(click here for the latest on The Old Spaghetti Warehouse)
It's been about a year since I last dined at The Old Spaghetti Warehouse on Commercial Street next to Konditorei. I stopped going there because I thought that the place seemed dirty, the service was slow and to top it all off, they sat us at a booth that had large duct taped patches covering holes in the vinyl seats. I assumed that the place was going out of business and the owners were letting it go. To my surprise, a year later, The Old Spaghetti Warehouse is still in business. With lowered expectations, I decided to give it another try. It's actually been on my short list of places to blog because it's a good example of Salem's depressing restaurant scene. As luck would have it, on this visit, we were seated at the very same table with the duct taped benches. The booths are made from rusty old bed frames that look like hospital surplus. The table is pulled too far away from the seat so you have to really lean forward to eat over your plate. I tried to pull the bench seat closer but it was heavy and I didn't want to make a scene lifting it in a crowded restaurant. (yeah there was a crowd)
So I sat at the edge of the seat and waited for my meal. The service was much improved. The servers were cheerful and quick to bring salads and bread to my hungry family. If you look around the restaurant, the furniture at the other tables is worn and mismatched as well. They definitely have the warehouse feeling down with the stained carpeting and shadowy lighting. I don't know if this place is part of the Spaghetti Warehouse/Factory craze of the eighties and nineties but I'll bet this place hasn't had a makeover since then. The food is better than the atmosphere. The server brought my order of spaghetti with meat sauce and a meatball to our table while it was still steaming hot. Someone once told me that you know a pasta is good if you are sweating while you are eating it. I was sweating as I wasted no time twirling the pasta into the thick rich sauce. A couple of bites and I forgot that I was sitting on a sticky wad of silver adhesive. For under nine bucks you can get a spaghetti dinner with bread, salad and an ice cream dessert. This is not the kind of place you would want to take an out of town guest or friends that you want to impress or a date or an anniversary or in-laws or...well you get the picture. Take out would be great if no one is going to ask where you got it from or you don't want to drive all the way over to Willamette Noodle Company. If you do want to dine in, ask for the duct tape booth and tell them Eat Salem sent you.