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Food options turn scarce

Martin Luther King Jr. Day isn&

t the reason the restaurants in downtown Ashland close in January.

At least one eatery closed its doors to honor the slain civil rights leader, shifting plans for a surprise birthday party on Monday evening. At least six others have taken winter vacations and several more have reduced offerings to dinner-only fare or weekend-exclusive hours.

&

Where are we going to go for the birthday?&

Ashland High student Krystal Rountree, 14, asked.

Rountree, Emily Cohran, 14, and Danielle Scumway, 15, met at Pangea for a friend&

s surprise birthday party. Instead, they were caught off-guard with a handwritten closed notice taped to the front door.

When the birthday girl, her mother and other friends arrived, the group quickly relocated the party across East Main Street at Lithia Fountain and Grill.

— — Seasonal Closures

— — Louie&

s, The Black Sheep, Munchies, Starbucks, Standing Stone, Lark&

s, — Evos, Pasta Piatti, Los Gordos, Beau Club, Geppetto&

s, The Irish Pub, — Tabu, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Big Town Hero, Siskiyou Brew Pub, — Creekside Pizza Bistro — Limited Hours Zingaro (dinner only) Kat Wok (dinner only) Quinz open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner Alex&

s opens at 5 p.m. Mondays, 11:30 a.m. the rest of the week Macaroni&

s (dinner only) Marty&

s BBQ open Tuesday through Sunday Amuse open Wednesday for Sunday (dinner only) Brother&

s 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thai Pepper (dinner only) — Closed Monday (with no hours listed) Plaza Cafe Deep&

s Indian Cuisine Ashland Fudge Co. Martino&

s (lunch menu) Zoey&

s Cafe Water Street Cafe Il Giardino — Extended Closures &

149; Bento East closes Jan. 21 until Feb. 7 &

149; Agave until Feb. 20 &

149; Pilaf until Feb. — &

149; Ashland Bakery Cafe until Feb. 9 &

149; Chateaulin until Jan. 27 &

149; Greenleaf until Feb. — — SOURCE: A foot tour Monday investigating signs in front windows.

But regular hours &

or even a lunch menu &

can be hard to find on the Plaza and through downtown.

Almost 20 restaurants, bars and coffee shops, will maintain regular hours through the winter. However, a half-dozen posted signs apologizing for extended closures. Agave, the Ashland Bakery Cafe, Bento East, Chateaulin, Greenleaf and Pilaf closed around the holidays and will reopen between Jan. 27 and Feb. 20, just in time the premiere of &

The Winter&

s Tale&

on Feb. 17 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Several of the closed eateries explained the shutdowns were to make repairs and clean the facility, a usual off-season activity.

&

They refurbish, they paint, they take vacation. It&

s their time,&

said Mary Pat Parker, Ashland Chamber of Commerce tourism marketing manager. &

It&

s very normal.&

Others drop lunch menus during the winter or only open their doors for weekend patrons.

Then there are the ones that were just dark on Monday. Seven other restaurants with closed signs in the window didn&

t list hours, making it unclear of the eateries were honoring King, a weekend-only establishment in January or shut down for a winter vacation.

The aroma wafting from Deep&

s Indian Cuisine on Monday evening smelled open, but four signs in three windows declared the restaurant closed. At the Plaza Cafe and the Water Street Cafe, lights were on but no one was home. Il Giardino, the Ashland Fudge Co. and Zoey&

s Cafe were dark. Martino&

s won&

t start serving lunch again until the weather warms enough for people to sit on the patio next to the Bowmer Theater.

The reduction of restaurant choices may frustrate hungry people in search of vegetarian fare, a Martino&

s Caesar salad or fish tacos, but the closures benefit the eateries left in operation through the winter.

&

Typically it&

s the slowest time of the year for us,&

Parker said, but, &

the restaurants that are open are reporting really good business.&

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 x 225 or jsquires@dailytidings.com.