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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Our First Visit To The Edison Restaurant In Cascades Park

Click pictures to enlarge and read menus.

Saturday morning Lulu and I went to a funeral. After two hours of standing - in our Sunday best - we were cold and hungry. When I asked my wife where she would like to have lunch - The Edison at Cascades Park  was her quick answer. She said she wanted to be dressed nicely the first time we went there. 

The Edison Restaurant is one of our newest neighbors. It is 1/2 miles down the road - halfway to the Capitol. A few times a week we go to Cascades Park to enjoy the 3 miles of paved walking trails. We circle around the old converted power plant - but as Lulu usually said - we weren’t dressed nice enough for our first visit. 

When Tallahassee decided to convert the old polluted Superfund Site into the city’s flagship recreational area - we were surprised they were saving the old 1920’s brick building. It had a few architecturally redeeming features - but it seemed like a daunting project. Later - a lot of voters were angered when the mayor gave his campaign manager a sweetheart deal to furnish the restaurant - I hate it when government competes with private industry - let alone favoring one business over another. Not only was the building renovated from top to bottom - but $1.5 million was spent to furnish the interior for the politically connected owners. If the business fails - the town is stuck with a renovated shell full of very specialized furniture that would not sell for 10 cents on the dollar. 

Now that I got that out of the way - let me tell you about our visit and our lunch. 

First - there is only a very small parking lot next to the building - so I dropped Lulu off at the door and drove several hundred yards to park down the hill. During the evening - they have free valet parking. 

Inside the front door of the Edison - you enter into a large open bar area surrounded by tables and booths. On the north side are large curtainless windows surveying the new park - the amphitheater - and the State Capitol. Our tax dollars have tastefully decorated the area in an electrical motif of wires and old spiral light bulbs. There are two large TV’s above the bar tuned to sports channels. 

In the early 1900’s - Thomas Edison made lots of money setting up small direct current power plants in downtown America. Direct current does not travel long distances - thus the reason for being downtown. Later Nikola Tesla - who also worked for Edison - perfected the alternating current power system that we use today. Although Edison fought against the AC system - today we use it and can produce electricity in one state and send it half way across the country to be used in high market areas. Today - Tallahassee makes most of our electricity using natural gas about 10 miles west of downtown. A little is made at a hydro plant on Lake Talquin. 

I am not a big foodie - but I am really happy that our town has so many nice places to eat. Some of my favorites are - Sonny’s - Logan’s - Andrew’s - and Harry’s. Since the Edison is so close - politics aside - I am very happy to have a nice place to take our guests to dinner. 

We were presented 2 menus - one for lunch - one for drinks. Lulu and I ordered our drinks - a draft Yuengling beer and a Bloody Mary. For lunch I ordered their Edison Burger with fries. Lulu had the Shrimp and Grits. Pictures of our entrees and drinks are shown. Also - I asked for all of their menus - and took pictures of them - shown below. Our bill came to $44 for drinks and entrees. 

Usually I am not very critical of food - my wife is a great cook because she prepares what I like - not what someone else things is good. I have to say that everything we bought was excellent. The service was good - the ambiance excellent - to a retired science teacher. It almost feels like our own personal neighborhood club. I have no idea how well they are doing - or how popular it has become. Since the legislature is in session now - I would expect they are busier than normal. This summer will tell the tale if it can survive. The food industry is a tough business. 

While our food was being prepared - we walked around inside and took pictures. There is a banquet room upstairs with an elevator. It has windows looking north and west. The kitchen is on a mezzanine - in the basement - there is a small deli with lots of coffee. Outside there are bars on 2 levels. One bar is a giant cantilevered deck overlooking the park and theatre. It would be fun watching a show from there. There are a few small gas fireplaces near the outside tables. A spiral steps from the old power plant was preserved - but it is used as a decorating shelf. 

After lunch - the walk down the hill to our car was not bad - it was 50s and windy. 

Tallahassee has 500 places to eat - so it is a competitive market. My friend Gerald Ensley said - and I paraphrase - people in Tallahassee eat at a restaurant 2 times - once in the month that opens - then once in the month when it announces it is closing. We got our first one in. 

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