March 2024

ZoeysIt’s been 22 years since Ryan and Zoe Lehmann arrived in Ashland, and it didn’t take long before they parlayed their combined restaurant experience by opening Zoey’s Café & All Natural Ice Cream in 2005 at 199 E. Main Street.

“Before opening Zoey’s in Ashland, we had a tiny little 600-square-foot Zoey’s Cafe in Phoenix, Oregon, that served breakfast and lunch,” said Zoe, who is originally from Australia. “We opened with no employees and we refused to close, which meant we worked seven days a week for three months before hiring our very first employee. Back then we’d comfort ourselves by recalling the long hard hours spent commercial fishing in Alaska. Restaurant work seven days a week seemed cushy by comparison. At that first Zoey’s in Phoenix, we were befriended by some wonderful customers. One of them had a six-year-old daughter, who went on to work at Zoey’s in Ashland during high school and on summer breaks from college at U of O. She graduated college four years ago. I guess that’ll happen when you’ve been in business 19 years! We are so grateful for our loyal customers, and our team of friendly ice cream servers who make it all possible.”

Working in the restaurant industry was nothing new for the couple. As a kid Zoe could be found after school at her family’s restaurant, The Savoy, in Katoomba doing her homework and drinking soda floats. At 13 she started working in restaurants in Katoomba. Ryan launched his restaurant career in high school working at a central Texas staple, Pat’s Place. 

“We moved to Ashland after making several cross-country road trips looking for a small college art town in the mountains,” Ryan said. “Ashland has a lot going for it. We thought we’d enjoy living here for a couple of years.”

Zoey’s offers 40 unique flavors of small batch artisan ice cream and gelato, featuring delicious local Oregon ingredients including pear, bing cherries, hazelnuts and blackberries. The ice cream is made fresh and delivered from Florence every week.

“We serve a delightful range of all-natural ice cream flavors,” Zoe said. “The ice cream is made with locally sourced, organic ingredients, ensuring a truly fresh and delicious experience. We also accommodate different dietary preferences, including vegan and gluten-free ice cream. And we carry Oregon-made Cosmic Bliss Organic Vegan Non-dairy ice cream and one rotating sorbet for all the non-dairy vegetarian frozen dessert lovers.”

Zoey’s is a great hangout in the heart of Ashland—people watching while enjoying the best artisan ice cream in Oregon. Don’t forget to stop in for an afternoon espresso drink to keep you going before the theater. All summer long they’re open till midnight for post theater treats.

In 2018 Zoe and Ryan also bought the popular restaurant Pangea, at 272 E. Main. Pangea specializes in eclectic world cuisine with an amazing selection of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free wraps, paninis, soups, and salads. 

For more info: 541-482-4794. You can also see them at and on Facebook.