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"The Lot" in Bend is heating up during cold

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Dec 12 2013 09:24:40 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 12 2013 09:33:47 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns talks with "The Lot" food cart group in Bend about its winterizing efforts to attract more customers during the cold.

BEND, Ore. -

At Real Food Street Bistro in Bend, they're serving up something hot.

"I'm making sweet potato chips. They just go in the fryer and I keep stirring them," owner Jay Miller said Thursday.

A tasty treat on a cold day.

But it's the cold that scares some people away from eating outside at the cluster of food carts.

David Staley is the owner and creator of "The Lot," a group of five food carts off NW Galveston Avenue in Bend.

It opened in August, and business took off. Then the cold hit.

"Especially last week, with it 15 below zero, I understand why nobody wanted to come outside," Staley said.

But Staley says don't let the frigid frost frighten you -- he's created a warm oasis.

"Always knew that we needed to stay open all winter, just to be a viable business option for all these cart owners and to make it work for them," Staley said.

So in came five overhead heaters, heated benches, a fire pit and the latest addition -- window flaps to keep the wind out.

"Looks like it's 34 degrees outside and 80 degrees in here, so it's nice and toasty," Staley said.

Vendors say if it weren't for the heated hangout, they'd have to close up shop.

"Honestly, if The Lot wasn't here, I don't think we would have been able to stay open in the winter. We would have just been a seasonal cart, as a lot of the carts in town are," said Adrianne Davis, co-owner of Mauna Kea Grill.

By braving the elements for a few minutes to order, you'll be warmed up in no time..

"We'll bring the food to you! I always tell people to go ahead and order, and when you're ready, just go take a seat and get comfortable," Davis said.
     
It's a comfortable atmosphere, hoping the heat will help draw people to the carts in cold weather.

"Oregonians love to sit outside and enjoy a good meal, and this is the perfect spot to do it -- really, the only spot to do it when it gets cold out," Davis said.

The Lot will have live music every Thursday night and Trivia night on Tuesdays.

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