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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Restaurant Spotlight - Brickroom

Chow

Restaurant Spotlight

Brickroom Gathering House

Creating community in Downtown Ashland

Story by Valerie Coulman

Photography by Ezra Marcos

 

When a family with a knack for combining creativity and community sees an opportunity open, exciting things can happen. For Eli Katkin, that opportunity was right over his head in downtown Ashland 

“I’ve always known I’d love to work in the restaurant industry someday,” says Katkin. And when space became available in a Victorian building on Ashland Plaza at the gateway to Lithia Park, it seemed like the right time had come.

Katkin was familiar with the building after working with his mother, Gina Katkin, and sister, Anahata Katkin, owners and managers of Papaya! Living and Jupiter Row, both located on the ground level below Brickroom. Sitting at the core of Ashland’s bustling creative community, the location was ideal.

“This building has been here since 1866 and has always been the heart of the community,” says Katkin. “Before us, this space was the iconic Ashland location called Alex’s. I’ve always been in love with this space and when this opportunity came available, I couldn’t NOT jump on it.” Seeing a chance for something unique, Katkin and his mother, Gina, began plans to open Brickroom Gathering House as co-owners

Katkin, with Anahata’s design inspiration and direction, began renovations in early 2014 and opened the Brickroom Gathering House in August of the same year. Together, they’ve created a relaxed, urban chic dining space that combines both the timber-and-brick warmth of the historic building with contemporary design elements, textures and colors. “There’s a perfect balance,” says Katkin. “It shows itself in how well the space looks and works.”

Attention to detail, like the geometric designs on the stair risers, bar front and custom-stained table tops, carries through the restaurant to create a subtle harmony that perfectly complements the dishes that they offer on their “Brickfast,” lunch and dinner menus. The events at the restaurant also offer a variety of options, with live music, comedy and theme nights appearing regularly on their calendar.

Head chef Skye Elder has been pivotal in establishing a unique and flavorful menu. “We needed a professional and innovative chef,” says Katkin. “We’re open 16 hours a day and the challenge of balancing three menus for the day can be formidable. But he has really nailed it.” With organic and locally sourced ingredients as the foundation of their menus, Brickroom offers a variety of small plate entrees and sides with options portioned to share or to indulge in a sampling of flavors throughout the day. 

Elder, whose career has included restaurants in Portland, Bend and Jacksonville, loves the variety of foods available to him locally because of the diverse microclimates in the region. “You can find more options in Southern Oregon than almost anywhere in the world, honestly,” says Elder, who has built connections with growers throughout the valley to create unique interpretations of both comfort foods and international flavors. An example is their Panacea Ginseng Wellness Soup, a Far East-inspired dish that features both American white and Argentinian red ginseng. “What better place to serve this,” says Elder, “than right here in Ashland, a center for wellness itself.”

Whether enjoying the capacious solid bar, dining with friends on the balcony overlooking Ashland Creek, or finding a quiet corner with a laptop and a coffee, Katkin’s goal continues to be to provide a place where the community will find room to connect. “As you grow into a community, you get to meet more and varied people, and connections grow stronger. We want to maintain what we’ve been doing,” says Katkin, who then smiles, “and improve on it, of course.”

 

Brickroom Gathering House

35 N Main St., Ashland

541-708-6030

www.brickroomashland.com

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