When a concept works in one location, why not open a second? That may be the reasoning behind the recently opened ReMix coffee bar at 1602 Ashland St. in Ashland. The new cafe takes the high-end pastries, espresso and alcohol from the original Mix Bakeshop in downtown Ashland and remixes it with a focus on the coffee, rather than the desserts. This totals four restaurants for ReMix owner Jamie North, who also owns Amuse and Flip, in addition to Mix.
Enter the glass doors of ReMix on a warm June afternoon and you’ll find eco-modern decor — including a single, extra-long bar table dividing the middle of the room — and bright green plants lining the back wall behind the counter. Opposite the bar is a row of glass windows and a glass garage door that brings the outdoors indoors by providing easy access to a patio decorated with a multitude of brightly colored flowers. In the distance, beyond the auto parts shop across the street is the picturesque Klamath Mountain Range.
In a local coffee shop, ambience is key — something ReMix seems to know. It’s a place that invites its patrons to lounge all day, beginning with coffee from Stumptown, Sweet Bloom, or Andytown in the morning, nibbling on breakfast and lunch as the day progresses, and topping off with beer or wine before closing at 5 p.m.
Savory food is, compared to Mix, unique to this location. On the menu are a few well-priced salads ($6.75), some borscht ($6.25), and a plate of hummus, served with vegetables, harissa, dukkah and bread ($7.75). Since we stopped in at the end of a Friday afternoon, the only sandwiches left are wrapped in plastic for to-go orders. We take a lentil salad and a turkey-bacon sandwich, as well as a couple of desserts made at Mix and delivered to ReMix. There are also three beers (Boneyard RPM, Ninkasi Believer, Caldera Ashland Amber), one cider (Apple Outlaw Cider Siskiyou Gold), and four wines (Woolridge Sparkling White, Serra Vinyards Rose,’ Quady North Pistoletta and Quady North Syrah) on tap.
One might not expect much from a lentil salad ordered at a coffee shop, but, replete with pickled beets, this salad has a rich vinegar flavor that makes any other dressing obsolete. Both the color and the flavor of the beets coat the rest of the salad, which also includes a creamy goat cheese, bits of pistachio, and a dense population of lentils. The best game with any meal is getting some of each ingredient in every bite. In this case, the result is textural and earthy with a hint of tanginess from the goat cheese.
While the salad was more like something you’d find in a high-end restaurant, the to-go sandwich was about what you might expect from the last to-go sandwich in the cooler. Made of turkey, bacon, gouda and aioli on focaccia, it was not bad for something you can grab on your way to work or school in the morning. Had we gotten there earlier, we might have also tried the Ham Baguette Sandwich, Seasonal Veggie Baguette Sandwich, or the Brioche Egg Sandwich, the last ‘wich of which sounds like a pretty interesting bite for a morning commute.
Those already familiar with Mix’s baked goods will not be disappointed with what ReMix has on offer. The list of desserts shipped in from Mix are too many to name, but range from a variety of croissants, tea cakes and scones to cookies, tarts and cake. The cream in the cream puff is so soft, sweet and delicate that the chef decided to carry it over into the fruit tart, as well, making both desserts decadent and divine. They were perfect complements to a pint of Ninkasi and a glass of Quady North Pistoletta.
It was too late in the afternoon for the coffee menu, which features a simple list of coffees (filter, hand-poured, and cafe au lait), cold brew espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, latte, mocha chai, hot chocolate, cider and Italian soda. So, the next morning we picked up a couple of mochas that weren’t as cloying as you might get from a behemoth chain. Instead, the chocolate was subtle enough to highlight the flavor cultured by the roaster. One caveat with the flavor choices was that the only syrup available was vanilla. This may have been an attempt to stay true to the European style of the entire cafe, but could be a let-down for anyone used to counting the shots of syrup in their morning ‘bucks.
For North, this may mean yet another Ashland staple for the restaurateur, who plans to open an ice cream shop next door called North Star Creamery later this year. For remote workers and kids waiting for their folks to come home from work, ReMix has ambience and desserts that may result in citations for loitering.