Falafel Republic Opens in Ashland
You don’t have to leave Ashland for an authentic taste of the Middle East, thanks to the recently opened Falafel Republic at 1465 Siskiyou Boulevard. Co-owner and chef Sam Jackson opened the doors this past January to a delicious lunch or dinner straight from the streets of Cairo or Tel Aviv, in the storefront just down a few shops from Market of Choice.
Sam cultivated his fondness for Middle Eastern dishes while working nearly 20 years in kitchens from Oregon and London to the Middle East. “Falafel,” meaning “small round thing,” is usually made of ground chickpeas, seasoned and rolled into a bite-sized ball and deep fried, with a crunchy outside and pure yum on the inside.
“During my travels overseas I was captivated with the complexity of flavors I tasted and the influence the Spice Road had on cuisine,” Sam said. “From making our own pita to grinding fresh falafel, we have done our best to showcase the flavors of Israel and the Middle East.”
Falafel Republic lets you choose from falafel, za’atar spiced eggplant, moroccan-spiced chicken or shawarma (slow-roasted beef or lamb). You can have it wrapped in house-made pita bread, as a salad, or in a bowl with healthy grains. Sides include Middle Eastern-style salads and roasted vegetables. There are a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Sam opened Falafel Republic with Tom and Lisa Beam, owners of Ashland’s popular Pie + Vine and Sesame Kitchen. Sam worked for four years with Tom and Lisa as chef at Pie + Vine. The three began developing the concept for Falafel Republic several years ago.
“We wanted a place where guests could get a lunch or dinner that was fresh and fast, but didn’t sacrifice quality,” says Tom, who is also a chef, having trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. “This new restaurant is a great balance of talent among the three of us. Sam is the day-to-day operator at Falafel Republic, while Lisa and I continue operations of our other restaurants and our vineyard.”
The restaurant plans to set up an online ordering system and will be handling takeout orders via the internet soon. They also provide catering. But Sam recommends visiting them in-person to experience the sights and smells of the Middle East.
“This is a fantastic cuisine, full of a rich history,” says Sam. “It leaves you feeling good about what you just ate.”
The restaurant is open 11:30am-7:30pm daily. For more info, call 541-708-6121 or visit falafelrepublic.com. You can also like them on Facebook.