Bend Restauranteur cultivates Mediterranean concept in north end of Old Mill District.
John Gurnee, who most recently led the culinary team at Drake in downtown Bend and opened Washington Dining & Cocktails in NW Crossing, is set to unveil his own fine-dining concept, Lady Bird, later this winter in the Old Mill District.
“Guests really can expect some fireworks and attention to fine details when it comes to the food and beverage offerings,” Gurnee says. “In addition to artisan, naturally leavened pizzas coming out of our wood-fired oven, we will be offering a highly seasonal and curated menu of fresh handmade pastas, beautifully composed salads, eclectic shareable appetizers, impeccably fresh raw bar and a small list of exquisite entrees.”
Taking over the space formerly occupied by Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria at 375 SW Powerhouse Dr, No. 130, Gurnee and his team are completely transforming the interior of the restaurant.
“We’re laying down a show-stopping black and white Italian Terrazzo floor, shiny black and white 3-dimensional architectural tiles, tying in the bird theme with hanging giant golden bird lights and birdcage chairs,” Gurnee says. “The bar area will be transformed into a very posh cocktail lounge and our private VIP room will be decked out in a modern Chinoiserie vibe complete with pink dancing crane wallpaper.
“We hope that our patrons will enjoy getting dressed up to the nines and make Lady Bird the first or last stop for a night on the town,” he adds, “or join us for a lovely champagne brunch on our riverside patio before a day of shopping or casual stroll along the Deschutes.”
Gurnee and his family moved to Central Oregon in 2014, joining the Drake team before helming the restaurant’s sister property, Washington, in 2017. A graduate of San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, Gurnee has also consulted on various restaurant concepts in Bend, including the re-branding of Cascade Lakes Brewery and the opening of Walt Reilly’s. He also helped assist the culinary operations at Meadowlark in southwest Bend.
Lady Bird is set to become the Old Mill District’s fifteenth restaurant and/or tasting room concept. Most recently, Sisters Coffee Co. opened in October 2021 and Rapa Nui Tiki Lounge began welcoming customers in January of the same year.
“The Old Mill District is the perfect location for bringing our dream to life,” Gurnee says. “Surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, the walkable high-end shopping district, the river, the live music and entertainment, the parking, it’s a natural and wonderful choice for both locals and tourists. Working with the Old Mill District team, William Smith Properties and our local construction team has been nothing short of exceptional and we look forward to opening the doors of Lady Bird later this fall.”