This year's favorite new restaurant, Cicily's Pastaria & Grill, at 1251 E. McAndrews Road, Suite 110, is the latest effort from a couple who own other eateries across the Rogue Valley.
Zoe and Ryan Lehmann got their start locally with Zoey's Cafe in Phoenix in 2003, then moved that venture to downtown Ashland two years later. They also own Mongolian BBQ in the Medford Center.
The Italian restaurant they opened June 2, in a location that previously had been a steakhouse, carries their daughter's name and fulfills a dream Zoe Lehmann had held since serving a chef's apprenticeship cooking seafood Italian-style.
Ryan Lehmann says their passion for making fresh, from-scratch Italian food has won over customers.
"It's something that we take pride in and our guests comment on," he says.
The couple and their employees shop at farmers markets and build specials from what they find there. Cicily's menu also features lots of fresh seafood and classic pasta dishes. Affordable paninis have proved popular at lunch, Lehmann says.
Other favorites: Togo's Sandwiches, Medford; and Sunrise Cafe, Medford, and the Playwright Public House, Ashland (tie).