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MailTribune.com
  • Courting the downtown

    Medford resident envisions a bustling food court with carts and a tavern at a former car lot
  • A lively food-cart scene in downtown Medford could evolve into a smorgasbord of cheap eats for hungry workers and students.
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    • The changing face
      of downtown:
      A two-day series
      Coming Friday: More than a dozen vacant storefronts plague Main Street's core, but some say a new urban vibe is pumping life into downtown.
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      The changing face
      of downtown:

      A two-day series

      Coming Friday: More than a dozen vacant storefronts plague Main Street's core, but some say a new urban vibe is pumping life into downtown.
  • A lively food-cart scene in downtown Medford could evolve into a smorgasbord of cheap eats for hungry workers and students.
    "The more competition from stands around us, the more people will come," said Jaime Merlos, who runs Imperial Cuisine at the corner of Eighth Street and Riverside Avenue with his brother Ramone.
    Imperial Cuisine, which offers Mexican food and burgers, sits on a parking lot that could be crowded with food carts under a plan by Doug "Digger" O'Dell.
    He wants to convert the front-end alignment shop of the former Goodyear Tire store at 101 S. Riverside Ave. into a small tavern that would serve beer and wine to customers who would frequent at least six food carts in the parking lot.
    "If we can get the concept going, it will be really popular," O'Dell said.
    The 65-year-old Medford resident, who has run other businesses in town, has applied for a $28,000 facade-improvement grant from the Medford Urban Renewal Agency for the Digger Goodyear Tavern and Food Court. MURA could make a decision on the grant today.
    He plans to build a cooler on the front of the building, where brews would be chilled. Taps would be mounted on the interior wall, with a bar running down the middle of the building.
    An awning would be installed over the front to provide shade, and a roll-up door on the side of the building would be a nod to the building's previous incarnations as service station and alignment shop.
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