The Southern Oregon culinary scene has been blossoming as local chefs expand their wings to fulfill creative dreams. Pop-ups entered the Southern Oregon dining scene over the last few years as chefs worked to test their culinary concepts without the heavy start-up expense. Some popups can be tricky with changing schedules and locations, but so far the only unpredictable, and fun, aspect of these Rogue Valley gems has been their menus, all to the delight of a hungry public.
Following successful runs as pop-ups, MÄS and Farm Kitchen are set to expand into permanent spaces in 2018. Over Easy‘s weekend brunch service is happily settled in Medford’s Downtown Market space. Read on for the rundown:
Jefferson Farm Kitchen
Jacksonville: Kristen Lyon, Chef-Owner
What’s it all about: With a long history in the Southern Oregon local food and sustainability movement, Chef Kristen has been serving up made-from-scratch, organic prepared meals for online ordering and pick-up. Partnering with local vendors such as Scott River Ranch, Pacific Ocean Harvesters, Forage and Plow, Wandering Roots, and Fry Family Farm allows her to keep a small footprint and ensure quality control. Her rotating weekly menu features in season fresh picked ingredients from which she creates healthy comfort dishes, such as pot pies, quiches, salads, granolas, pizzas, soups, ready to bake cookie doughs and pizza crusts. Gluten-free items available.
Update: Chef Kristen has given her weekly pick-up service a new home with the launch of her quaint, new kitchen market serving up lunch and dinner-to-go takeouts and cooking classes.
Open Tuesday 11-4 and Wednesday to Saturday 11-5, at 135 S. Oregon St., Jacksonville.
How to get a seat at the table: Subscribe on the website to her weekly newsletter for menu announcements or Stop in for last minute meal options.
Ashland: Josh Dorcak, Ashland Culinary Festival Top Chef ( 2015, 2016); Oregon Iron Chef 2017
What’s it all about: If you’re lucky enough, and quick enough, to get a ticket to MÄS, you will leave the table knowing what it means when a chef asks for more….more from himself as a cook and more from the community of diners to trust him enough to sit down and experience what he thinks you should be eating. Guaranteed, you will eat according to the mood of the day; what is fresh, hyperlocal, and in season; the tools at hand; and the weather. Each of Chef Dorcak’s pop-ups see the drama play out in as many as four to eight delicious acts. Each a work of art and never before seen.
How to get a seat at the table: Mix Bakeshop in Ashland steps aside for this weekly multi-course dinner on Sunday and Monday. Check the website for ticket availability and Dorcak’s gallery of photos from previous pop-ups. For announcements of future events (so you don’t miss your chance), follow Chef Dorcak on Facebook.
Update: Watch for Chef Dorcak to open his own spot at a cozy, renovated location on Will Dodge Way in downtown Ashland, coming Spring 2018.
Talent: Braden Hitt
What’s it all about: After heading up several Southern Oregon restaurant kitchens, Chef Hitt branched out on his own with Over Easy, a weekend-only breakfast and brunch pop-up, borrowing the theater-style kitchen at Downtown Market Company. Seeing slim brunch options in the downtown corridor, Chef Hitt stepped in to fill the void. Look for a menu of four dishes, three savory and one sweet (usually spectacular pancakes or waffles) that changes weekly. Expect hearty eclectic service showcasing creative uses of housemade charcuterie, savory sauces, and eggs.
How to get a seat at the table: Drop in between 9:00 and 1:15pm (last seating). Weekly menu is posted to their Facebook page. There are no reservations so it’s first come, first served. Unable to accommodate large parties. Patio seating in summer and early fall.
Editor’s note: Article re-published 2.15.18 with updated information and photos.