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J's Bistro opens in Railroad District

Three guys, all with names that start with J — Jeff, John, Josef, all native Rogue Valley folk — have started a new restaurant on A Street with reasonable prices, hearty portions, and “home-style” cooking, not to mention live music and dance. It's named, appropriately and diplomatically, J's Bistro.

The spot, centrally located at 258 A St. in the Railroad District, across from Ashland General Hardware, has known a long series of restaurants — Leela’s, Playwrights, Public House — the last one appealing unsuccessfully to high-end diners, sans music.

But what the place wants, say new owners, is a restaurant that locals can love, with basic, nutritious, locally grown food that, says co-owner John Bartow, includes pasta, a Thai dish, Swedish meatballs, pork chops, huge salads, with nothing over $14 — plus a full bar and gobs of vino from the Rogue Valley (mainly the Applegate), malbec, merlot, blend, some of it under their label, Dancing Cats.

In a valley where the first question on meeting someone is “where ya from,” this longtime trio can crow that Jeff Lindow is native to Ashland, Bartow from the Applegate and Josef Banuelos from Medford.

Jeff and John are life and business partners for 28 years. This is their fourth area restaurant and their pattern, with Joseph Banuelos, a co-chef for 15 years, is to shape it into a highly successful eatery and, after many years, sell it, and move on to a bit of retirement, then start another.

“John and Josef make all the menus, all the dressings, sauces and desserts, and do it as local as they can,” says Lindow. “They know what they’re doing in the kitchen and I know what I’m doing out front.”

Asked to characterize the offerings, Bartow says, “We serve locals with fresh, good food, good in quality and quantity. We live in Talent and often we don’t come to Ashland to eat because we go home hungry.”

They did a “soft open” Nov. 1 and, after the holidays, will create a schedule locals want, says Lindow. Right now it’s Tuesdays through Friday and includes lunch. Music is scheduled on Fridays and tends toward jazz, R&B and a bit of rock, done with duos and trios. They do special events, life celebrations, office parties, wine pairings, winemaker dinners.

A drag night is slated with four female impersonators for Dec. 15, jazz with Rick Millware on Dec. 22 and a jazzy holiday show with Annieville and Halliburton on Dec. 29.

For more, go to See jsbistroast.com for details.