Four years after Over Easy “popped up” inside Downtown Market Co. at 231 E. Main St., Medford, it is still the only pop-up brunch destination in Medford. It’s just as good, or perhaps even more inventive, than when it first opened.
The limited seating space is often a deterrent for some diners, but if parties of just two or three are willing to wait, it’s not more than about 10 minutes before they are seated.
During good weather, the hideaway outdoor seating surrounded by trees and flowers makes its own kind of pop-up for a tranquil spot and nearly doubles the size of the restaurant. A long farm table at the front of the shop is ideal for bigger groups.
The only downside is if the kitchen runs out of ingredients for the day and has to close shop. Arriving closer to the times the pop-up brunch begins — 9 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays — guarantees it will not be an issue. Over Easy does not take reservations, but to-go orders are available. Call 541-973-2233.
For as trendy and upscale as the restaurant is, the atmosphere is casual, laid back and welcoming. The waiters are friendly and allow diners plenty of time to enjoy meals and coffee before presenting the bill.
Over Easy’s menu changes from week to week, depending on what seasonal ingredients are available. The important things remain the same: strong coffee and specialty mimosas.
When Over Easy was first reviewed in the Mail Tribune by reporter Nick Morgan, Chef Braden Hitt said, “We want to make it kind of comfort food, but something you can’t get anywhere else.”
A mission statement if there ever was one; Hitt and his staff hold true to those words. Dishes are still fresh and continue to consist of unlikely yet delicious pairings of sweet and salty or mild and sharp flavors.
The first weekend of August at Over Easy had summer classics such as peaches and poblano peppers. The sweet side of the menu was a malted buttermilk waffle with Nutella, chocolate chips and bananas. The savory side consisted of a grilled chicken and bacon omelet with smoky tomato and guajillo sauce; a veggie-loaded frittata smoothed out by cheddar cheese and aioli; and an open-faced ham sandwich with sunny-side-up eggs.
I ordered the frittata, expecting a small yet hearty portion of potatoes and vegetables. When the dish arrived at my table, I was surprised to see a circle of vegetables and potatoes held together by fluffy eggs and cheddar cheese that was almost the size of my plate. The vegetables weren’t too overcooked, adding a soft crunch in between the melted cheese. When the garlic hit the palate, it hit hard, but was smoothed out by the creamy aioli drizzled across the dish.
The best dish of the day was an open-faced sandwich with eggs sunny-side-up, whole grain mustard, aioli, arugula, pickled onions, and — the best two parts of the dish — peaches and ham.
The peaches were perfectly ripe but not too sweet and the salty ham was thin enough to be tender. The warmth and creaminess in the egg bound the sweet peaches and salty ham in a way they were always meant to be together.
Pop-up restaurants are defined as impermanent restaurant locations, often featuring a well-known chef in the area. The idea is quality food people can’t find anywhere else. Food trucks can provide this experience, but diners can’t always rely on any one particular food truck’s location.
After four years of setting up shop in the back of Downtown Market Co. and being consistently open on weekends, Over Easy is less of a pop-up restaurant and more of an eclectic, hidden secret people are still finding out about.
It doesn’t seem like Over Easy is going anywhere, and no one should complain about that.