Say the name “Over Easy” out loud anywhere in Southern Oregon, and locals might just start involuntarily rubbing their bellies. (Trust me, I would know.) If you’ve been to Over Easy, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
This exceptional little breakfast and lunch restaurant is tucked away at 21 North Bartlett street, right along Medford’s charming Middleford Alley, and has been a favorite of the brunch crowds since 2014. Turning out their own innovative spin on classic breakfast creations, Chef and owner Braden Hitt plays around with flavors and fearlessly reimagines sweet and savory offerings. That’s not to say he doesn’t also offer a perfectly prepared plate of bacon and eggs; there’s something for every palate. The small menu rotates every few weeks or so, and patrons are also treated to a variety of wine and cocktails.
Over Easy’s success is no accident. Braden learned by going to school, cooking at locations around the country, and he also spent time teaching others. The evidence of his hard-won skill and integrity is in every plate that comes out of his kitchen. The veteran chef and and his wife and business partner Stephanie Hitt originally launched as a weekend pop-up in Downtown right around the corner from their new location, where the pair faithfully served up exceptional brunch offerings on Saturdays and Sundays for four years.
Braden’s crazy following included a couple of faithful customers who couldn’t imagine their weekends without Over Easy’s eclectic, delicious fare. They eventually offered to fully fund Braden’s dream in the form of a business loan, and a new adventure began.
A retail space opened up around the corner, but in order to turn it into a restaurant it had to be completely gutted. Even the concrete in the floor had to be cut to make room for new plumbing. The new space was in a historic building, so navigating Medford’s permitting and inspections to maintain the historic designation of the property caused some delays, but in the end it all came together in a beautiful way.
Stephanie and Braden knew they had gathered a great group of people around them over the years, but they had no idea the extent their community would come together to see Over Easy open its own doors.
“Not surprisingly, we both fell in love with the space,” says Braden. “But what surprised us was the humbling experience during the building process. It felt like Medford showed up for us. Our customers and neighbors showed up to paint and clean and do plumbing. They rallied around us and genuinely wanted us to succeed.”
Fans of Over Easy didn’t just show up to help during the construction process. They also showed up ready to eat on day one.
“On opening day we posted an announcement on social media, flipped our sign and just opened the door,” smiles Braden. “We hadn’t served one plate out of the new kitchen yet, but we ended up serving 165 people that first morning. I get teary eyed thinking about it. We were doing something that meant something to people.”
The smiling patrons who crowd into Over Easy to wait for a table on any given morning are proof that Braden and Stephanie’s hard work and vision are paying off. Guests are treated to an exceptional menu and a bright, energetic space that includes checkerboard floors and a large Sputnik lamp. The entire space is the perfect blend of old school diner and mid-century modern nostalgia, and it’s a good example of what many of us here in Southern Oregon love most about small businesses. When someone puts their heart and soul into something, and then shares it with their neighbors, good things happen.
“We’re making a go of it. It’s important that we continue to revitalize downtown Medford,” says Braden. “At the end of the day, it takes all of us working together to create a strong sense of community.”
Actually, it was in Downtown Market. Downtown Market used the space during the week, and Over Easy popped up on the weekends in the space. Downtown Market has since moved down to what used to be the Bohemian.