Since You Asked: Co-op site was home to many businesses

What is the restaurant history in the building which is now the new Medford Co-op? I remember eating lunch at a delightful restaurant with an outdoor patio buffet and having several great dinners indoors when I first arrived here in 1982 (I think it was Jerry's, but can't be sure of that. Jerry's might have been another restaurant open around that time). I believe it was something else after that and before it became the Burgundy House.

— Barbara G., via email

The new home of the Medford Food Co-op was the old home of a long list of businesses, Barbara, and as you correctly remember, several of them were restaurants.

Hungry for knowledge, the sleuths here at the Since You Asked World Headquarters turned to a man who has known his fair share of local restaurants over the years — Cleve Twitchell, former Tempo editor and longtime restaurant reviewer for the Mail Tribune.

Indeed, Cleve had some memories to share:

"The place first opened as London's, a fine dinnerhouse, probably in the late 1970s or early 1980s," Cleve wrote in an email. "Then it briefly became Wild Bill's Beef Palace.

"Later it housed a dinnerhouse called Jimmy's, noted for serving soup with its two-course dinners instead of salad.

"And then it was the Burgundy House for quite awhile, noted for its high wingback chairs. MT Women's Editor Olive Starcher complained, 'You can't see who's there and what they're wearing.' "

Cleve also recalled it later became either a Mexican or Italian restaurant and recalled taking a Swedish exchange student there, probably in 1986 or '87. Because one of the recent eateries there was called Rudolph's, we're going with Italian.

From our more recent stories, we know the 9,000-square-foot building has also housed offices for Asante Health Systems and, most recently, a daycare center called Stepping Stone Academy. The building had been vacant for about a year an a half when the co-op board settled on it as a location.

The Medford Food Co-op is scheduled to open on Aug. 13.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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