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Marigold's has decades of roots in the industry

If experience makes the difference, the anchor restaurant at Cobblestone Village on Riverside Avenue in Medford will be around for a long time.

Owners John and Debi Waldron, who have been in the restaurant business a combined 80 years, have just opened Marigold's and JDUB's for breakfast, lunch and supper.

John's parents opened the Tom Tom restaurant in Roseburg in 1962, and he jumped into the action at the ripe young age of 13. The couple have been married for 32 years.

"Although I've done other things along the way, you can't be married to a restaurant family without being part of the restaurant," Debi Waldron said.

The 3,000-square-foot restaurant, at 1253 N. Riverside Ave., opened as The Treehouse in 1984. That restaurant closed in 1986 and the location then housed Azteca for many years before going through a succession of owners and name changes. Last fall, a friend of a friend asked the Waldrons whether they knew of anyone who would make a good proprietor for the location.

(Correction: The history of restaurants at this location has been updated in this story.)

They decided to scout out the location for themselves and found it intriguing.

"We saw it for ourselves in the first part of October before talking to someone else about it," Debi Waldron said.

With the Old Farmhouse Restaurant down the street shuttered and Marie Callender's on Biddle Road sidelined by a catastrophic fire, there is a real void, they said.

"We found in driving around the area where the restaurant is located that there wasn't any like us," she said. "We thought it would be a good fit and decided to pursue it."

The location doesn't appear to have been what sank previous tenants at Cobblestone Village.

"From what I've been told, the restaurants that didn't do well had management trouble," Debi Waldron said. "This isn't an easy industry. You have to be willing to work hard for nothing for a while — that's just the way it goes."

John Waldron's parents retired and sold the Tom Tom in 1976. But, as often is the case in the restaurant world, the new owners failed, and the family took back the business, putting John in charge. In 1986, the Waldrons were ready to move on to something else. But four years later they got the Tom Tom keys back and renamed it Waldrons' Tom Tom.

The new Medford restaurant will employ about 35 people, Debi Waldron said.

"We are getting a chance to feature some dinner ideas and lunch items here that we don't do in Roseburg," she said. "Mostly because we have some talented cooks in the kitchen."

The hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The bar will typically be open an hour after the restaurant closes.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/EconomicEdge.

Longtime restaurateurs Debi Waldron and her husband, John, have opened Marigold's restaurant in Medford's Cobblestone Village. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Bob Pennell