2021 Reader’s Choice Winners Published January 18, 2022 Best Brewery - Crux Fermentation ProjectIt’s no secret that Bend is one of the nation’s craft brew capitals, producing more local beer per capita than nearly anywhere else. In a city like ours where craft beer reigns as king among beverages, breaking out of the box and experimenting with new projects can be a risk, but it can also shoot you straight to the top. Crux Fermentation Project pioneers this idea everyday with innovative recipes that tantalize the taste buds. “We're thankful that our guests appreciate and embrace all of our projects whether it's new experimental beers, wine, cider, or our ever evolving food menu,” said Co-Founder, Master Brewer and CEO Larry Sidor. “Their support means the world to us, and it's why we do what we do.” While Crux keeps on doing what they do best, stroll on down to the expansive outdoor venue for a refreshing Crux pilsner, or a new experimental brew, and enjoy some of the most epic sunsets in town.Best Burger - Dandy’s Drive-InA true Bend staple, Dandy’s has been serving up fresh burgers, fries, shakes and more since 1968. The drive-in style eatery invokes nostalgia for anyone old enough to remember when drive-ins were at their peak, and provides young people a glimpse into the past, when hot and melty cheeseburgers were delivered to your car door by friendly carhops on roller skates. “While Bend has grown up around Dandy’s, we pride ourselves on keeping to old fashioned beginnings,” said a representative from the business. “We love being able to serve our community the same classic burgers and fries that we have since opening in 1968.” A blend of old and new, Dandy’s will keep their classic, award-winning traditions alive as they push into the future—a gentle reminder of when Bend was a smaller community where carhops knew your name, and your order, by heart.Best Bakery & Desserts - Sparrow BakeryIf you’ve toured the Bend restaurant scene a bit, you’ve probably read “Sparrow Bakery buns” on several menus. Some of the most acclaimed eateries around town insist on using Sparrow Bakery bread for their burgers, sandwiches, desserts and more, and there’s a simple reason: Sparrow Bakery is just that good. Since 2006, Owner Jessica Keatman has maintained a dedication to bake delicious treats, as well as provide workers with jobs that she herself would be happy to have. This commitment to not only quality but also workplace integrity creates an atmosphere of infectious happiness and positivity. Keatman says that it is heartwarming to see some of her regulars happily explaining to new customers what an ocean roll is, and then being able to watch the joy on their faces as they take that first bite of cardamom goodness, paired with the perfect latte, of course.Best Happy Hour - 900 wallOne of the most acclaimed dinner spots in town is also home to Bend’s favorite happy hour. The happiest of hours at 900 Wall, which actually lasts from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every afternoon, consistently offers deals that leave guests relaxed, without the guilt we sometimes feel after a night of buying expensive drinks willy-nilly. The average price for a cocktail or glass of wine is only just above $6, while the average beer price is closer to $3. The menu features the same high quality, locally sourced dishes we all love so much, like the beef carpaccio and the locally famous fried green beans. Head Chef and Co-owner Cliff Eslinger loves the many loyal customers he serves, and says that many of them feel like family members, at this point. It is nearly impossible to find another happy hour that can match not only the quality of 900 Wall, but also the price point, both of which have crowned this downtown Bend staple as this year’s king of happy hour.Best Toy Store - Leapin’ LizardsIt’s not uncommon to see kids with their faces pressed up against the windows of Leapin’ Lizards, asking their parents if they can go inside and pick out a toy to take home. Frankly, it also isn’t too out of place to see adults perusing the store, picking up toys that remind them of childhood, and even finding something they can enjoy now. And isn’t that the hallmark of a great toy store? A place where the young and old can play, and release that inner kid. Leapin’ Lizards has been at their downtown location since 1995, and have been able to watch as kids who begged their parents for toys became parents themselves, and take their kids to the same toy store that brought them so much joy years ago. This is a family-operated business through and through that strives to create a fun and safe environment for all ages and