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R. L. Bryan Schoolbook Depository / Bryan's Warehouse / Spaghetti Warehouse / Entertainment Complex, 1310 Gadsden Street: 1999   13 comments

Posted at 10:45 pm in Uncategorized

The Spaghetti Warehouse was in the old R. L. Bryan building at the corner of Gadsden & Lady Streets. My memory is that you entered on the Lady Street side, and I was surprised to find that the official address was on Gadsden Street.

They first listed in the phonebook for 1993, and last listed in the one for 1999. The Spaghetti Warehouse's original concept was to find disused properties in old commercial districts, buy them at low prices and fit them out as restaurants. (The chain is not connected with the Old Spaghetti Factory chain, which had a similar concept). In the early 1990s, this space in the Vista certainly fit that description.

Apparently each Spaghetti Warehouse also had an old trolley car inside, and in which there were a few tables for patrons. I did not know it was a chain-wide thing, but I definitely recall the one in the Columbia location. In the event, I believe I only ate at the Columbia Spaghetti Warehouse twice, and I really like spaghetti. Part of that was the fact that I was living out of town during the entire life of this location and had my favorite places I liked to hit on weekend visits. Another part of that, though, was that I felt the food was pretty average. I think I recall that they had several different types of sauces, and maybe that you could get free refills, but none of them really stood out. It wasn't bad, but neither (despite the knocks it takes) was The Olive Garden, and that was considerably closer.

According to this write-up Spaghetti Warehouse got into trouble in the mid-90s. Part was that people were nervous about going to some of their industrial locations (not a problem here), and that trying to expand into the suburbs was much more expensive since the real-estate wasn't blighted and vacant. They tried some other concepts, including an Italian Grill concept, and in 1998 were bought out by Consolidated Restaurant Companies. The chain closed the Columbia location about this time, though they continue to exist in a number of places. (I think I ate at one in Kansas City after that, though it could have been an Old Spaghetti Factory).

It appears the building now houses law offices.

UPDATE 29 Sep 2010: Updated post title with additional tenants based on the comments.

Written by ted on September 28th, 2010

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13 Responses to 'R. L. Bryan Schoolbook Depository / Bryan's Warehouse / Spaghetti Warehouse / Entertainment Complex, 1310 Gadsden Street: 1999'

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  1. Back in 1976, I was washing dishes for the guy who had the Italian restaurant in the old Le Petit Chateau space on Sunnyside Drive mentioned in that entry here on Columbia Closings (still don't remember his name). He was concurrently going into a restaurant/bar concept with his good friend Weems Baskins in the old R.L. Bryan book depository that they had just bought, and I was hired along with another dishwasher at the Italian restaurant to move over to the Gadsden Street enterprise and begin work with the construction crew, one Doc Wilds Funky Home Builders. Doc and crew proceeded to transform this old building into the first "hip" restaurant/bar in what was to become the Vista District. It had the eponymous name of Bryan's Warehouse. Doc Wilds and his crew (sans me) turned the old Coal Company bar into Greenstreets, among many other club remodels, and they had that whole put-up-a-bunch-of-rough-hewn-wood-siding-indoors aesthetic nailed up tight around here. Just about every new bar or club in town had Doc Wilds do something or another to make it look like you were hanging out in a California mining town saloon with lots of levels. That became a cliche after a few years, but it certainly did work at the time to immediately transform a space into a magnetic, hip and trendy restaurant/bar.

    Don't remember how long Bryan's Warehouse lasted, but I seem to remember that by the mid-80's or so, it was no longer called Bryan's Warehouse, though there was still some form of trendy restaurant/bar here. There could have easily been two bars in the time period between Bryan's Warehouse and Spaghetti Warehouse, but I'm sure there was at least one. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that there was a restaurant/bar here after the spaghetti got cleaned out of all the corners and before it turned into the present-day offices.

