On a recent visit to Winnsboro Texas TastesLikeTravel.com had dinner at Brewbaker’s Restaurant and Pub. The owners at the Hubble House Bed and Breakfast recommended it. They also gave us a 10% off coupon so we gave it a try. We arrived after 8 p.m. on a Saturday night and there were quite a few patrons in the restaurant, which we thought was encouraging.
Brewbaker’s is located in the Andrews Bank Building built in 1901, and because of the layout in an older building the restaurant is divided into 4 areas: The Front, the Back, an upstairs overflow area and the outside patio. We sat in the Back which turned out to be the bar area with several tables. The decor and ambiance were more pub oriented.
We were greeted and seated in good order but there appeared to be some discussion between wait staff as to who would be waiting on us. As we waited to be waited on we looked at the menu. The menu tells us that Brewbaker’s wants to be an upscale restaurant serving steak and fish recipes that were, on paper, unique. The prices were reasonable as well. It became obvious though that this establishment was having a problem establishing its identity. Brewbaker’s was established in 2009 and it became clear that the owner had yet to determine its style.
The waitress took our order which included a Filet Mignon and Royal Beef Tenderloin, both ordered medium rare. As a starter we ordered Escargot Burgundy Style. Our salads came out before the appetizer so we moved them to the side. The Escargot was very good. The snails were tender and the spicy Lemon Butter sauce added to the dish. The bread that came with the escargot was over toasted though.
We ordered wine to have with our meal but were surprised by the lack of good wine available. Our choices were limited to some lower end wines. I love a good glass of wine with dinner, but quite honestly there were none to be found. For a pub I also found it interesting that there were no draught beers and only a handful of bottled beers available. We had the more expensive $5 dollar wine.
As we ate our warm salad in a small bowl our dinner arrived. The menu said that both our meals would be served with vegetables and mash potatoes but our plates had some sort of a hash browned (reused) potato and some corn. Initially I though I was eating at a bad school cafeteria or some diner that served canned vegetables. The portions were small and the presentation was not impressive. I had literally eight stew like pieces of beef tenderloin very overdone, (not medium rare for sure) and with a strong taste of marinade. The Filet Mignon was no better as it was severely overdone and had a slight off taste. After 2 bites of steak my wife abandoned the whole dinner, and I struggled through my meal ignoring taste for sustenance. This was not going to be one of those outstanding dining experiences.
The waitress asked us if everything was OK and we responded not really. She was kind enough to give us an additional 20% off. But 30% off did not make up for the experience.
Interestingly enough the owner (at least I think it was the owner) was eating with another couple at a table adjacent to ours. At no time did he ask how our meal was, or ask us anything about our experience. The wait staff was nice, but clearly unprofessional and disorganized.
I think Brewbaker’s has the potential to be a really nice place to eat. It could even have several identities like a pub at lunch and a nice restaurant at dinner. The problem is that it tries to be all of these at the same time and fails at all of them because of it. With a little training, consistency, and a clear idea of what it is to be, Brewbaker’s can be a great place to dine. For now it is a place in transition, and at times can be quite good, but for Tastesliketravel.com it was mediocracy at its best. If Brewbaker’s Pub establishes its identity it will be fine; if not, expect the unexpected.