Hours: Monday through Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.
Price Range: Sandwhiches, $1.05 to $3.30; hot entrees, $4.50 to $9.
Reservations: Not needed.
Credit Cards: Visa and Master Charge.
Special Facilities: Take out counter; accessible to the handicapped; booster seats and high chairs for youngsters; free parking in shopping center lot.
Seven members of the Area Air-Conditioning softball team came by for pitchers of beer served in iced glass mugs. Two teammates from a youth soccer team, accompanied by one mother, stopped in for a quick post practice sandwich. A couple with a baby in an infant seat sat in a corner and shared a pizza. On a Monday evening at Queenstown Restaurant, our family was just one of many enjoying the comfortable vibes of a friendly neighborhood eatery.
We didn't think that would be the case when we drove up. From the parking lot in front of Queenstown, the restaurant appears to be a take out counter whose side walls are lined with case upon case of cold six packs: a very unpromising and unwelcoming first impression for the family trade. In the front window, however, was a large sign promising two dining rooms.
We went inside on faith and found that on either side of the take out counter was clean, neat, plain and simple dining rooms with formica tables and leatherette banquettes. No California-style plants and wall hangins but, as we soon learned, no fancy California-style prices either.
The menu was so wide ranging -- deli sandwiches, Italian specialities, hamburgers, all-American entrees, pizzas, subs, cold dinner salads -- that we felt we needed advice. We asked our waitress what was especially good, what was the specialty of the house. She was stunned.
"Everything's good," she said. "I'll come back in a few minutes when you've had more time to decide what you want."
We tried peering at the plates of people around us but that didn't tell us anything so we decided to try something from as many selections as four people could hit.
Our son's first choice was from the Italian dishes section: lasagna served with a side order of spaghetti or vegetable as well as a choice of salad or soup, bread and butter, $5.25. No luck. The kitchen was out of Lasagna. o
He glanced at the entrees section, listing pork chops, $5.75; fried chicken, $4.75; fried scallops, $5.45, and opted for Maryland crab cakes, $5.75, which promised to be fried to a luscious brown and served with a choice of vegetable, salad or soup, bread and butter.
Since the soup of the day was beef and barley, not a favorite of his, he chose salad to go along with his meal. Heaps and heaps of iceberg lettuce arrived with red cabbage, radishes and sliced tomatoes paced into a plastic salad bowl.
The crab cakes were, as promised crisply fried and a beautiful dark brown color.The creamy inside needed the squirt of lemon juice from the accompanying lemon wedge and was, if not outstanding, certainly edible.
Our daughter decided on a meatball sub sandwich. We suggested she order a large one, $3.45, but our waitress intervened. It would be over a foot long, she said, and much too much for a 13-year-old to eat. As it was, the small sub $1.75, was a generous sandwich with rich, full-bodied meatballs and sauce inside.
My husband liked the sound of kosher franks and baked beans, $2.95. He started off with the beef and barely soup, 60 cents, and asked for a side order of applesauce, $1.10, to with the hotdogs.
It fell to me to try the deli sandwiches. My pastrami sandwich, $2.70, was a little too fatty for my taste and it wasn't hot enough. The beef and barely soup was filled with nice chunks of meat and vegetables but it had a burnt taste to it. I also had a salad and an order of onion rings, $1.10, which the menu said were homemade. They must have been. They were absolutely delicious: crisp and fresh with more onion than batter. The rings were served on a large platter and one order was more than enough for the four of us.
For dessert, listed as "Sweet Things" on the back of the menu, our son tried the coconut cream pie, $75, which was very good. The apple pie, $75, which our daughter had, also was good. My husband went for homemade rice pudding, $.65, which he said was creamy and rich and wonderful. I had an ice cream sundae, $1.25, which was poor -- the ice cream had ice chips in it, the chocolate syrup was to thin, and the whipped cream was ersatz.
Our check for dinner for the four of us was as neighborly as the atmosphere:
$24.10, including tax but not including tip.