New business taking over old ‘Howiees’ location in Medford

MEDFORD, Ore. —A new business is taking over a popular downtown Medford bar, that’s been empty for years. Many of you might remember, Howiees On Front, which shut down years ago. Now, a new owner is leasing the property with exciting plans for the future.

You might recognize this restaurant and bar, it used to be Howiee’s on Front. But in 2019 it surrendered its liquor license, after multiple run-ins with the OLCC. Now thanks to new ownership its becoming Craving Cave.

“We’re trying to bring something new to the Rogue Valley, something that is very different from any other place,” said Craving Cave owner, Adrian Gonzalez Hernandez.

This is what Howiee’s on Front used to look like, but that’s all changing thanks to 24-year-old Adrian Gonzalez Hernandez.

“We remodeled the whole entire building, we did painting we did flooring we did painting countertops, pretty much everything in here is new,” said Gonzalez Hernandez.

After 25 years Howiees closed its doors for good in early 2020. This, after the OLCC, found a history of serious and persistent problems including a staff walkout, where customers reportedly went behind the bar and started serving alcohol themselves.

“I used to come here myself when it was Howiee’s, and the difference was Howiee’s was just the bar and we’re a restaurant with the bar so it’s more controlled,” said Gonzalez Hernandez.

The Chamber of Medford and Jackson County is excited about the new business venture. CEO Eli Matthews says its exciting to see young entrepreneurs get into the Medford market.

“It’s going to be a great additive to downtown and for all of our other local businesses,” said Matthews.

Gonzalez Hernandez has worked in the restaurant industry since he was just 12 years old.

“I started as a dishwasher then I became a cook, a chef, pretty much every position that a restaurant has to offer I worked it before opening my own so that’s how I go the experience,” said Gonzalez Hernandez.

His first Craving Cave opened in Ashland’s Tolman Creek Plaza 3 years ago. Now expanding to Medford, it will offer traditional Mexican and American-style food, ranging from pizza and wings to enchiladas, along with a full bar in the downtown core.

“A nighttime we’re going to do the concept of making it a sports bar in during the day it will be a casual dining and at night it will be a sports bar with all the games, sports, UFC fights make it a place where people can have a good time,” said Gonzalez Hernandez.

Right now, the Craving Cave is open for delivery. Gonzalez Hernandez says it hopes to open the location in mid-November.

NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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