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July 25, 2006 Miles O’Hara-Brown enjoys a slice of pizza with David Brown at Giseppi’s Pizzeria on Tuesday. Amelia Wirts | Daily Tidings Cheap lunches abound in city Despite perceptions to th

Cheap lunches abound in city

Despite perceptions to the contrary

What with phone calls, checking e-mails and co-workers stopping by to talk about the latest project, taking a lunch break at your desk usually means not getting a break at all.

But where should you go for lunch in Ashland that won’t empty your wallet?

And what if you’re a traveler on a budget, or a tourist who wants to find a cheap lunch and then splurge on wine and an unforgettable dinner?

Despite its reputation for high-priced restaurants, Ashland has dozens of places to find lunch for $5 or less without resorting to fast food.

Like a basketball player who can shoot, dribble and pass, Señor Sam’s Mexican Grill, 1634 Ashland St., is a triple threat in the restaurant world with it’s inexpensive food, tasty flavors and generous servings.

The Smaller Plate menu features everything from Black Bean Soup and Tortillas for $3.29 to Baby Cheese Quesadilla Plate for $4.99. The plates come with rice, beans, salad, salsa and chips. There is nothing small about this lunch!

Other menu items include Meat Taco Chips for $2.99 and the Jr. Veggie Burrito for $4.99. Watch for small coupons that periodically appear in the Tidings offering a free drink plus 10 percent off food at Señor Sam’s.

In the same shopping plaza and just downhill and around the corner from D.J.’s Video, the Happy Falafel, 1690 Ashland St., has an array of Mediterranean offerings. A falafel — slightly spicy garbanzo fritters stuffed inside pita bread with cool cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes — is $3.95 for a small and $4.95 for a regular. As with Señor Sam’s, small sizes are still hefty.

Other pitas with a variety of fillings range from $2.25 to $4.95. While fries are otherwise not included in this article, Greek Fries with crumbled feta cheese and roasted garlic make a filling lunch for $2.75 for small and $4.25 for regular.

The one downside to the Happy Falafel is limited seating.

Also in the same shopping plaza, The Little Shop of Bagels, 1644 Ashland St., has hearty bagels with cream cheese for $2 to $2.50, or bagels with cream cheese and turkey or lox for $4.95. The veggie sandwich is $4.75.

Deals on pizza slices abound on this end of town.

Get a big slab of pizza or spaghetti plus a trip through the well-stocked salad bar for $4.95 at Northwest Pizza and Pasta Co., 1585 Siskiyou Blvd.

The Great American Pizza Company, 1448 Ashland St., has a lunch deal each day of different types of pizza slices for about $2. Add a small salad for $2.

Giseppi’s Pizzeria Sports Den, 1469 Siskiyou Blvd., has a $2 lunch special of a slice of cheese pizza plus a soft drink. That combo deal makes the pizzeria especially popular with teens and college students.

Although not in this cluster of restaurants, Cozmic Pizza in the A St. Marketplace has slices for $2.75 to $3.50.

Hidden inside the Market of Choice grocery store at 1475 Siskiyou Blvd., the deli has half sandwiches for $4.99 and a large assortment of pastas, salads and potato salads for $5.99 to $6.99 per pound. A serving size is about a half to a full pound, depending on the weight of the food item.

In the downtown Finding inexpensive lunches becomes harder in downtown Ashland, where higher rents and the focus on tourists pushes up rices.

But the shear number of restaurants means a little scouting yields a number of lunches for about $5 or less.

Don’t overlook the open-air Water Street Café at the corner of Water and North Main Streets. Hot dogs and Polish dogs are $2.95 and $3.95, respectively. But don’t expect a shriveled hot dog pulled from under a heat lamp. These are high-quality, spicy dogs grilled just for you.

The café also has bagels for $2.25 to $3.95, a quesadilla for $4.75 and a veggie burrito for $5.25.

You’ll do a double-take at the surprisingly low menu prices at Agave, 92 N. Main St. Although a really hungry person would probably need to order two, you can have a taco with everything from marinated, char-grilled steak to fish to shrimp to veggies for $2.50 to $4. Green chile and cheese, winter squash and portabella mushroom, pork or chicken tamales are $3.95.

If you’ve worked up an appetite, try a cheeseburger at Louie’s Bar Grill, 41 N. Main St., for $4.95 or a tostada with grilled chicken or steak for $4.25.

Lithia Fountain Grill, 303 E. Main St., has a host of items including a burger and fries or a Tillamook grilled cheese sandwich and fries for $5 when you buy a drink. For $4.95, get a garden burger, chicken breast sandwich with roasted red pepper or roasted eggplant sandwich there.

For a small but tasty treat, the Thai Pepper, 84 N. Main St., offers your choice of a Thai Spring Roll, Tiger Roll or Won Ton for $5.50.

Brothers’ Restaurant, 95 N. Main St., has Brothers’ Mother’s Chicken Soup, Gazpacho or Vegetarian Soup for $3.95 for a cup and $4.95 for a bowl. Half deli sandwiches are $5.50.

The vegetarian chili is filling at the Ashland Bakery Cafe, 38 E. Main St. and comes with freshly baked bread for $3.95 for a cup and $4.95 for a bowl. Try Ortega con Queso, a cream-cheese based soup with green chilies and roasted red peppers, for $4.25 for a cup and $4.95 for a bowl at the underground Munchies Restaurant, 59 N. Main St.

Greenleaf Restaurant, 49 N. Main St., has half deli sandwiches for as low as $3.50 and a small fresh fruit salad for $2.50 or $4.95 for large. Dolmades, grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, are $3.95, while a baked potato with butter is $3.95, or $4.75 with sour cream and green onions.

Big Town Hero, 75 N. Main St., offers mini sub sandwiches for $3.95 to $4.50. Try smoked chicken with artichoke parmesan garlic spread and lettuce for $4.50 or barbecue beef with cheddar cheese and onions for $4.25.

Most half-sandwiches are $4.50 at Grilla Bites, 47 N. Main St. The Veggie Grilla is stuffed with guacamole, hummus, cucumbers, tomato, red onion, fresh mushrooms, sprouts, mozzarella and roasted red pepper vinaigrette. There is also Thai Tuna with dolphin-safe

tuna and smoked turkey with cranberries or pesto.

For a variation on the sandwich theme, try a panini, or Italian-style grilled sandwich, from the deli in Allyson’s of Ashland, 115 E. Main St., for $4.49 for a half panini. The Roma Panini has pepperoni, salami, cheese, tomatoes and onions, while vegetarians will like the Margarita Panini with mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto.

Of course, many restaurants around town offer salads for $5 or less. One notable salad for $4.75 is the regular House Greens salad with deliciously addictive caramelized walnuts and vinaigrette or blue cheese dressing at Standing Stone Brewing Company, 101 Oak St. The restaurant also has small pizzas, called pizzettas, for $6.75 to $7.75 that could feed two people with small to medium appetites.

Now, take that lunch break. You deserve it.

— — Ava Bowen, Taira Butler, Devon Dishong, and Mekenna Riley stop for a relatively inexpensive lunch last week at The Happy Falafel.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.

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