Now that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Allen Elizabethan Theatre has opened and the Green Shows have started, downtown Ashland embarks on its busiest tourist months. The new Harvey's Place downtown is a dining destination worth braving the crowds.
Midway between OSF and the Plaza at 50 E. Main St., which formerly housed Chateaulin Restaurant, Harvey's Place offers upscale American cuisine. While prices and ingredient lists on the menu outside back up that claim, the inside offers a far more accessible atmosphere. Weathered wood and brick walls give the feeling of a brewpub rather than a high-end dining establishment, which definitely earns it points in my book.
I learned from my waitress that the restaurant opened in late May to no real fanfare but has had a steady stream of customers since its opening. This may be due to the restaurant's involvement with the A Taste of Ashland event in April.
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50 E. Main St.
Open 4:30 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday through Sunday
The menu offers varying seafood dishes and American staples. A few dishes caught my eye, including the Diver Scallops — served with sweet corn soubise, cherry tomatoes, shallots, crimini mushrooms and edamame in Champagne beurre blanc and Sriracha oil — for $26, and a grilled cheese — four cheeses on Dave's Killer Bread with homemade creamy tomato soup — for $11. I also had heard glowing reviews about Harvey's ribs, which debuted at A Taste of Ashland and are served as an order of three from 5:30 p.m. until they're gone Fridays and Saturdays. Unfortunately I came on a Tuesday. I eventually settled on the half-pound burger for $13.50.
This was unlike any burger I've ever had. It was simultaneously simple and complex. The beef burger featured Jarlsberg cheese, house sauce, sautéed shitake mushrooms and shallots on a pretzel bun. The patty was seasoned in a way that accented the toppings without overpowering them. It was served with french fries tossed in a mix of truffle and Sriracha oil.
The restaurant's drink menu features an extensive list of cocktails, premium spirits and a good selection of beer and cider on tap and bottled. I opted to wait until a later visit with friends to order from it, but a quick perusal found it to include drinks tailored to a variety of palates.
Harvey's Place also touts a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Even during a fairly busy dinner service, my waitress was able to take the time to answer questions about my food and the restaurant itself. She seemed genuinely excited to work there.
With delicious food, friendly staff and an accessible atmosphere, Harvey's Place would be a great spot for date night, guys night, girls night, special occasions, out-of-town guests or even, like myself, someone seeking good food after work on a Tuesday night.
Harvey's Place is open from 4:30 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Sunday. Call 541-488-9511.