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Ferdinand's in Wheaton - Closed.


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Hopefully all the restaurants in Wheaton will be able to stick it out long enough to see the redevelopment bring them more business...yesterday's Gazette front page article sounds like many are having a hard time bringing business in. (Including Marchone's--I hadn't realized they just celebrated their 50 yr anniversary!)

Last night's power outage kept us from eating at Christina's with my parents. Ouch, you could see the pain on the owner's face as he watched us driving away since he told us they had no power. We ventured to the old standby, Ferdinand's, where everyone else seemed to have congregated as well since their homes were out of power. They had let a few servers go home when the storm hit, as they were "dead"--little did they know that an hour or so later they would have a full bar and house. They handled the situation quite well; they were hustling and there was a common joviality amongst the guests. Mr. Squids and I both are not "fans" in that we generally have OK meals and so so service, but it is the "go to" restaurant for both our families. However, my soft shell crabs were surprisingly quite good last night, and his Roast Chicken was moist and delicious. We both enjoyed our meals more than we have in many years, and the service was also probably the best we've had as well!

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Ferdinand's is probably one of the few restaurants in Wheaton that offers three different Sherrys. Unfortunately, they're Taylor, Dry Sack, and Harvey's Bristol Cream. The menu is top-to-bottom old school, featuring dishes such as Filet of Sole Almondine, Chicken Oscar, Crab Imperial, London Broil, Veal Picatta, and Seafood Norfolk. Each entree comes with a choice of the El Greco salad, or unlimited trips to the (ghastly) all-you-can-eat salad bar. This place makes The Prime Rib look like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie.

Ferdinand's pre-dates internet restaurant scrutiny, and it's probably for the best that it remains unscrutinized. In culinary terms, it's an extremely easy target to mock, but it would be wrong to do so - a large percentage of the customers tonight were senior citizens, enjoying a Friday night out in a quiet, comfortable, semi-upscale setting.

Oysters Rockefeller ($11.95) took over thirty minutes to arrive, but they weren't at all bad - six huge shells, baked in a classic preparation (if you consider spinach, not parsley, classic), and ridden with sodium. I have little doubt Ferdinand's uses industro-tubs of parmesan cheese.

I finished my Samuel Adams ($4.25), and didn't want a second beer, so I just asked for the check as soon as the oysters arrived.

When it came, I handed the bartender my credit card, and he told me to go pay at the register.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I passed by today and a sign on the door said that as of June 7 they were closing indefinitely, and thanks to its customers for years of patronage. Sounds like it's closed! Too bad. I hadn't been there in a while but it was comforting to see that it was still around. Good prime rib and crab norfolk. Mostly early birds. Oh well, another tradition passes.

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I just found out about the closing last night. Ferdinand's was nothing much, standard Amercian food plus salad bar, but it was a neighborhood monument that had certainly been there for a very long time and some of the people in the bar look like they were at the place when it opened. The owner was the cousin of the man who owned the late lamented Barnaby's. The death of Ferd is a blow to the diveresity of the neighborhood and, as such, it will be missed.

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And another bastion of old Wheaton disappears. It was a big deal when it opened (late 60's?) and for my friends who grew up in Wheaton in the 70's, it was an occasion restaurant like the Anchor Inn. Like Don said above, it was an easy target for today's "foodies" to mock, but I respected it. It was absolutely of it's time and place - and class.

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