Ashland Grilla Bites Nearly Finished
Alan Panebaker, Ashland Daily Tidings
April 22, 2006
Three months into the process of renovating the old Plaza Cafe, Tom and Monika DuBois are cleaning up, scrubbing down and getting ready to open a Grilla Bites organic sandwich shop on the Plaza.
The Duboises are working with company founder Fred Marken to open what they hope will be one of few options where people can eat reasonably-priced organic food.
“Ashland has more upscale restaurants,” Monika Dubois said. “There aren’t many that cater to people who want to come out and eat healthy, reasonably-priced meals.”
The new Grilla Bites branch, Marken hopes, will take off even more than the originals in Chico, Calif., or the newer one in Medford.
“I’m excited about Ashland,” Grilla Bites founder Fred Marken said. “I’ve been a part of this community for a while.”
Marken and the DuBoises began developing the plan for a new Grilla Bites, when Marken advertised in the Daily Tidings for partners in the enterprise. The DuBoises had just sold a business making machines that turn pennies into souvenirs and were looking into a new one. Residents of Sonoma County in Northern California for 25 years, the DuBoises moved to the Rogue Valley three years ago when their daughter started high school in Ashland.
“We thought it was a good idea,” Monika DuBois said. “We wanted to open a business, not necessarily a restaurant.”
The DuBoises are still looking for local farmers and distributors to sell them organic food and said they will put their main focus on buying local and working as a sustainable community business.
The owners of the new Grilla Bites said they think the reasonably priced plates (running around $7.50 for lunch) will draw in a local and visiting clientele.
“We want to treat everybody who comes in that door like they live in Ashland,” Tom DuBois said.
Although there are multiple branches of Grilla Bites in Southern Oregon and Northern California, Marken is adamant about telling people his business is not a typical chain.
“Sure it’s a chain,” Marken said. “We’re linked to organic farmers, we’re linked to customers, we’re linked to the community. All we’re about is selling organic food.”
© 2006 Ashland Daily Tidings and Ottaway Newspapers. All Rights Reserved.