September 10, 2010
The Best of Asia at Sesame Asian Kitchen
The last thing local restaurateurs Tom and Lisa Beam want to do is rest on their laurels. The couple, who met at the Winter Park, Colorado, ski resort in the late 90s and who moved to Ashland in 2000, opened Pasta Piatti at 358 E. Main in March 2004 to rave reviews and a loyal following.
A couple of years ago, they teamed up with Jeven Showers to buy Tabu, a popular Latino Nuevo cuisine restaurant at 70 N. Pioneer. And just this year they gutted and remodeled the old Lithia Stationers location at 21 Winburn Way (just across from Lithia Park) and created Sesame Asian Kitchen.
Both Tom and Lisa have extensive experience in the restaurant industry. Tom received his degree at the Culinary Institute of America in 1991 and worked at a number of restaurants throughout the country, including some fine establishments in Ashland. Lisa has her degree in Business/Economics from Willamette University (’96) and worked for Harry & David in their catalogue, merchandising and specialty foods department.
“Sesame is a concept created with the same focus as Pasta Piatti,” Lisa said. “it is everyday family dining in downtown Ashland. Years ago, every time we were leaving Lithia Park with our daughter Olivia, we would gaze at Lithia Stationers and wonder why it wasn’t a space for the public to enjoy great food and the view.”
When the space was vacated two years ago, the Beams inquired about the lease, but the owners were looking for a retailer. “As chance would have it, we had lunch with Bruce Roberts, one of the four owners, to pitch our idea again, and it was a go,” Tom said.
Sesame’s menu is inspired by the various cultures of the Far East, representing a fusion of cuisines from the South China Sea.
“We incorporate fresh Asian vegetables, free-range meats, and house-blended spices with imported specialty ingredients (i.e., noodles and rice),” Tom said. “Seasonal menus and local partnerships (Pickled Plant, Sunshine Sprouts, Organic Nation, etc.) allow us to feature the best ingredients. We pair beer, wine, sake and specialty cocktails.”
The minimalist design of the restaurant is inspiring, enhancing the view of Lithia Park and the watershed. Prices range from $6-$16 for lunch and dinner. There is also take-out service and outdoor seating. The menu includes vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and peanut-free selections. They are open every day from 11:30am-9pm. Call 541-482-0119 for more info.