Spaghetti-heavy menu is very ordinary; sauces and other dishes are inconsistent.
Inattentive dinner service and meal delivery slightly redeemed by lunch experience.
Three-course dinners are priced no higher than $12.
Spacious dining room is like a furniture warehouse, more eclectic than elegant.
|-||- Rate It!|
A = Outstanding
B = Very Good
C = Average
D = Below Average
F = Poor
|Restaurant facts (updated: 10/07/11)|
|Hours:||11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day|
|Credit cards:||MasterCard, VISA, Discover, American Express|
$ of $$$$ What's this?Lunch $6.95 to $8.95; dinner appetizers $5 to $8.25, entrees $7.95 to $11.95
|$ =||under $12|
For a writer and editor, there can be few things more irritating than seeing an obvious misspelling publicly displayed in letters as large as those on a billboard.
To me, the fact that Redmond’s Spagetti Warehouse spells the word spaghetti without the “h” is not so different than hearing fingernails scratch a chalkboard.
As it turns out, the error is no error at all.
Owner Wayne Henninger — who previously had Spagetti Warehouse restaurants in Eugene, Salem and Vancouver, Wash., for nearly two decades, beginning in 1972 — said he intentionally adopted a graphic designer’s logo misspelling because he “thought it looked better.”
“I adopted his design, and it has been quite a conversation piece,” Henninger said with a laugh. “People do talk about it!”
After 20 years out of the restaurant business, Henninger moved to Central Oregon last spring to open the Warehouse.
The location is excellent, just off Airport Way near the junction of U.S. Highway 97, in a building that formerly housed the Ranchero Mexican Restaurant.
The website promises this will be “the first of many locations to come.”
But in spite of notices on the menu and restaurant walls that encourage patrons to “Think Spagetti,” the restaurant will need to make major improvements before Redmond diners get used to spelling spaghetti without the “h.”
Although there’s good value here — three-course dinners for less than $12, a spacious if eclectic atmosphere — the quality of food and service leave a great deal to be desired.
A lunch visit
The dining room reminds me of a warehouse for furniture rather than spaghetti. Fourteen different dining-room sets share a tile floor surrounded by red-ochre walls that feature paintings ranging from Renaissance to ’60s expressionism. The room seats about 64 guests, with another 24 accommodated in the adjacent bar.
My first visit was a solo lunchtime stop. I was delighted to find that my order of a spaghetti entree would also earn me a house salad (with an option of a soup of the day) and a loaf of freshly baked bread.
The chopped romaine in the salad was a little brown around the edges, but it was a decent salad nonetheless. It came with black olives, sliced red onion, pepperoncinis, house-made croutons and shredded Parmesan cheese, and was tossed with a mild oil-and-vinegar dressing.
The six-inch loaf of sourdough bread, more than enough for two, was served with garlic butter that melted easily. It was a highlight.
The spaghetti, on the other hand, was ordinary, cooked beyond al dente to a stick-to-the-wall consistency. A tomato-based meat sauce, simmered with ground beef, onions and celery, lacked any sort of zing.
In general, I was very pleased with the friendly lunchtime service. I was seated promptly, my order was taken and delivered in a timely fashion, and my server occasionally checked back to refill my water and assure my satisfaction.
But I could not say the same for a subsequent dinner.
Dinner for two
It started with the appetizer. The first thing my companion and I ordered, an olive tapenade with crostini, wasn’t delivered until we were 10 minutes into our salads.
In fact, I had the sense that it had been forgotten. When I reminded our dinner server, she went to check on it and returned with the information that it would be delivered as soon as the crostini — small toasted slices of bread — was out of the oven. Under normal circumstances, 60 seconds is quite sufficient.
When the appetizer did finally arrive, I found it too salty for me to take more than a single taste. Even my companion, who appreciates salt more than I do, found the flavor less than appealing. The thick paste of coarsely chopped black olives incorporated capers, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
Our salads were fresher than my luncheon greens had been — there were no brown edges — but most of the ingredients, other than lettuce, had been forgotten. They contained only a few black olives, a tiny bit of red onion and croutons, but no pepperoncini or shredded Parmesan.
I had originally requested soup, perhaps a cup of minestrone, but my server advised me that it was available only at lunchtime. And today’s soup hadn’t been minestrone, she said. It was cream of mushroom. But it was no longer available.
In fact, the pasty sauce on my friend’s spaghetti appeared suspiciously like something from a can of mushroom soup. Small and thinly sliced, the mushrooms were overwhelmed by a sauce that the menu had described as “a creamy perfection.” My companion added black pepper, grated Parmesan and red pepper flakes. Finally she felt it had enough flavor that she got through about half of the meal before pushing it aside.
The white clam sauce on my own spaghetti dinner was only marginally better. Presented as much like a chowder as the mushroom sauce was like a thick soup, it featured sauteed onions and garlic, maybe a splash of white wine, and a sprinkle of dried parsley.
Henninger, the owner, assured me all food was fresh. “We make everything from scratch,” he said, with the exception of pasta. This, he said, is normally whole-wheat semolina, but gluten-free pasta is also offered.
Our server had made herself scarce. When no one made an attempt to refill our empty water glasses, I hailed the server from another table to help us out. For grated Parmesan, I walked to a service table to help myself to a jar. Ditto with red pepper flakes.
When our inattentive server finally did return, it was to offer us a choice of ice creams — vanilla or an Italian spumoni, with chocolate, strawberry and peppermint flavors — and to present our check.
The price was right. But overall, we weren’t impressed. We paid our bill and, like the “h” in “spagetti,” you won’t see us there again any time soon.
Bend breweries won six of the 15 medals taken home by Oregon breweries at the Great American Beer Festival, held Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Denver. Deschutes Brewery won gold (for Bourbon Murder Stout) and two bronzes. Silver Moon Brewing Co. also won gold (for Dark Side Stout) and bronze. And Bend Brewing Co. took home a single bronze medal.
Other Oregon medal winners included Rogue Ales of Newport, with two golds, and Barley Brown’s of Baker City, with a silver and a bronze. One medal apiece went to Breakside (Portland), Full Sail (Hood River), Laurelwood (Portland), MacTarnahan’s (Portland) and Ninkasi (Eugene). The festival saw 3,930 entries from 526 American breweries in 83 categories.