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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Loft Brasserie & Bar

The Loft Brasserie and Bar

Fresh French Comfort in Style

Story by Cheri Hammons

When Loft Brasserie and Bar opened in 2009 during the recession, some might have called it a brave move. But in the five years since opening their doors above the Ashland Plaza, owners Jacqueline and Jeremy Vidalo have proven their staying power as young entrepreneurs in the restaurant industry.

With a loyal following that has grown to love their creative and comforting menu items along with ideals and ethics that keep their patrons happy and healthy consumers of the highest quality ingredients locally available, the Vidalos have enthusiastically created a hub of excellence in the most stylish and delicious way possible.

Inspired by their mutual love of French food and European culture—she fell in love with French cuisine during her travels through Europe, he loves the casual French brasserie style—Jacqueline says the concept came as a way to indulge themselves in what they loved.

“We said, well, we’re just going to open a restaurant that we want to eat at and cross our fingers that other people like the same food that we do,” she says with a laugh. And the last five years of Loft’s wild success prove they have excellent taste.

Jeremy grew up cooking in his parent’s Indian restaurant since he was tall enough to reach the tandoor oven at the age of 10. “He decided that if he could reach the oven, he could get his hand on the saucepan, and he said this is what I want to do,” says Jacqueline.

She got into the restaurant industry as a way to put herself through college after her travels through Europe. Over the years she tirelessly worked her way up from server to now, restaurant owner. With both of them being so heavily involved in the industry for so long, it just made sense for them to open a restaurant, she says.

Jacqueline is passionate about making sure they are presenting only the finest ingredients. The food is sourced from local farmers who practice sustainable, organic agriculture.

“I’m extremely picky when it comes to produce and meat. I need to know if it’s sustainable and how is it harvested,” she says.

The menu is seasonal to support only the freshest ingredients, with a few dishes that, according to Jacqueline, “we can’t take off the menu or people might actually get pitchforks and revolt.”

Among the menu items that Loft’s die-hard patrons are willing to do anything for, she says, the Brasserie Burger is probably the most popular. Some others that have equal standing on the top tiers of creative deliciousness are the fresh Dungeness crab macaroni gratin, which Jacqueline says is practically its own food group; the Provençal-style bouillabaisse, another she promises will always satisfy; and of course, the fall-off-the-bone-tender lamb shanks are another item you can never go wrong with, she says.

The Loft is currently in the middle of an expansion, expected to be done mid July, that will see the inclusion of what Jacqueline calls a “proper bar”—a solarium style area overlooking beautiful Ashland creek. They’re also adding in a small patio and fire pit, which she excitedly and fittingly calls the Solarium Bar and Fire Pit Lounge.

“We couldn’t be more excited about it. We’ve been more of a restaurant but we’re really hoping to invite more people in for just a drink and a nibble and let them know they don’t have to have full dinner. It’s a bit more casual.”

 

Loft Brasserie and Bar

18 Calle Guanajuato, Ashland

541-482-1116

www.loftbrasserie.com

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