless chocolate cake, Miki said. The popularity of gluten-free options led Miki to begin experimenting to add more gluten-free baked goods to the lineup. “Good baking is good baking, whether it’s gluten-free or not,” she said.

Miki Bekkari, owner of Blissful Spoon
Miki Bekkari, owner of Blissful Spoon

Soon the Bekkaris were dreaming of a brick-and-mortar location, and after months of searching Miki spotted a space on the corner of Newport Avenue and NW Brooks Street. The 69 Newport development next to Bend Brewing Company was just underway, meaning the Bekkaris would be able to design the interior of the space to their liking. After a year of anticipation and construction, Blissful Spoon now occupies the development’s east building, along NW Brooks Street, while a new restaurant, Sen, from the owners of downtown Bend’s Wild Rose Thai, recently opened in the west building. Separately leased office spaces are atop each restaurant. “All of the tenants have been a pleasure to work with,” said developer Sean Cavanagh. “With the project wrapped up, the thing I’m most looking forward to is being able to dine in at either restaurant and see others enjoying the spaces.”

All moved in to the newly completed Blissful Spoon space, the Bekkaris are busy serving up a selection of gluten-free baked goods and selling granola. The space is also a coffee shop, and a cozy European bistro-style space to grab tapas from. Many of the dishes have a Mediterranean influence,  both from Miki’s travels and Kamal’s childhood in Morocco. “It’s such a beautiful part of the world, we wanted to bring a little slice of that to Bend,” Miki said. Earlier in the day, try savory, smoked salmon brioche toast, with house-made bread (this time with gluten) topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon and a remoulade of capers and pickled onions. For lunch, fill up with the jambon au beurre, a classic French ham sandwich with tiny cornichon pickles. 

In addition to coffee, Blissful Spoon offers local beers and cider on tap, and a variety of wines, with many from Europe and Australia. The drinks pair well with the after dark menu, which includes bruschetta, slow-cooked organic Moroccan meatballs and pasta du jour—freshly made pasta paired with one of the house-made sauces.

An array of goods at Blissful Spoon

The dishes can be enjoyed at a handful of tables inside the fresh, new space, which has wood accents and modern, industrial touches. The walls are adorned with artwork created by the Bekkaris’ 12-year-old daughter Alia, who along with 9-year-old daughter Zuri, are regular taste-testers of the menu offerings. Makal’s 21-year-old son, Adam, is expected to move from Australia this year to join the business and Miki’s parents, who raised her on the produce farm in California, are also in Bend now, often helping out with farmers markets.

After a few months in the new location, Miki said that more customers are finding their way in as word spreads. With new dishes being tested and added regularly, Miki said they’re always willing to make substitutions and customizations to meet the needs of customers, in hopes that everyone is able to find something they like. “We want to cater to everyone,” Miki said. “We’re pretty proud of the whole menu. We make everything in house, and people can taste the difference.” 

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