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Brews and burgers at Talent's newest spot

There’s a sweet new spot in downtown Talent.

Pump House Burgers and Brew opened three weeks ago and is already a local favorite. I knew right off I’d be content thanks to a double lime in my before-dinner gin and tonic and a lovely sun-filled setting to enjoy it while I checked out the menu.

The Pump House is a pleasing place to hang out with friends on an afternoon, and just right for a sparkling date night, a family-friendly supper or a weekday takeout.

The Pump House menu is a good mix of burgers, salads, soups, sandwiches and desserts, more than you’d expect from a pub. At $10.25, The Local, a burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion and sauce, was grilled to order and tender and juicy.

An excellent burger often fails on account of the bun, but not at The Pump House. The brioche roll offered the right proportion of bun to burger and was dense enough to safely carry the fillings from plate to mouth.

Pump House beef comes from Cherry Street Meats in Medford, and for an additional $2 you can switch out the conventional beef for a grass-fed burger. Pacific Northwest brews and a nice lineup of specialty drinks are on the menu in addition to several ciders, kombuchas and local wines.

Lettuce boats filled with shredded pork with curry and coconut looked fine on a neighbor’s plate, and another table touted the cornmeal calamari, while folks at a third table preferred a housemade dressing to the bottled blue cheese that came with their order.

The Chop Shop Salad at $10.75 was more than enough for two, and a good mix of romaine, bacon, eggs, nuts and tomatoes. Next time, I’ll get this salad with dressing on the side.

The fries and tots are outstanding and come plain or with a variety of smothers, including chili, cheese, Parmesan, feta or even curds and brown gravy. These and the salads are generously portioned.

Pump House is self-service, sort of. You place your order for food and drink inside, and in about 15 minutes a server will bawl out your number to find you and bring plates to the table. Don’t forget to pick up silverware when you place your order, or your food will cool while you figure out why you didn’t get a fork with your serving. You’re also asked to bus your table, which I neglected to do (sorry about that).

Pump House Burgers and Brew is the newest restaurant for Garth Evey and Jeven Showers — they opened Ashland’s Taqueria Picaro in 2015 — and it is a beauty. Large graphic art pieces draw the eye upward and outward — a tin Mobil sign near the door, the front end of a rusted-out GMC truck over the bar, and an exquisite wall piece by local artist Kevin Christman add to the visual delight of the new eatery and pub.

There is comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, with a good mix of tables and bar seating for those who like to people watch. Outdoor diners are shaded from the late afternoon sun by fabric panels that cast a cooling shadow over the patio area, and just now the patio is framed by a profusion of roses. In cooler weather, outdoor conversational seating will be warmed by gas fire pits on both sides of the restaurant.

Downtown Talent is so walkable that you’ll prefer the friendly neighborhood feel of just stopping in whenever. But you can also secure your bike to the railings that shape the outdoor patio, and there’s plenty of on-street parking. Pump House Burgers & Brew is at 102 Talent Ave., across the street from Camelot Theatre, and is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Call ahead to 541-897-0060 for takeout.

A good mix of burgers, salads, soups, sandwiches and beverages are available at Pump House Burgers and Brew in Talent. [Photo by Maureen Battistella]