George Washington Bookstore and Tavern
If your travels take you near Concord, N.C., for lunch or dinner, the George Washington Bookstore and Tavern is the place to go. Located in the heart of downtown Concord, the George Washington Bookstore and Tavern has its home in a 100-year-old building that exudes ambiance. Wooden and parquetry floors. Pressed tin ceiling — an original, not a nostalgic remake. Exposed brick walls and old hunting trophies. Antique memorabilia with a Revolutionary War flavor. (Even the bathrooms are called “George” and “Martha.”)
The Tavern has two main rooms with tables and booths. The first room also has a small stage and is host to live music every Friday and Saturday night. The second room is a taproom with two bars — one a freestanding antique bar over built-in cabinets, and the other a functional watering hole with beer on tap.
The lunch menus include Tavern specialties such as Red, White and Blue Chips with salsa, homemade pimento cheese sandwiches, homemade chicken salad and crab soup. There’s also a quiche, five types of salads and as many sandwiches to choose from as there were original American colonies (that’s 13 for the history-impaired).
For dinner, the Tavern boasts a wine list and a few more appetizers, including fried green tomatoes, Maryland crab cakes and a country onion soup. Sandwiches and salads are available, as well as 11 entrees. Entrees range from chicken and salmon to shrimp with grits, wild mushroom ravioli, a vegetarian plate, crab-stuffed flounder and a vegetable quiche. There are also three cuts of steak, and the option to add a crab cake to any steak dinner. Entrees include a potato side.
The service is friendly and quick. Kids will like spotting the quirky items on the walls, including Christmas lights wrapped around the air-conditioning tubing. We tried the crab soup, which was excellent, and both the pimento cheese sandwich and the chicken salad. Both were good, and even the half sandwich size is ample. The pimento cheese spread is very chunky, with a good blend of cheeses. The chicken salad has lots of white meat and is flavorful without being heavy. The crab soup is in a cream base (not tomato) and was nicely seasoned. Desserts include a cheesecake, mixed berry tarte, pecan pie and crème brulee.
Whether you’re headed out for dinner and entertainment or looking for a good place for a burger or sandwich, if you’re in the Concord area, check out the George Washington Bookstore and Tavern for a revolutionary outlook on dining.
The Chow Down
Dollar Deal: Peel and eat shrimp, $6.95-10.95. Red, White and Blue Chips, $3-6. Crab soup, $3-4. Candied pecan salad, $6.25. Tavern burger, $6.50. Kids meals, $3.95. Desserts, $4.50
Kid Friendly: Great place for lunch — everything wipes off
Especially for the little ones: Perfect for a game of “I Spy” with all of the unusual décor
To avoid a wait: Avoid weekends with live music. Go ahead of the crowd for lunch and dinner.
Noise level: Quiet when no bands are playing
Décor/atmosphere: Funky antique — kitschy mix of Founding Father’s memorabilia and other interesting stuff in a century-old building
Kiddie fare: Chicken tenders, grilled cheese or corn dog, all served with chips
Anything healthy on the kiddie menu: Side items include glazed carrots and broccoli.
Parent fare: Appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers, entrees and steaks.
Bathroom amenities: Clean (Make sure your child knows whether he/she is a “George” or a “Martha.”)
High chair/booster seats: High chairs only
Got milk/juice: No, but you can get Orangina and bottled water
Address: 16 Union Street South, Concord, NC 28025
Phone: (704) 788-1561
Hours: Lunch is served from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Dinner is served from 5-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Monday. Live music begins at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. See Web site (www.gwb&t.com) for list of upcoming bands and events.