The Pine Tavern, one of Bend’s most popular landmarks for almost eighty years, enters a new chapter with Bill McCormick at the helm. McCormick is the co-founder of the famous McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants. And he considers himself a number one fan of the Pine Tavern since first dining at the restaurant in the late ’60s.
Not just a restaurateur, McCormick now calls Central Oregon “home” after selling McCormick & Schmick’s in 2011. He is committed and excited to engage in the Bend community. He has served on many boards in leadership positions in the arts, culture and humanities in the past and will no doubt bring the same energy to Bend. He is most proud of receiving the Secretary’s award from the Department of Veterans Affairs for his support of Veterans, and having served as US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa from 2005-08.
McCormick says, “Operating McCormick & Schmick’s became a corporate job. Owning the Pine Tavern will allow me to enjoy the fun part of the industry.” McCormick holds an affinity for building restaurants in historic locations. Fourteen of his former restaurants are on the National Register of Historic Places. “The purchase of the Pine Tavern really was a match made in heaven,” says McCormick.
The recent popularity of The Pine Tavern’s menu is attributed to using Oregon lamb, beef and northwest seafood. The chef also uses Oregon farm products when seasonally available. As a result, the Pine Tavern’s new menu includes more seafood, vegetarian and healthy foods.
“I was always attracted to the Pine Tavern because of its iconic history,” says McCormick. He brings nearly 50 years of experience to the table. Fresh out of college, he moved to San Francisco from Providence, Rhode Island to work in banking and insurance.
In 1966, with a group of friends, he opened his first business, a local steakhouse and bar in San Francisco on fashionable Union Street. He went on to build with two partners, the Refectory Steak House chain, a company that grew to 20 locations before being sold.
The partners purchased Jake’s Famous Crawfish in Portland in 1971. McCormick then joined Doug Schmick to open McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants. An award winning chain that grew over 30 years from a single location with 37 employees to 94-locations with over 8,400 employees in U.S. and Canada. In January 2011, McCormick & Schmick’s was sold and McCormick made plans to retire in Bend, where he has been a homeowner since 1970.
Built in 1936, the Pine Tavern is not only one of Bend, Oregon’s best restaurants, but it’s a tradition for locals and tourists alike. The restaurant is designed with unique characteristics that appeal to everyone, including two giant Ponderosa pine trees growing in the middle of the dining area and cozy nooks.
Located in the heart of Downtown along Mirror Pond, the warm and friendly atmosphere and service is very welcoming. Not to mention, the hallmark hot scones served with honey butter and locally sourced produce, meats and ingredients. www.pinetavern.com.