Editor's Note: After this story went to press, the Mail Tribune received information that Julek's Polish Kitchen will not open during the Eat Local Challenge, due to delays in painting and equipping the restaurant.
Just in time for the seventh annual Eat Local Challenge, a new Talent restaurant plans to serve cuisine from half a world away.
Before Julek's Polish Kitchen had outfitted its dining room or purchased ingredients, it pledged to offer special dishes using 75 percent local ingredients in the upcoming week. Thirty other local eateries and food trucks took up the challenge organized by Thrive, a nonprofit economic-development and food-advocacy group.
Find a list of restaurants participating in the seventh annual Eat Local Challenge, an interactive calendar of events and tips for eating local at www.mailtribune.com/eatlocal.
"Local food can be an economical choice for restaurants ... because it lasts longer, and they can order what they need," says Wendy Siporen, Thrive's executive director.
Julek's owner Bogusia Klinefelter says she intends to purchase not only produce directly from local farmers but prepared foods from area artisans. Sauerkraut likely will come from Ashland's Pickled Planet to start, and Taylor's Sausage in Cave Junction has agreed to make links from Klinefelter's family recipe.
"I hear people being very excited about the food," she says.
While sausages are plenty familiar to local diners, other Eastern European specialties haven't been seen in Talent since Chata restaurant was sold in 2000 after 25 years in business. Klinefelter, 53, says she worked for Chata's Slowikowski family before the popular spot was reopened with a Micronesian-fusion menu and then closing for good several years later.
Julek's is Klinefelter's first restaurant, but she learned the trade at her aunt's establishment near the Baltic Sea in northern Poland. The name honors her father, who died two years ago but loved visiting the Rogue Valley, she says. Julek's menu will reflect the food of Klinefelter's childhood before convenience items changed it.
"I believe in very simple dishes, very old dishes," she says.
That means goulash, patés, pierogi — dumplings stuffed with potato, meat or cheese — and various preparations of cabbage.
"I will be using a lot of cabbage — fresh cabbage and sour cabbage," says Klinefelter. "I'm really focused on doing healthy."
The initial menu will be small, with most prices in the $15-to-$18 range for dinner, she says. Julek's also will serve local wines and Oregon beers but bring in some Polish beers for customers to try, she adds.
"I want to know what customers think," she says.
Some, like a man walking his dog past the strip mall on North Pacific Highway, have been anticipating Julek's debut since a sign went up in early August.
"I'll be waiting at the door," he says.
Julek's scheduled opening at 160 N. Pacific Highway is Friday, Sept. 14. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 541-941-9100. Service also is planned for Sunday, Sept. 16, to coincide with the Eat Local Challenge.
Reach Food Editor Sarah Lemon at 541-776-4487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.