“See you tomorrow,” said Barb Miller. It’s an oft-repeated farewell, because many diners at The Station are regulars.
“Some come every day,” Miller said proudly.
The appeal? Homey lunch fare, such as meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and fried-bologna sandwiches. And hearty breakfasts, such as “The Mess,” a scramble of four eggs, home fries, onions, green pepper, ham and cheese.
The Station in Brewster, which Miller bought five years ago, is tucked into a corner of the Wandle House, a building on the National Register of Historic Places. After eating, visitors can wander through the part of the building that houses the Brewster and Sugar Creek Historical Society & Museum.
Wandle is an acronym for Wheeling And Lake Erie Railway. The two-story U-shaped brick building started life in 1916 as the
Brewster Railroad YMCA.
“The reason they built it was to have a place for layovers for the railroaders,” said Bob Luckring, president of the historical society and museum curator. “They had 60 sleeping rooms upstairs. The restaurant was open 24 hours a day.”The YMCA closed in the 1960s and stood vacant until the historical society stepped in. The sleeping rooms still bear the garish painting from when they were used as a haunted house, but restoration is ongoing, with the help of block grants and a grant from the Timken Co.
A bright red caboose in front of the building is a reminder of the integral part that trains have played in this small community’s history. Across the street is the former depot, also nearly 100 years old, now used for offices. More recently, the Brewster railroad yard was featured in the Denzel Washington film “Unstoppable.”
Although much of the museum is open and free, you can call Luckring for a tour that includes climbing aboard the caboose, and taking a peek into areas not always open to the public, such as the four-lane bowling alley in the basement.
“I remember coming here to bowl as a kid with my grandfather,“ Luckring said.
He demonstrates how a worker stood in a well behind the bowling pins and manually returned the balls and reset the pins.
“The worker — usually a highschool kid — would get to know the bowlers and know when someone was going to throw the ball hard so they could jump up out of the way.”
Luckring’s tour is peppered with anecdotes about artifacts and the people who donated them. He is particularly fond of the display of military uniforms that local heroes wore.
Museum artifacts can be found in The Station Restaurant as well.
Railroad lanterns are strung overhead, and giant paintings of train engines decorate the walls. The relationship between Wandle House and railroaders continues today, as two railroad unions hold their meetings in the community room, and the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway holds classes there.
IF YOU GO …
The Station Restaurant 45 S.Wabash Ave., Brewster
Open 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
The Brewster and Sugarcreek Historical Society & Museum 45 S.Wabash Ave., Brewster
Free, but donations accepted. Call 330-767-0045 for tours.
ON THE WAY
As you head south on Route 93 toward The Station Restaurant in Brewster, watch for these food-related stops and shops:
HI HONEY Pure, raw honey for sale at the home of Shirley and Frank Shoup. You can’t miss it — just watch for the beehives. This is nothing like the stuff you buy in the stores, says Shirley. “They have to process it, and that kills all the nutrients,” she said. $12.75 a quart. Less than a half mile south of Route 30, on Route 93.
WINE TIME Perennial Vineyards opens at 1 p.m.,Tuesday through Saturday. Enjoy your wine inside or out on the “sunset patio” with a view of rolling hills and vineyards. Live music on Wednesdays and Fridays and some Saturdays.Turn left off Route 93 to 11877 Poorman St. SW,Tuscarawas Township. 330- 832-3677.
CHEAP CHIPS Oh, the bargains you’ll find at the Shearer’s Outlet Store. Giant bags of chips and other snacks for a buck or two. And always samples to taste. 692 N.Wabash Ave. 330-767-3426.
SAY CHEESE Willing to make a quick detour? Where Route 93 and Route 241 split, head south on 241 for about three miles to Sunny Slope Orchard Market. Be sure to see the Red Delicious apple trees that have been pruned into a topiary hedge shaped like a series of wreaths. Inside, you’ll find cheeses at great prices, fresh baked breads (mini loaf of iced raisin bread for $1), chocolates and of course, apples. 330-833-9415.