168 N. Loudoun Street
Winchester, VA 22601
540.535.0111
Open Tuesday-Thursday: 11am-11pm
Open Friday-Saturday: 11am-1:30am
Open Sunday 11am-11pm

History of Our Building

168 North Loudoun

1Brewbaker’s Restaurant is located on one of the original lots designed in the 1750’s as the City of Winchester.  At that time log cabins lined what we now know as the Walking Mall on present day Loudoun Street.  Fifty years later most of these structures were replaced with modest brick homes and shops.  The core of Brewbaker’s, the dining room and part of the kitchen, was once one of these homes. The 25’ X 25’ two-story brick structure was most likely built by Gilbert Meem in the late 1790’s.  Mr. Meem operated a hotel on the property until 1813 when it was purchased by Daniel Hartman.

2

Mr. Hartman and his family occupied the home and ran a silversmith business from a small addition to the front of the house.  Mr. Hartman’s business partner, James Meredith purchased the home from the family in 1834. He expanded his shop, including additional rooms for the growing family upstairs and added a front porch.  This addition is where the current lounge and bar area is located.  One of the original porch floor boards is visible today in the brick wall opposite the bar. The business was passed from father to son and continued to operate until after the Civil War.  This picture c.1870 shows a typical store front from that era.  Research indicates the shop would have been very similar to this one.

Holmes Conrad acquired the property in 1868. The Conrad family owned much property in the city, including the family residence on Cameron Street on the site of the current Joint Judicial Center.  Mr. Conrad built two apartments in the upper floors. It was about this time that the current façade was added. Below a general store was operated by the Anderson family.  In 1897 the family purchased the property continuing to operate their store for 10 years.  George Sempeles purchased the structure in 1908 from Anna Anderson following the death of her husband.

34The Lambden family opened the White Palace Restaurant on the lower floor in 1910.  The original tile, including the “White Palace” entrance marker, exists today as well as the tin ceiling.  The hallmark oak beer coolers behind the bar once served as ice boxes for the original kitchen.  Several families operated the restaurant whose name changed to the New White Palace in the 1930’s but returned to simply the White Palace during the 40’s and 50’s.   It remained the White Palace until the late 60’s.  This photo is from the mid-1950’s, notice the “ghost shadow” of the building that stood to the north of the restaurant.  That building was once a Masonic Temple; President McKinley became a Mason there in 1865.

The Fireside operated in the 70’s and early 80’s; at this time the fireplace in the dining room was added.  Although it appears that this feature is original to the old house, the hearth of the home is actually located in the men’s restroom.  The site became Mutley’s in the mid to late 80’s; extensive renovation included moving the bar to its current location and resurrecting the “ice box” from the kitchen.  It became T. Jeffrey’s during the 90’s until Brewbaker’s Restaurant was established in 1999 by Dawn and Bobby Sayre.

The Sayre’s purchased the property located on the south side which included a store front and the old Winchester Billiards behind the current restaurant. The store front area, after renovation, became the Martini Lounge opening in 2005.  Renovation to the billiards parlor was completed in 2012 and opened during the Apple Blossom Festival that May. Laura Rhodes owns the restaurant now and has since 2012.  As of this writing, the site has continuously operated as a restaurant for more than 102 years making it perhaps the oldest restaurant in the city of Winchester.