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Ruby's of Ashland is known for fresh, locally sourced food. [Maureen Flanagan Battistella / for the Mail Tribune]

Ruby’s of Ashland: Fresh, healthy, fun

The colors are the first thing that you notice when you come up on Ruby’s of Ashland. Orange, green, red and blue greet you, and the large umbrellas give a nod in the afternoon sun. Music plays in the background, and at the outdoor tables, everyone’s talking and laughing and eating good food. Ruby’s, like its next-door neighbor Gil’s, is in a nicely renovated home now a restaurant, with a big patio and planters in Ashland’s Railroad District just a block from downtown.

Most everything at Ruby’s is made from scratch or locally sourced: kraut, hot sauces, falafel — there are bins of dried pintos and garbanzos near the register. The Ruby Burger at $10 is a sure favorite: Plaisance beef on a Sunstone bun, tender and juicy, filling my mouth with flavor. Add in a half or whole order of seasoned or sweet potato fries and I’m in heaven. Not content with the extraordinary, three cheeses, bacon and avocado on Sunstone sourdough made a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich for $6.

Ruby’s is known for its stuffed-to-bursting breakfast burritos. Locals and out-of-towners line up for their morning fix, but no problem if you sleep in because they’re available all day. With six versions to choose from, including meat, vegetarian and vegan options priced from $6.50-$7.50, it’s hard to go wrong with a Ruby’s burrito.

There’s a wide assortment of frappes, shakes, smoothies, Hillcrest coffee drinks and 23 microbrews from Gil’s to slake your thirst at any time of day. You might not expect it, but Ruby’s has a fine selection of specialty cocktails: the 3G, made with gin, ginger ale and grapefruit, is delightfully refreshing on a hot summer evening and just right with a garden salad. And the salad’s blue cheese dressing is superb! Creamy and chunky both, bright in my mouth and delicious.

Ruby’s is family friendly, a great place for reasonably priced, healthy and good tasting meals. Kids chase each other on the bricked pavement between Ruby’s and Gil’s, swing on the bike rack and play with trucks and balls. Dogs sleep in the shade. The outdoor seating is fluid, combining for a group and separating for a single. Would that every neighborhood had a Ruby’s!

Ruby’s of Ashland is located at 163 N. Pioneer St. and is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., until 8 p.m. during summer months. On-street parking can be limited, but walking and biking in the Railroad District is a treat. Call ahead at 541-488-7717 for take-out.

— Maureen Flanagan Battistella

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