Restaurants gear up for college students

ROGUE VALLEY — It’s the first day of fall and in several local communities college students are back on campus. For downtown Medford and Ashland that means a boost to the local economy.

Rogue Community College students began classes today and Southern Oregon University begins next Monday.

Now restaurants near those campuses are getting ready. That could mean adding staff, ordering extra food or preparing for those never ending delivery requests.

“Double down on our pastrami smoking, double down on our bacon that we smoke in house and we’re ready for it,” Adam Collins, Sammich manager, said.

As college students dust off their textbooks, restaurants like Sammich in Ashland are preparing for quick bites and late nights.

“A lot of phone calls, a lot of call ahead orders, a lot of door dash deliveries,” Collins said.

Collins says SOU students are a big part of his customer base. More than anything that means long lunch lines. The situations the same a few miles north, where RCC students are back in downtown Medford.

“Oh you get a massive uptick of people here,” Charles Reeder, Victory Dogs owner, said.

Restaurant owners aren’t complaining, even if it requires a little extra work to feed the hungry college kids.

“Absolutely love having the college kids around. They’re fantastic. They’re respectful,” Vinny DiCostanzo, Paisan’s, said.

The restauranteurs tell me once a few months go by they establish a rapport with the young customers. Those connections sometimes carrying well past the school year.

“After they graduate, they go get their jobs, they come back and visit us a few years later and they tell us about how things are going, so yeah I would say we have a good relationship with our students,” DiCostanzo said.

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