Atmosphere: Friendly, informal and neighborly.
Price range: Reasonable. Hamburger platters start at $2.55 and complete dinners range from $3.95 to $9.95 for a New York Strip steak.
Reservations: Not accepted.
Credit Cards: Visa, Master Charge.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., seven days a week.
Special facilities: Rooster seats available. Parking in lot at 100 N. Lee St. Accessible to the handicapped.
For us, the Warehouse is our neighborhood restaurant, and it probably will always be the place we think of first for meals with our children.
Since it opened seven years ago, the Warehouse has maintained predictably good food and service that is friendly and usually fast. The place is only a block from city hall and has always been a favorite with city officials from the mayors on down. Around its tables, over pitchers of beer, many a civic plan has been launched and many a political compromise carved out.
It wasn't politics that took us there recently. It was simply that the Warehouse lay at the end of the path of least resistance. Another parent and I found ourselves without our respective spouses but with four hungry children to feed. So we trundled them down to the Warehouse for a treat I.e. a treat for us.
It was about 6:15 on a Saturday evening and early enough to beat the Old Town crowds. That's essential, since the Warehouse does not accept reservations. We were seated at a large round booth next to the long brick wall where the restaurant displays work by local artists.
The decor is simple and rough-hewn, just as a warehouse should be. Tables are covered with red cloths, the seats with red plastic. Bricks and beams have been exposed in an attractive way, and an old Victorian bar has been assembled down one side of the room.
The menu is simple as well, offering restaurant staples such as pizzas, $2.20 to $5.95; hamburgers, $2.55; fish, $4.95; prime rib, $8.25, or fried chicken, $3.95. For children, there is chopped sirloin, $2.75, or fried chicken, $2.50. Garden salads are 75 cents and do not come with meals, although a "vegetable of the day" arrives with the complete dinners and a delicious cole slaw is served with the burgers.
Our waitress was very attentive, bringing the children's Cokes right away and offering to hurry the chef along and bring nibbles in the meantime if need be. Actually, I suspect a party including four children all under age 9 is afforded the same deference an 800-pound canary might be. Anything to keep 'em quiet.
Fortunately, ours were pretty good. My friend and I ordered a pitcher of beer, $1.85, and decided to keep a low profile as parents. The children chose their own favorites. The 3- and 4-year-olds split an order of jumbo fried shrimp, $6.25, which our waitress very kindly divided on two plates in the kitchen. That gave each child three huge and very juicy (1 tasted) shrimp - more than enough.
The two boys, ages 6 and 9, chose the George Washington, $2.44. At the Warehouse, that's a hamburger. The cheeseburger is called the Lord Fairfax, and the roast beef sandwich is the Light-Horse Harry Lee.My friend and I split a large pizza for $4.90. That included garnishes of Italian sausage and mushrooms and green pepper. We also ordered salads.
The hamburgers were well cooked and juicy. They come dressed with a slab of onion and a thick slice of tomato on the side. The french fries are the real thing - sliced out of a potato, not extruded shoe string affairs.
The pizza is quite respectable and very cheesy.A large one (12 inches in diameter) was enough for two hungry adults.
We opted to skip dessert in favor of one of Old Town's ice cream parlors. But we could have had cheese cake, $1.40; carrot cake, $1.25, or pecan pie, $1.
And our bill, for what amounted to a family of six, came to $23.47 without tip.