backgrounds, for the simple reason that everyone deserves happiness, whether you’re young, or just young at heart.Best Bike Shop - Hutch’s BicyclesHutch’s began with a dream of sharing the beauty of Central Oregon with as many people as possible, and still holds on to this dream. The first Hutch’s sold bikes in Eugene in 1927 and took off in Bend when the mountain biking trail system was developed in the late 80s and early 90s. Now, with four Central Oregon locations and a dedication to providing the means to explore Central Oregon in all its majesty, Hutch’s stands as Bend’s favorite place to go for all biking needs. From finding the right bikes, accessories, rack systems and bike services to simply supplying cyclists with local knowledge of the nearby trail systems, Hutch’s makes sure that every customer is well prepared and comfortable before they embark on their two-wheeled adventure.Best Pet Store - Bend Pet ExpressPet people understand each other, and know that the health and happiness of their furry, scaley or even sometimes hairless friend comes first. Bend Pet Express sets themselves apart from the rest because their priority will always be that of you and your pet. President/CEO Ryan Kwaterski says that his favorite part of the job is simply hearing stories from customers about how their products improved the lives of their pets. Kwaterski remarked that the pet industry in Bend has blown up over the past fifteen years, and more products are available now than ever, both high quality and low quality. “That means that pet parents have a million options and that quickly can become overwhelming. That’s where we get to help!” said Kwaterski. “We have the opportunity to improve so many pet’s lives for the better.” He’d also like to thank his clientele, the pet parents of Bend, who show so much love and attention to their pets.Best Staycation - McMenamins Old St. Francis SchoolA well-known Bend establishment that constantly attracts locals and visitors alike, McMenamins Old St. Francis School is the place Bendites go to get away from it all, without leaving town. The ideal staycation destination for lovers, friends and family, the Old St. Francis School Hotel provides those who stay with a unique sense of wonder and a relaxing disconnect from the outside world. Guests are often seen wearing those iconic plush white bathrobes as they stroll from their private room to the ever-relaxing soaking pool with drink in hand. Where else can visitors enjoy a movie theater with couches and full dinner service, relax at a cigar lounge, enjoy dinner by an open fire and explore hallways full of secret rooms and false walls with surprises waiting around every corner, without even leaving the hotel property? For a staycation where you can truly do it all and more, look no farther. This former Catholic school is the best staycation destination around.Best Hair Salon - TangerineWith some of the best hair stylists around and an energy-filled team dedicated to serving clients with creativity, professionalism and integrity, Tangerine Salon has become more than just a hair salon. Their family-like atmosphere fosters connection with all clients, from Bend and beyond, and leaves them feeling jubilant and ready to take on the world. From women’s styling and weaves to men’s cuts and even a full face of makeup for prom, Tangerine ensures that all clients leave the salon as their most confident self. Owner Rosa Shea loves operating a salon downtown, and thrives among the shops, restaurants and people, and the energy they all create. “We are blessed to have a community that did not waiver during the difficult times of COVID,” Shea said. “To our clientele and community we thank you.”Best Fly Shop - Bend Fly ShopWhat do you get when you mix high quality fly equipment with a team of experienced professionals who understand the ins and outs of fly fishing, because they enjoy it so much themselves? You get the Bend Fly Shop, Bend’s one stop shop for all fly fishing needs. From lines, rods and reels to the proper waders, apparel and more, the Bend Fly Shop makes getting ready for a fly-fishing trip easy, no matter how experienced or new you are to the sport. The owner and employees have a passion for experiencing the beauty of Central Oregon rivers; a passion that is shared with the Bend community. “Fly fishing is an intriguing combination of art and science, and seems to attract people who appreciate the natural world,” said Owner Chris O’Donnell. Taking this shared passion to the next level, the Bend Fly Shop even offers guided fishing tours across Central Oregon to connect with their clientele and foster a love of the great outdoors.