Sweet Beets and Cheap Treats: Talent’s Latest Snug Cafe Flourishes
One hundred and seventeen years ago, when the Rogue Valley as we know it was still in its nascent stages, the Talent Train Depot was established, releasing the village from its isolation. In this age of globalization, when trains have become an obsolete commodity, the depot has been remodeled into a cozy and folksy cafe, the Sweet Beet Station. Staying true to the original aesthetics of the depot, founder Awna Zegzdryn had a vision of blending together the evocative nostalgia of timeworn Talent, with the bustling and industrious momentum necessary to run a successful restaurant in the current year. Customers are inclined to label this mission as a success, based on anecdotal evidence, but enough to extrapolate the restaurant’s well-earned popularity.
Located in the heart of historic downtown Talent, at 100 E. Main St., Sweet Beet Station maintains a loyal customer base and a rotating menu of sandwiches, soups, pastries, and salads. Their food matches the local and rustic qualities exhibited by their atmosphere, wherein an unassuming color scheme is coupled with esoteric art and an exceptional use of space. In addition to a comfortable indoor eatery, there is also dog friendly outdoor dining space. Each table is adorned with unique salt and pepper shakers, in the forms of quirky alligators, totem poles, owls, and so on.
As soon as one walks in, there is an intimate sentimentality to the depot’s layout, as if the cafe had been in use for decades, and yet it’s only been open since the beginning of the year. The wait staff is charmingly homogenous and amiable; it’s clear the residents of Talent feel unequivocally at home when eating here. Confined to the northwest corner of the interior is the kitchen, embellished with wines, bagels, and figurines. Despite spatial limitations the room still feels spacious and inviting, due to the tall ceiling and impeccable design. There is a refreshing aroma that saturates the station, akin to a field after a rainstorm, or a flourishing garden.
The food itself is sublime and locally sourced, with the majority of entrees incorporating an idiosyncratic salad doused in tangy balsamic vinaigrette, garden fresh and piquant. Their selection combines regular items with dynamic specialties, depending on what is in season. My choice was the exquisite “fancy grilled cheese”, fancy indeed, as it includes pepper jack, ham, pepperoncini peppers, spinach, and a savory roasted red pepper aioli. Their dishes are well worth their modest prices, showing that ostentatious and ornate presentation simply can’t beat delicious pragmatism. I was lucky enough to have a few bites of a BBQ pulled pork sandwich on deli buns as well, which was delectable. It would be foolish of me to never return.
Sweet Beet Station
7:30 am – 8 pm, Wednesdays through Sundays
100 E Main Street, Talent