Temptation, thy name is PW's Eatery & Dessert Shoppe.
The minute you step inside this Haymarket restaurant, you know you're doomed. Multitiered dessert cases laden with slices of four-inch-high cream-filled cakes -- butter pecan, chocolate, lemon -- plus Boston cream pie and coffeecake, all enough to serve two, greet you at the door. You will need to atone for calories later.
But don't feel guilty. This red-brick rambler literally adjoins the First Baptist Church of Gainesville.
Being at PW's is like sitting in a favorite aunt's kitchen, decorated with woodcuts and decoupage and chintz curtain-topped windows.
Put your elbows on the table; no one cares. This is like home, only nicer. It is a family place: Nelson and Elaine Ryan and daughter Wendy Briand do the things that count: few-frills food, prepared thoughtfully. The music is the easy-listening variety, and the atmosphere is easy, too.
Dress in jeans or wear your Sunday best. Indeed, many patrons mosey in after church services. The all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch (9 a.m. to 1 p.m., $9.75 for adults, $4.95 for children 12 and under, children under 2 eat free) includes made-to-order omelets, Belgian waffles, cinnamon buns and pastries, eggs Benedict, fruits and vegetable lasagna.
Order coffee and you'll be pleasantly surprised: You get a quart carafe of steaming brew (at $1.60, a genuine bargain).
Made-on-the-premises soups change daily ($2.75 a cup, $3.75 a bowl), and PW's excels at them. We tried baked potato soup, smooth and creamy, with a hint of dill. The Southwestern chili and bean was a surprise, with tender white pintos bathed in cumin-laced broth with chunks of white chicken.
The barbecue pulled-pork sandwich was a thick layer of tangy meat served on a grilled kaiser roll and accompanied by just-made cole slaw, a bit thin in consistency but tasting heavenly.
If you don't have room for dessert but think it's too good to pass up, consider asking for a cake to go, $21.95 for most varieties. It serves eight in the restaurant, but slices are huge; you could feed 16.
It's easy to miss PW's Eatery. Look for its burgundy awning. Or the Baptist church sign. Either way, you've found some kind of salvation.
CAPTION: (This chart was not available) PW's Eatery & Dessert Shoppe
CAPTION: Managers Jan Hill, left, Cheryl Mills, Susan Edwards and owner Wendy Briand have given PW's Eatery & Dessert Shoppe a home-style atmosphere. A grilled chicken salad, below left, and a cookies-and-cream dessert pie, below right, are among the dishes served at the restaurant, which adjoins the First Baptist Church of Gainesville.