    Here's a page that features the historical marker that is married to the above address. The second page (side of sign) in the transcript briefly mentions the historical significance of Bryan's Warehouse as one the first restaurants in the Vista to reuse an old building full of the history of that district, but it doesn't mention it by name, which is kind of weird from a historical perspective considering that it had the same name as the old book depository.

    Michael Taylor

    29 Sep 10 at 3:29 am

  2. After Spaghetti Warehouse closed, it was vacant for awhile and then became Brian Vaccio's (Rafters Five Points) Jerry Maguire's "Entertainment Complex" for a couple of years.


    29 Sep 10 at 8:55 am

  3. I remember eating at Bryan's Warehouse in 1979 and found it good, but pricy. At one point in the early-mid 1980s the Myrtle Beach nightclub Xanadu operated a l0ocation by that same name in the eastern part of the building.


    29 Sep 10 at 10:10 am

  4. I liked Bryan's Warehouse. They had a video skeet game in the back bar that was unique. The screen was quite large & mounted on the wall opposite the bar. The controls were at the bar & I think it cost 75 cents. The graphics were great considering it was the late 70s.

    John R

    30 Sep 10 at 3:37 pm

  5. Bryan's Warehouse is where my dad took me and all my buddies to dinner after our graduation from Columbia High in May of 1978. A good memory.


    14 Jan 11 at 2:25 pm

  6. How old is the Bryan Schoolbook Depository and what was it used for? A library?


    24 Dec 12 at 7:21 pm

  7. Schoolbook Depositories warehoused books for distribution to the local school systems. The most infamous one is the Texas Schoolbook Depository in Dallas from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy.


    25 Dec 12 at 9:45 am

  8. I will never forget eating there with a group when it was the skeddy place and the woman next to me and studied the menu forever and the loudly ordered "some of that 'mine strone' soup."

    ( she pronounced mine as in land mine, and strone as in Stroh's)


    27 Dec 12 at 7:28 am

  9. Here is a link to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the West Gervais Street Historic District. It lists some history of the building.


    16 Jun 13 at 11:17 am

  10. I swear I remember going to this place in '92. I have a feeling it opened that summer. I remember it seemed like an odd place to put a restaurant, but now that area is booming. I like that they had lots of sauces, but everything else was just okay.

    Mr. Bill

    25 Jul 16 at 3:24 pm

  11. I used to work here for about years as a kid. it was such a fun time. it was speghetti wharehouse. we were totally crazy kids who didn't give a f. all the garbage food was steamed. and convicts were bussed in from the local jail to work in the kitchen. some were gross ghetto losers who couldn't string together a sentence. had a busboy buddy who'd pee in a cup and tossit it in the sweet tea. hahaha he gave zero f's. one time i remember they had new people in trainiing and i saw them in the kitchen and I stuffed my mouth with a load of lettuce then spit it out all over the floor and yelled "this place is a##$". there was a giant fat girl with green armpits named sandy. she smelled not so great . and my buddy would tell her her big fat a## looked better than her face. it was hilarous


    2 Jun 24 at 4:27 pm

  12. I remember one of the bidders there threatened to stab me for calling him “son.” One minute we were talking about the ax-men cartoon, the next minute he was raving about not being my son and he wasn’t afraid to go back to prison.
    Then there was the time the way staff had a meeting about some complaints that I was only bussing the tables of the attractive women, but never the stinky ones. They elected my friend to “have a talk with me.” I have no idea how that dead rat ended up in the marinara tub.
    Reminds me of the time the cops had to come and bust into a guy’s car who was parked and idling for 4 hours in front of the main entrance. Turns out he passed out in the back seat because of a strenuous round of gerbil’ing. The cops were quite stunned.

    I actually enjoyed some of the lighter food there. And it was generally a fun place to work. And most of the customers were nice. Low pressure low prices, basic cheap food.
    Except for the trolly, that place was he**.


    2 Jun 24 at 5:10 pm

  13. ***bussers
    *** X-men cartoon.
    *** wait staff


    2 Jun 24 at 5:16 pm

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