The restaurant industry is notoriously difficult, and even stalwart, iconic brands like Spaghetti Warehouse are not immune. The Dallas-based chain, which opened its doors in 1972, once operated restaurants in locations as far-flung and exotic as Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Aurora, Illinois. They peddled pasta in Abilene, Addison, and Austin, and slung sauce in Stafford, Willowbrook, and Corpus Christi. Recently, they’ve downsized to locations in only nine cities—but if you long for a pasta emporium close to home, you’re in luck. This holiday season, you can create a Spaghetti Warehouse in the comfort of your own dining room.
After closing the doors of its Houston location due to Hurricane Harvey, the company is selling many of its decorations, fixtures, and equipment via a restaurant equipment auction website. If you’re longing to upgrade your kitchen’s kitschy decor, look no further: this sale has enough antique hutches, ornate decorative glass, and inexplicably trolley-themed seating for all your needs.
Of the items for auction, the actually-useful restaurant items are attracting the least attention. For instance: Do you need a 40-pound commercial-grade deep fryer (average retail price new: $1,852) that may or may not have sustained damage during the flooding of Hurricane Harvey? If so, act fast: the high bid to take it right now is a mere $1. Interested in an upright refrigerator? They’ve got three of those, and each of ’em can be yours at $2 a pop. A Hobart 60-quart floor mixer—perfect for making dough in quantities large enough to feed a visiting Division II college softball team—is currently on auction at a pricey $210, which is still only about 5 percent of what a similar item fetches on eBay right now.
But the Spaghetti Warehouse deals aren’t only for fellow restauranteurs.
The current highest-priced item, at $410, is a massive empire-style chandelier roughly as tall as a person that once hung near the restaurant’s staircase. A French-style chandelier that was once nestled alongside the restaurants heating and cooling ducts, meanwhile, has fetched at least $150 so far, while Tiffany-style lights range from $5 to $30 each, if you’re on a budget.
It’s not all lighting, though. The category of “antique woodwork with stained-glass inserts” is also well-represented at Ye Olde Spaghetti Warehouse and its subsequent auction. Such items come in the form of doors, signs, and cabinets, and none of them are cheap—the lowest-bid door is currently at $64, and has seven active bidders. The cabinets, meanwhile, are sold as a set of two (both of which appears to have seen better days) and it’ll take at least $440 to take the lot. The sign, reading “Bullards Ales”, has ten bidders, with the high currently at $120.
The stationary trolley, in which diners could sit and enjoy their pasta while imagining themselves to be choo-chooing through the Old West, is not for sale. However, the tables that were mounted to the wall of the car are. They feature images of trolleys on them (naturally) and each have only one leg. They’re only available as a lot, and the person who bid on them put in an initial bid of $2—double the minimum—perhaps hoping to scare off anyone else who wanted a bunch of one-legged tables with trolley pictures affixed to their surface. Also for sale are two signs—which appear to be hand-painted—reading “Houston Ave. and Market Square,” which are sold individually at $120 and $125 each. (Another sign, emblazoned twice with the number “38,” is a budget alternative at $40.)
Those are the stars of the Spaghetti Warehouse show, for the most part, but we’d be remiss in not taking special attention to point out that there also appears to be a man-sized safe up for bidding. The item is an antique, originally built for the Melissa State Bank in the growing Collin County city. The notes on this item, which is currently going for $142, stress that it is “very heavy” and winning bidders should “bring a team” to get it out of there—professional safe-movers aren’t included.
Despite the fun of perusing the chain’s wares—it’s like an estate sale at a haunted restaurant where we also had our childhood birthday parties—we’re rooting for the Houston branch of the Spaghetti Warehouse to return triumphantly, with an improved trolley and even more ornate lighting hanging from the ceiling. While a spokesman for the restaurant told the Houston Business Journal that they have yet to finalize the details of the re-opening (including whether it’ll be at the familiar Commerce Street location or somewhere else in the city), we’ll shine our chandeliers in anticipation of the day when we can once again enjoy our lasagna on some trolley-themed one-legged tables.