Sometimes it's a tip from our friends and readers that leads us to new favorites.
That was the case for me with Quality Market. Although it had made headlines a few months ago with its grand reopening, clean remodel and new beer growler station, I hadn't checked it out and certainly hadn't considered it as a lunch spot. I passed the market daily, located at 1211 E. Jackson St. in Medford. Then an editor made passing reference to the great burgers and shakes she'd heard were there through one of her friends.
Dining out with
the Mail Tribune
1211 E. Jackson St.
Open 6 a.m. to midnight
Mondays through Fridays
and 7 a.m. to midnight
Saturdays and Sundays
"Hearsay!" I can imagine readers saying. I was skeptical, too. That's where I come in, because I'm in the business of verifying such claims — especially when they're claims involving cheeseburgers.
My skepticism didn't fade when I first entered the market. The only mention of burgers I saw upon entering was a "From the Grill" section on a clean but not very noticeable menu posted above the associate at the register. Sandwiches and grilled cheese joined single, double and triple burgers on the menu, along with local market standards such as corn dogs, jo-jos, fried burritos and chicken on a stick in the hot case.
I ordered a double with American cheese in a basket with everything on it ($6.49), and my co-worker opted for a single with American cheese and fries ($4.99). The basket included a 32-ounce soft drink.
I liked that the market had an expanded selection of Pepsi products at the fountain. Among standards such as Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist were Orange Crush, Wild Cherry Pepsi, diet and regular Dr. Pepper, root beer, raspberry iced tea and lemonade. Next to the fountain were a couple of freshly brewed iced tea options.
We sat at one of the three black and chrome, bar-stool-height tables at the front of the market and waited while the cashier rang up other customers and our patties sizzled.
The wait was about 10 minutes, and the burgers arrived larger and fresher than I had imagined. My burger came trimmed with two large, seasoned patties, crisp iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickles. All of the trimmings seemed freshly cut, and the patties were savory and well-cooked.
The sauce choices were mayo, mustard and/or ketchup. More notably, I was glad to find another place in the valley that grills the bun. Most establishments settle for toasting them — it's just not the same.
As satisfied as I was with my burger, the fries are what made me a regular. They're fresh-cut and were prepared while the patties cooked. Even better, there was an abundance of them in the meal-sized, plastic foam clamshells.
The market also offers hand-scooped ice cream and shakes. I ordered a small chocolate shake ($2.99). The cashier started my shake after the burgers were ready. The shake was nicely mixed using Umpqua Dutch Chocolate ice cream as a base and was served in a plastic foam cup that was too full.
There's no getting around the wait involved — I've been back for burgers twice since my first visit, and both of those times I waited about 15 minutes. But those with a little time to spare who are looking for something bigger and better than fast food at lower than fast-food prices owe themselves a visit to Quality Market, serving from 6 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Fridays and 7 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sundays. Call 541-608-2800.