$10 EATS: Ruby’s
In Ashland? Drop by this Eclectic Eatery if You’re Looking for a Quick Bite
Ashland has no shortage of quick, affordable food. Often times it’s even healthy and locally-sourced. One such place that offers this type food is Ruby’s, an eclectic eatery on North Pioneer Street. Located in a green (think mint meets olive) one-story house with orange trim, Ruby’s is somewhere between a quick service eatery, a boozy brunch spot and a coffee house. Visitors can take their pick of sandwiches, burgers, burritos, smoothies, and even beer and cocktails. Sure, Ruby’s-goers can get a veggie breakfast burrito ($6.50), but they can also get a Reuben ($8.50), a latte ($3.50) or a bloody Mary ($7.50).
At Ruby’s, diners make selections from giant menu hand-written menus, placing their orders at a cash register. The space inside is small, containing just a few tables and mural-covered walls, making for a cozy atmosphere. During off hours, it’s the perfect place to mull over a meal with a friend and chat, or to sit in the window and watch passersby while chomping on a burrito.
When it comes to the menu, people rave about Ruby’s burritos, which are mostly breakfast burritos, like the ham-bacon-sausage or the steak and eggs. Ruby’s calls itself globally-inspired. In some places on the menu, this comes out in subtle ways, like with the Wendy burrito, which contains curried tofu, veggies, mushrooms, and a vegan cheese sauce. In other ways it’s more obvious, like with the cheese steak or the falafel wrap. Both offer their own Ashland twists. Take the cheese steak—it comes with classic toppings (of course, we could argue about the fact that it has American cheese instead of Cheese Whiz), but notably, contains vegan mayo. That’s certainly not traditional. However, it must work, because many argue it is the best cheese steak in town; just check any of its reviews. Likewise, the falafel ditches its customary one-bean recipe in favor of a four-bean recipe that includes chickpeas, black-eyed peas, black beans and fava beans. Diners can have it on a salad or in a flour tortilla with greens, veggies, hummus and yogurt sauce.
The item not-to-miss, however, isn’t one of these main dishes, it’s a side. Ruby’s has some of the best sweet potato fries around. Think salty, crisp, slightly sweet fries that seem not so much like they were bathed in oil as they were magically crisped by the fry fairies. It’s good Ruby’s has some healthy food because fries like this are certain to get you in trouble. A half order runs $2.50 and was enough to satisfy two diners. Had the diners known how good they were, a full order ($4.00) would have been necessary.
It’s a tall order to offer quick, healthy food that’s affordable. It’s even more ambitious when you try to source locally when possible. Ruby’s delivers on these promises. And if they didn’t? We’d probably still love them, because it’s hard to dislike an establishment that serves a beer and shot on Valentine’s Day for $5.
Our advice? Get the basket of sweet potato fries. And then maybe get something healthy so you don’t fall asleep from a carb-coma at 2 pm on a Tuesday in a little green house off Pioneer Street. Not that we have any experience with that.
Where: 163 N. Pioneer Street, Ashland
When: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., 7 days a week
Phone: (541) 488-7717
Prices: $6-10 (mains); $2-4 (sides)
Kids menu? Yes
Other comments: Breakfast available all day
$10 Eats is a column dedicated to finding the valley’s best eats for $10 or less, so grab a Hamilton and head to these local spots. Have a favorite cheap eat? Share it with us at email@example.com