A Little Bit of Everything for Everybody at Wetlands Taphouse


(“There’s not another place in Oregon that has what we have,” claim owners of wetlands Taphouse | Photos by Andrea Hine)

Bend, with a population exceeding 105,000, has more than 30 food trucks, while La Pine — where less than 3,000 people officially reside — has six. And four of those food trucks can be found at Wetlands Taphouse — serving BBQ, pizza, chicken, and seafood, and an especially popular brisket, made fresh daily, that usually sells out well before the dinner crowd begs for more.

“We had initially planned to lease food truck space,” said Corey La Chapelle (one third of a three-person partnership along with his wife Lisa, and commercial realtor Kodiak Malmstrom) but as the lot was still dirt, and the venue unproven, “those we talked to didn’t see our vision. As the Wetlands Taphouse opening last October drew closer and closer, we sat down together and asked ourselves, ‘what’s something that’s not offered already?’ We wanted to be different, rather than compete with existing options.”

This desire “to be different” extends to the dramatic exteriors of the trucks, and the menus have proven so well liked that none of the original items have changed. “The fish truck is definitely our most popular,” La Chapelle noted, “with its ridiculosity fresh fish.”

Like the menu, the basic premise of Wetlands Taphouse — “café meets a live music venue meets a tap house,” in the words of Kodiak Malmstrom, remains unchanged since the venue’s opening last October. Likewise, the promise to provide “a little bit of everything for everybody.” However, the three partners have emphasized, “This is not a bar, but rather a place where working people can bring their families, 365 days a year.”

The attractions at Wetlands Taphouse — in addition to food trucks — include wi-fi and TV sets for sporting events; an outdoor pavilion measuring 1,500 square feet and 17-feet high with a six-foot firepit inside it; and a former grain silo that serves as the stage for live music. “We’re adding more bands this summer,” said La Chapelle.”

The outdoor ambience has drawn wedding receptions, political gatherings, anniversary and wedding celebrations, and even baby showers.

And to make it through the winter months, the partners commissioned a local artisan to create a heavy plastic and canvas enclosure. Praised Malmstrom, “even when temperatures dropped to 10 degrees below zero (with windchill factored in), people could sit inside the outdoor pavilion and feel warm. Some were even sweating.”

With the arrival of summer, the partners are “excited for the rest of the community that hasn’t been here yet to see how wonderful Wetlands is. There’s not another place in Oregon that has what we have.”



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