A new convenience market, the South Town Market & Deli, recently opened in the 1500 block of Siskiyou Boulevard next to Breeze Botanicals in Ashland.

Like all convenience stores, it sells a wide array of beers, wines and “pre-fab” snack foods, such as corn dogs and fried chicken. But the new market's unique twist comes from the Indian foods you'll find there. 

The market is the creation of Rick Badri, a native of India who arrived in the Rogue Valley from California four years ago. He is the scion of the Crown market chain, which has outlets in Medford, Phoenix and Talent, but he stresses that this store is his, having no connection with his father’s chain.

The store is still coming together and will feature a “full-size hot and cold deli” with fried chicken, pizza, breakfast burritos and hot and cold sandwiches (turkey, ham, roast beef), salads, wraps, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, macaroni salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, and “high-end organic coffee, ready to drink.”

Take-home, frozen Indian foods include chicken curry, chicken tikka masala (tomato-based), dal makhani (a lentil-bean-cream dish), saag (curried greens) and many vegetable entrees. All draw from a range of Indian spices.

“It has the groceries that people need — canned food, baked goods, oils, snacks,” he says. “We saw this building for lease and picked Ashland because we thought it would be a good place to start a business. I am really optimistic about it. People like to grab stuff conveniently and not have to wait in line.”

Badri has three employees and plans to hire more. It’s located next to a campus full of Southern Oregon University students who are focused on studies and not so much on cooking their own meals. Its competition is the nearby 7-Eleven and the large deli at Market of Choice. It opened Nov. 18.

Asked about his customer demographic, he replied, “Everyone … and more customers are asking about the Indian foods than all the rest of the food.”

Badri came from India with his family when he was 16 and settled in Sacramento. He went to school there and in Roseburg, attending Umpqua Community College, and became a U.S. citizen.

Hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 7-10 Sundays.

— John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.