Restaurant chains exist for a reason. A chain is born when a popular local eatery is so good that others want to invest in the concept and replicate it somewhere else, such as Ray Kroc. Still, other times the owner and founder grows their business one location at a time like the left coast favorite – In-N-Out Burger. People flock to chains for different reasons. One might go for the unique menu or inventive theme. I think most people go to chains for consistency. You are familiar with the menu and you can relax knowing that your meal is not a mystery.
I avoid chains and Freeman’s Family Restaurant and Catering is definitely not a chain. It is a small, dare I say “hole in the wall” lunch spot on the eastern edge of the west side. It is right across the street from the hot dog institution – Chris’. It is one of those places that you look at and it screams – “Only locals eat here!” I noticed Freeman’s a couple days earlier and the signs advertising the specials made me think – country food. So I checked with Phil and we decided it would be a good spot to eat while Susan was on vacation.
Freeman’s is a simple place with simple decor. You can order takeout from the counter in back or dine in with table side service. The first thing I noticed is a pet peeve of mine – vinyl table cloths. I don’t like them for no real reason. I just think they are ugly. These were particularly worn and wrinkled, but you don’t eat table cloths so let’s move on. The menu is not fancy either. Breakfast plates, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, and a nice selection of dinner specials dotted the one page menu. Baked Steak and fried fish with two sides and a roll for about $8.50 looked to be popular options. They had a hot dog on the menu so I will have to alert this blog to its presence. Freeman’s is open for breakfast and lunch until 2P during the week. On weekends it appears they take care of the last call crowd with special hours closing at 2A.
Our service was quick and friendly. I ordered a turkey Reuben and fries with a diet coke. Our drinks come and my diet pop is flat. This is a good time to mention that the drink was $1.25 with one refill. Knowing that I would get a limited amount of carbonated beverage I decided to mention it was flat to our server/manager. She was apologetic and told me that they were using two liters. When my refill came it was flat, too. :( I would have thought she would have opened a fresh bottle. The wonderful turkey Reuben made up for the flat pop. It was served on rye bread and grilled to perfection. It had all the components of a classic Reuben minus the corned beef or pastrami. The swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing all mixed together to form a creamy sweet and sour sauce. The turkey was thinly sliced and wasn’t anything special. It isn’t one of those overstuffed New York Reuben’s, which is fine by me since this Reuben came in at a reasonable $5.
The sandwich was served on an honest to goodness REAL plate with REAL homemade, unfrozen fries. The fries had a golden hue, yummy, and were a good value at $1.35. Will I come back to Freeman’s? Yes. Will I become a regular? Maybe. I give Freeman’s THREE FORKS.
I had eaten here before when the restaurant was owned by others. So I was up for the adventure of trying the place again. I’m with Daniel on the table cloths–their wrinkled appearance wasn’t very appealing to me. However, they were clean and that’s what really counts.
The menu had quite a variety of items, ranging from fry cook items (hamburgers and fries) to italian (lasagna) to quick and easy sandwiches (chicken/tuna salad). I was feeling a little full, so I went light with the chicken salad. Apparently this is only made every other day, so I was given the option of changing my order to tuna salad, which was fine by me.
A little pickiness still remains from my elementary days (so long ago!), so I ordered the sandwich on lightly toasted wheat bread along with fries (okay, so maybe not so light on the menu choice!) A Pepsi topped off the order. I was a little disappointed when the sandwich was brought to me and the toast was roasted brown (Blossom Deli seems to be the most consistent at making toast to my satisfaction). Also, the tuna salad was a little heavy on the mayonnaise, it had a slightly runny consistency, for my tastes.
The homemade fries were above average and the price on the total meal was very affordable–as I recall, the sandwich was $3.75. All in all, the dining experience was good, but not memorable (in either a good or bad way). I would like to return to sample more of the menu items. I rate Freeman’s with two forks.
Charleston, WV 25302