The act of gathering in good company to share a home-cooked meal is a simple and universal joy. Picture the dining room of dear friends, where a table is bathed by the warm glow of candles, and the host shuttles between guests and the kitchen, presenting plates that overflow with homemade dishes. The air is rich with the aroma of freshly harvested ingredients and the pleasant hum of overlapping conversation as friends savor a meal together. This is a scene that can be found in many private homes, but is also commonplace in the welcoming dining room of Redmond’s Feast Food Company.
Chris and Emma Leyden, the attentive and kind hosts at Feast, met while working together in kitchens. While he was back-of-house and she was front-of-house, they shared a dream of starting a restaurant together, one that would foster community, support the local food system and celebrate the hard-earned harvest of the region’s producers.
The duo realized their vision by launching Feast in a vibrant red food truck in February 2021. Initially, they expected to operate as a mobile eatery for a few years; however, with overwhelming support from the community, their dream of a brick-and-mortar establishment became a reality in less than two years. In November 2022, they officially opened the doors to the cozy home where Feast is located in downtown Redmond.
Despite Feast’s growth, its foundational ethos remains steadfast. Emma emphasized, “We have always been focused on bringing the people who are often an afterthought of food to the front of your mind.” The seasonal bounty of local farms and ranches heavily influences Feast’s menu. Chris connects with up to 15 local purveyors each week, ensuring diners enjoy plates crafted with ingredients harvested just days or even hours before being served, as opposed to the hundred-plus-mile journey most food takes to reach consumers.
“People want to dine somewhere they feel welcomed, and we intend to welcome everyone into our ‘home.’”
The Leyden’s commitment to local sourcing results in a seasonal and ever-changing menu. “The cool thing about our food is that the products we are using at any given time are meant to go together,” said Chris. “They grow and are beautiful at the same time.” His creative process, which always begins with the vegetable, leads to a constant evolution of dishes inspired by the season.
On the Menu at Feast
Recently, Feast’s menu offered diners dishes such as gnudi with black pepper cream leeks, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, crème fraîche, kale and charred peppers. Also, on the menu: rich squash soup with hazelnut dukkah and kale chips, and a chicory salad with roasted hazelnuts, biscuit crumble, sweet-pickled carrots, apple, bacon and toasted honey vinaigrette. While there’s always a new dish to try, Feast also boasts a few staples, such as the popular fried mushrooms sourced from Deschutes Gourmet Mushrooms in Redmond, as well as the cheeseburger, a locally sourced beef patty topped with Alabama white sauce, house pickles, white cheddar and crispy onions, squeezed between a warm bun.
Feast also offers brunch and lunch service on select days. For brunch, patrons can savor dishes such as a sweet caramel-apple pop tart or a hearty serving of chicken and waffles. Lunch options include a roast beef sandwich with beef, relish, Swiss cheese and the gluten-free muffaletta on sesame focaccia.
When speaking of Feast’s libation philosophy, Emma shared, “We craft our beverages with the same intentions we do our food.” Which means, local reigns supreme. From fresh juices to homemade purées and syrups, the drinks are as thoughtful as the culinary creations. Draft beer is sourced from Central Oregon breweries, and the wine selection exclusively features wines from Oregon and Washington.
Chris envisions the future of Feast with optimism, sharing, “We are taking everything in stride; Emma and I are so elated with the successes we have seen thus far.” The couple is focused on making the existing location into a community pillar. Chris sees Feast as a place where patrons understand the value of their dollar and can support their community while eating good food together. Emma expressed, “People want to dine somewhere they feel welcomed, and we intend to welcome everyone into our ‘home.’”