Undaunted by the previous THREE less-than-stellar lunch experiences patiently endured in Waynesville (see earlier reviews for the Village Family Restaurant, Bentino’s Pizza and Stone House Tavern), on March 7 the TTA Trio, joined by Joe Hermann and Rich Easterly, continued to work northward, actually crossing South Main Street to its west side to try The Hammel House Inn (HHI), a unique, family-owned, charming combination restaurant / bed & breakfast establishment dating back to at least 1822. (Think Lebanon's Golden Lamb on a much more modest scale.) Housed in a pair of adjacent old buildings with a common porch where meals can be served in cooperative weather, the actual restaurant portion of the enterprise is located in a number of small rooms on the lower level of the venerable brick structure on the left. These multiple but separate dining areas make for both a cozy and quiet eating experience, sincerely appreciated by the TTA group. HHI evidently is popular with the ladies, as the TTA group appeared to be the only male patrons.
The extensive menu includes daily specials and a number of half-sandwich-with-soup-or-salad options for those desiring lighter fare. A limited children’s menu is also offered, along with a choice of desserts. No alcohol is served.
Service was prompt, efficient, friendly and knowledgeable. Although HHI claims it is happy to extend hospitality to bicyclists, no bike parking was noted. Patrons’ dogs are welcomed on the porch and are graciously provided with both water bowls and dog biscuits!
Joe ordered a pulled pork sandwich with (standard) Saratoga chips for $8.95, and pronounced it “very good.” Rich went for the egg salad sandwich special for $9.95, and stated it was “excellent.” John got the Reuben sandwich for $9.95 and was happy with it. Both Rod and George chose the $10.95 cod sandwich, but George supplemented his with a bowl of eminently forgettable French onion soup for another $6.95. In fairness, both agreed their fish was delightfully crispy, flavorful and cooked perfectly. Further, the accompanying tartar sauce was remarkable.
Joe and Rich, the two occasional visitors to TTA, were stoutly of the opinion that the quality of the food at HHI of itself merited five bells. While the TTA Trio had no dispute with the food quality (well…other than the bland but overpriced onion soup), the TTA Trio maintained there were also other factors relevant to trail users—distance from the trail, no alcoholic beverages, and a lack of either truly memorable ambiance or dishes. With these points considered, the TTA crew agreed on Hammel House Inn earning but three bells.