Late Day Rendezvous 

Make The Hedge House Yours

Hedge House

3412 SE Division

235-2215

I usually shy away from brewpubs for one particular reason: kids. You see, micro-brew loving parents have found a loophole in the alcohol-exclusive system--during the day they're allowed to swill Porter all day in brew pubs and bring their screaming, bratty kids. This is particularly true at the Laurelwood and the Lucky Lab, where kids are allowed to run amuck, and parents aren't even obligated to acknowledge they own them.

The Old Lompoc's new brew pub, the Hedge House, however, attracts a more considerate brand of parent. Maybe it's that the restaurant is way out on Division, and the people in this neighborhood live with more consideration and modesty. Regardless of the reason, the Hedge House creates a warm harmonious atmosphere for people of all ages; even the children.

My cohort and I rolled up for a late breakfast/early dinner at something like 4 pm on Sunday. We were initially intimidated, as the dwelling is a small house, intimate, and freshly painted. Once inside, however, we felt comfortable at one of their high-backed booths, even though for a little while we were the only ones eating there. The Lompoc brewed beer was also on special for $2.50 a pint all weekend long, so we sought further comfort in their reasonable prices. Order a pint of the coffee-tinged Sockeye Cream Stout, or if you want to take a nap, the Lompoc Strong Draft, which at 6.9% alcohol, can knock you on your ass pretty quick.

The food is fairly simple, much like the menu at the New Old Lompoc (a kid free zone, by the way) in Northwest. They offer nachos with all the digs, homemade soup, and for the psuedo-sophisticate like myself, the Triple Treat; a roundup of winter pears, roasted garlic, brie, chewy bread, mixed greens, and a thick, well-paired balsamic reduction. This is a pleasant appetizer because you'll entertain yourself by making little sandwiches, but won't be too full when the real food arrives.

As this is a pub of sorts, it stands to reason the Hedge House's sandwiches are their best bets. Served with a big salad, a mound of coleslaw, soup, or chips, the Rueben, and French Dip (with caramelized onions, gorgonzola, and a horseradish cream sauce) are tasty and generous versions of the standards. Also try the PABST, a thick sandwich made with Provolone, Avocado, Bacon, Sprouts, and Tomato on sourdough bread. The salads also fare well, with a fresh spinach Cobb and a signature Hedge House salad with beets, hazelnuts, blue cheese, greens, and a balsamic dressing.

They have a couple pasta dishes on the menu, although the veggie lasagna I tried wasn't anything to crow about. It was a large serving with lots of vegetables, which stayed together well, but the flavor was just too simple.

I don't think it's the Hedge House's mission, however, to dazzle you with culinary theatrics. Their food is good and simple, their staff is nice and unassuming, and their beer is strong and flavorful. Stop by for $2.50 pints all weekend, or 4-6 pm and after 10 pm weekdays. Or check them out on Tuesday for $2 pints all day. The Hedge House is a great place to while away a few hours in the afternoon, and you can even tell your sister to invite her kids. Or how about not?

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