R. L. Bryan Schoolbook Depository / Bryan's Warehouse / Spaghetti Warehouse / Entertainment Complex, 1310 Gadsden Street: 1999 9 comments
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.