A college alumnus is making his mark on the local culinary scene. Dan Benson, Central Oregon Community College Aviation Science graduate and helicopter flight instructor at Leading Edge aviation,and his wife Allison have recently opened a restaurant at the Bend Municipal airport.
“The scariest thing was deciding to do it. Once we crossed that bridge, the fear went away and you just want to make sure that we are doing it right,” said Benson.
“We want to serve the 500 plus workers and pilots who are at the airport on a daily basis,” said Daryle Thomas head chef of The Tower Restaurant, and business major at COCC.
Thomas originally moved to Bend to attend Cascade Culinary Institute before switching to business. During that transition, however, he maintained his interest in culinary art. Thomas is now enrolled in the COCC business program with hopes to transfer to OSU-Cascades.
Thomas has extensive culinary experience and has been a chef at multiple restaurants and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena where he met The Tower co-owner Jason Williaman.
“I’m very impressed by the 2025 initiative of Bend, basically about the direction Bend is going. I have lived a lot of places but Bend is one of the place, I feel is making sure to preserve its authenticity,” said Thomas.
In addition to providing food for airport employees and pilots, Benson hopes to attract dinner parties and other customers because of the views of the Cascades from the venue.
Benson hopes to keep the costs relatively low between $5 and $8 for a meal.
“The people who work at the airport are hard working. And if we are lucky enough to have them come in to eat we don’t want them to get hit hard in their pocket book,” said Benson. “We serve lunch and breakfast at anytime.”
The Tower is currently open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
D.R Kaufman | Broadside
Peanut butter and Honey Creppe, and freshly brewed coffee.
The Tower welcomes students and instructors who are studying to come in with their books and grab food and coffee.
An antique propeller mounted in the dining room with the view overlooking airplanes and helicopters taking off and landing on the runway.