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Bend-O Bento: a hidden gem

Marcela Irribarren/ The Broadside

There are a plethora of restaurants in Bend and some are in areas you wouldn’t expect. Bend-O Bento Japanese Kitchen is hidden within the industrial buildings in southeast Bend. From miso soup to teriyaki chicken, Bend-O Bento offers a variety of delicious food with an American touch.

Located off Wilson avenue, the Japanese restaurant is well hidden within the industrial buildings surrounding it. Inside offers a few bar tables, comfortable chairs, and a condiment station. With limited seating inside, there are a few picnic tables outside where you can enjoy a delicious bento box during nice weather.

Photo by Marcela Irribarren

Yukiko McLaughlin, the owner of Bend-O Bento, opened the restaurant back in March 2012. “This month will be our 10 year anniversary,” said McLaughlin. 

McLaughlin started a nonprofit charity cooking event for the tsunami disaster in Japan back in 2011. All proceeds went to the Japanese citizens in need of help from the aftermath of the disaster. McLaughlin quickly realized that patrons enjoyed her food and decided to open a restaurant. And that’s how Bend-O Bento was born.

I had the pleasure of ordering off the menu. The most popular dish is the traditional bento box which offers 1-2 entrees, depending which size you desire, 2-3 sides, and rice is included. There are different proteins you may choose as well as sides, soups, and refreshments. The food is made to order and accepts card or cash. Bend-O Bento doesn’t offer any delivery services, however, take out is always an option.

While visiting the restaurant, I ordered a 1 entrée bento box. I chose chicken katsu as my protein and a sunomono salad and macaroni salad as my side dish. The chicken katsu was served as a sliced cutlet with katsu sauce for dipping. The sunomono salad, or Japanese vinegar salad, is made with cucumbers, namasu (a vinaigrette), and noodles. A traditional macaroni salad and white rice was also added. 

Photo by Marcela Irribarren

Be sure to visit this hidden gem and try their delicious food and amazing service. If you are in a hurry, call ahead and you can pick up your food order! Be aware as the west side of Wilson avenue will be closed due to construction from March through May of this year. 

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