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They'll add `open' sign Tuesday

At depot restaurant-bar

The Medford Depot will set the table and open the taps on Tuesday, ending two years of preparation and restoration of the 88-year-old landmark.

The Medford Depot Restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, featuring a Pacific Northwest cuisine built around fresh foods.

Decisions on the menu were contingent on finding the right chef, owner Rodger Whipple said. Mick Holub seems to have the credentials and the ability.

Holub was most recently food and beverage director at Mill Casino in Coos Bay. He previously held that post at the Nugget Casino in Carson City, Nevada, and at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Holub was private chef for the Portland Trail Blazers at the Coliseum Club.

We're trying to use local products and vendors, Holub said. We are trying to develop an upscale restaurant without high prices and a stuffy atmosphere. This is going to be fun.

The luncheon menu features salads, pizza, gourmet burgers and appetizers priced from $6 to $10. Dinner entrees are $11 to $22 for sauteed venison tenderloin.

Holub spent three years as an instructor at Western Culinary Institute, where he was certified as an executive chef and culinary educator.

The restaurant will be open seven days a week with lunch from 11 to 4 and dinner from 5 to 10. A Sunday brunch is tentatively planned from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting April 5. The Front Street Social Club will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight.

Reservations will be taken for parties of six or more. The telephone number is 858-5723. Seating is available for 165 people indoors; another 100 places outdoors on the patio will be added when the weather permits.

Brewers Michael Maas and Michael Swartwood have finished three beers -- Pilsener, rye and stout -- and are preparing two more, a Scotch ale and a London porter from an 1850 recipe.

Swartwood, 26, earned a degree in environmental chemistry at Western Washington University, and studied brewing at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

They'll probably offer four seasonal brews, added Maas, a Southern Oregon resident since 1973. He worked with Hubert Smith at Wild River Brewery in Grants Pass and at Bank Brewery in Coos Bay.

Potential patrons try the door at the Front Street Social Club in the old Medford train depot. The Medford Depot Restaurant and its associated brewery and bar will open next week. - Photo by Jim Craven