February is a great time for locals to check out Ashland’s lively restaurant scene — before the crush of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival season, and at a time when many eateries are offering discounts.
It’s the annual Ashland Restaurant Week, Feb. 5-11, and Culinary Month, all of February, sponsored by Travel Ashland, the visitor and convention bureau arm of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s our chance to showcase Ashland’s culinary scene with more than 100 great restaurants,” said Kelsey Frantz, logistics coordinator for Travel Ashland events. “Visitors and locals alike will be able to take advantage of delicious specials and there will be tie-in events all month long.”
About 30 participating restaurants will have specials during Restaurant Week. Some examples: Hearsay Restaurant will offer three-course locals’ specials for $19.95; Ostras will give diners 20 percent off all tapas if they mention Restaurant Week; and Peerless Restaurant will have a three-course chef’s tasting menu for $35 throughout February.
For information about these and other specials, go to travelashland.com and click on Culinary Month.
Some culinary events will be held at local wineries.
“Irvine & Roberts Vineyards will host a cooking class on Feb. 6,” said Frantz, “featuring Chef Jordan Harto of Ostras Restaurant.” Tickets are limited for the event, which also includes dinner.
“And every Sunday in February, Weisinger Family Winery will offer wine and food pairings in its tasting room,” she said.
Other happenings during the month include live music, cocktail and cooking classes, and special tastings at a couple dozen local wineries.
Theaters and hotels haven’t been left out of the mix.
“It’s all about how we can work together to promote our area,” Frantz said.
Getaway packages and theater happenings round out the offerings during Culinary Month, with participation by the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Camelot Theatre, Ashland Hills Hotel Suites, Ashland Springs Hotel and others.
Check the website for up-to-date listings of specials, events, and packages.
For happy hour fans, there will be several special menus and events at local restaurants and bars.
Gift certificate drawings will be offered again this year.
“Each participating business will donate two $25 gift certificates, and one lucky participant will win the grand prize, a culinary basket filled with many wonderful prizes,” Frantz said.
Entry forms are posted online and will be available at participating businesses. Travel Ashland is offering extra entries to fans who post new Restaurant Week photos to its Instagram account.
Restaurant Week and Culinary Month are promoted in the local newspaper entertainment sections, Tempo and Revels, as well as in Travel Ashland’s e-newsletter, and in social media. While locals represent a large portion of participants, the event also draws heavily from all of Southern Oregon and Northern California, Frantz said.
—Jim Flint is a retired newspaper publisher and editor and can be reached at email@example.com.