Brunch at Wiley's World Pasta Shoppe may be one of Ashland's best-kept secrets. Who would guess this small, somewhat rustic eatery — known for the past 18 years for its handmade pasta — serves delicious egg dishes and morning-meal specialties on weekends?
The restaurant with just 10 tables, a small kitchen and in-house pasta-making operation added brunch last year, and the new items are prepared with all of Wiley's longtime commitment to fresh, organic and locally produced food. Yet nothing for brunch is priced higher than $11.95, making it less expensive than several other breakfast establishments in town.
Dining out with
the Mail Tribune
Wiley's World Pasta Shoppe
1606 Ashland St.
Brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; lunch and dinner from 11 a.m.
to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. Daily lunch hours will
resume in the spring.
A new acquaintance and I arrived at the eatery around 11 a.m. last Saturday. Considering the restaurant's size, I expected a wait, but we found the small dining room empty. Granted, it was the first weekend after the holiday, and perhaps most folks were happy to stay home.
After a couple of mugs of some sturdy, organic Cafe Mam, my new friend and I were well on our way to a lively discussion of life in general. It was nearly noon — when other diners started filing in — before we placed our orders.
Customers can choose from a relatively short list of crowd-pleasing dishes — omelets, scrambles and Benedicts — each accompanied by home-fried potatoes or fresh fruit. The build-your-own breakfast offers more than 20 meat, cheese and veggie additions, including smoked wild salmon.
Wiley's owners say their format allows diners to personalize meals to just about any dietary requirement or preference, such as gluten-free or vegan. House-made waffles satisfy on the gluten-free front while Wiley's traditional bread contains no animal-derived ingredients. Scrambled tofu also is available.
In addition to organic eggs, the fruit, vegetables, herbs, coffee, juice, even maple syrup are organic. Wiley's increasingly buys produce from small, local farmers who can't afford organic certification but still use sustainable practices, say owners.
Yet Wiley's makes a point of pouring organic orange juice with the sparkling wine for its breakfast mimosa.
After long consideration, my friend and I each chose the veggie Benedict ($11.95) for our brunch, opting for the side of home fries.
When our food arrived, we couldn't have been more pleased. The sunny plates included two perfectly cooked, poached eggs sitting atop English muffins stacked with sliced avocado and tomato and smothered with delectable hollandaise. A side of cooked greens accompanied the dish, and a sweet, sliced, dark-red strawberry provided garnish. Tomatoes, avocados and strawberries are a bit out of season, but these ingredients were decidedly fresh, colorful and flavorful.
Other specialties tempted: Eggs in purgatory features two eggs simmered in garlic, olive oil and herb marinara, topped with Parmesan and fresh basil ($10.95); and the homemade, gluten-free waffle breakfast is served with fresh fruit and whipped cream ($7.95).
Our server offered to bring us a child's portion of the waffle breakfast ($5.95) as a sample. It's a delicious alternative to traditional batter-cakes, and this one was topped with a pretty rosette of sliced banana and strawberry.
I've enjoyed dinner in the past at Wiley's. My favorites are angel hair with Alfredo and cheese-and-spinach ravioli. Wiley's pasta dishes are served with organic green salad with red-onion and poppy-seed vinaigrette, as well as fresh bread.
The ravioli stuffed with house-smoked chicken was reintroduced to Wiley's menu based on customer demand, say owners, and "Julie's toss" of feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and a choice of noodle is even more delicious with the addition of wild Pacific bay shrimp.
The restaurant offers domestic and imported wines by the glass and bottle, along with local and other domestic bottled beers. Also look for organic juices, lemonade, sodas, milk teas and coffees.
A la carte, smaller-size and super-size pasta dishes are available, along with uncooked pasta and sauces to take home.
The restaurant is at 1606 Ashland St. — an easy walk from Southern Oregon University and about two miles from Ashland's downtown. Call 541-488-0285 or see www.wileysworld.com.
— Laurie Heuston