Geared toward the local crowd, Ashland's newest bar is the closest thing to a sports fan's paradise on this side of the Rogue Valley.

ASHLAND — Geared toward the local crowd, Ashland's newest bar is the closest thing to a sports fan's paradise on this side of the Rogue Valley.

The Red Zone Sports Bar and Grill, 303 E. Main St., opened its doors Sept. 23, after the building's former restaurant, Tease, closed shop last June.

Owners Austin Loreman, 26, of Ashland and his father in-law, Rick Krebs, 44, of Medford said the venture started out as a whim.

"I mentioned to my fiance one night, that I thought I wanted to open my own spot here in Ashland," said Loreman.

"Ironically, her dad had kind of said the same thing to her."

Chanell Loreman, 22, Austin's soon-to-be wife, who already had her last name changed, was online the next day, looking up properties in Ashland for a business location.

"It started to become a reality fast," said Loreman, "and things just kind of fell into place."

The father-son duo took out a five-year lease on the building; went ahead with some minor remolding, for a larger walk-in cooler in the basement and a separate lottery machine room in the bar, and opened for business.

The Red Zone has 12 types of beer on tap to go along with a full bar. And, although patron can still enjoy the usual, and a few unusual, deep-fried bar favorites off its menu, Loreman and Krebs wanted to offer a little bit more.

"Our menu is something we're actually really proud of," Loreman said. "It's big. We try to keep it cheap, and we cook to order."

He said, besides most of the appetizers, the bar offers only fresh, never frozen food.

Sandwiches, salads, slow cooked pulled pork, tri-tip steak, and deep fried pickles and green beans, are a few of the items.

"Our burgers are a third of a pound, so they're a little bit bigger," said Loreman.

And for the deep fried pickles and green beans; "Man they're good," he said. "I don't like a regular pickle, but deep fried, you've got to try it."

The bar's burgers are all hand pounded in the kitchen, and the fries hand cut; it also offers vegetarian options, Loreman said.

The Red Zone can seat about 58 people, and has 14 TVs. Each of them, aside from two, are 40-inch screens or larger, and each of them, aside from one, are hooked up to separate satellite boxes. That way, the bar can show a different channel on each screen.

"Which is a huge plus," said Loreman. "On Sundays, if there are 11 games on in the morning, we can show them all."

Loreman, said the bar also plans to buy the Ultimate Fighting Championship fights, for Ashland's mixed martial arts fans.

"I'm a huge sports fan," he said. "It doesn't matter what it is, I live and breath sports."

Loreman, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Southern Oregon University, in 2003, said he would like to build a strong connection between his business and the University.

"You go up to a bar in Eugene, and all you see in U of O stuff. Even in Klamath Falls, there's OIT stuff everywhere," he said. "That's what I want here. I want it to be the university's bar."

Krebs, who also owns Ashland Tan, said it's been a busy first two weeks for the new bar and grill, and he's looking forward to what's around the corner.

"We just appreciate the opportunity the community has given us to do this, because, really, we depend on them," he said. "They've been supporting us so far, and it's been great."

The Red Zone's hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Friday.

Loreman said he wants the bar and grill to be a long-standing business in Ashland, and eventually the traditional watering hole for local sports fans.

"The tourists will always be there," he said, "and we'll enjoy the boost they bring, but it's the people that live here 12 months a year that I want to walk through that door and feel comfortable."

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email swheeler@dailytiding.com.