The Stone House Cafe
16244 Cleveland Street
Redmond WA 98052
A Stone's Throw From Downtown Redmond
By: Bryan R
Note, the Stone House Cafe closed for remodeling but is now back up and running with some new twist. We will be going back for a new set of pictures and review shortly.
We heard that the new tenant was supposed to be a sushi restaurant, but we saw a Realtor sign still hanging outside the building as of February. This may mean that this historic location is still up in the air, for now.
Serving tasty sandwiches with a side of history, The Stone House Cafe offers a unique combination of pleasures in downtown Redmond. From the outside, the Stone House Cafe appears to be an incredibly well maintained historic home. The garden leading to the front door is a wonderful example of a lush, abundant garden with a slightly disorderly character while tall and aged trees help to create a cool and shady bubble from the heat of the midday sun. And true to its name, the restaurant rests upon the ground atop a foundation built from stones of various sizes resulting in a pleasantly rustic look.
As a bonus, The Stone House Cafe hides (or rather celebrates) its mischievous past. The house, originally built in 1914, was rumored to be running a bootlegging operation when alcohol was outlawed in 1919. Stories circulated of secretive liaisons to sell moonshine and even the existence of an underground tunnel which allowed easy transport of liquor directly to a saloon. Gossip intensified when the owners of the so-called bootlegging operation decided to open a genuine tavern after prohibition ended. With such a characterful story, how can you not give it a go?
As we entered the house, we were quickly greeted and shown to our seats at a simple, pleasant wooden table with comfortable chairs. The interior design was simple and clean. Historical photographs of old downtown Redmond dot the walls and are fun to check out. A cozy fireplace dominates one wall of the restaurant while, kitty-corner, an antique candy counter and old fashion cash register combines functionality with a stylish touch. Other classic fixtures are scattered though out the dining room such as the antique hat rack and coat hanger that caught my eye. In many ways, the interior felt like a comfortable private dining room with its soft green color pattern, well maintained wooden flooring, and plenty of natural day lighting that filtered through the windows.
But we were pretty hungry and spent most of our time looking over the wide array of sandwiches, soups and salads that patrons have been enjoying for several years. Grant settled on the Chicken Salad Triple-Decker Sandwich piled high with bacon, eggs, tomato, and garlic aioli served on toasted egg bread. The meat was flavorful though the veggies may have been a touch on the old side. But, the potato salad served on the side was tasty and reminiscent of clean, healthy homemade cooking. Another of our reviewers, Bryan, was pleasantly surprised when his Turkey Sandwich with garlic aioli and cranberry chutney arrived to the table. The turkey was layered wonderfully high while the cranberry chutney brought back memories of Thanksgiving. House-made chips were served on the side and our reviewer found them to be satisfying but slightly on the bland side. Perhaps some simple seasoning could help spice them up. Another equally impressive winner was the Turkey and Ham Sandwich with havarti cheese; when served with the side soup and salad, the portions are a force to contend with. Steve went for the Corn Beef and Pastrami Triple-Decker Sandwich with caramelized onions and Dijon mustard served with the roasted garlic potato salad. Although the quality of the meat was top notch and the cuts of bread were thick and nicely toasted, the overall sandwich was a touch on the small side and a little greasy when compared to the other orders (though the tasty garlic potato salad served on the side did help to round off the meal positively).
Like the food, the service was above average and, in particular, friendly and attentive. Since the dining room isn't very large, it is easy for the handful of servers to keep tabs on all the patrons and ensure that they are enjoying their meals and generally having a pleasant time. Substitutions were happily accommodated and when a mistake was made on one of our orders, the server seemed genuinely apologetic. Our only blip was that it took a while to get the bill but the inconvenience was relatively minor. At about eight dollars per sandwich, the prices are a little high for a lunchtime bite. However, most of the sandwich portions are either generous or of a particularly high quality so the value is about average. And though none of our reviewers tried the desserts or milkshakes, they looked quite good so if you felt like treating yourself, this might be a good place to indulge your sweet tooth.
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