Preservation Magazine, Winter 2016

Place Setting: Restaurants in Historic Post Offices

McAdoo's Seafood Company

photo by: Sarah Griffin/Griffin Photography

McAdoo's Seafood Company.

McAdoo’s Seafood Company

196 N. Castell Avenue, New Braunfels, TX 78130
830.629.3474 | mcadoos.com
$$$$ | Texas Creole

In 1915, New Braunfels, Texas, saw the construction of its first federally built United States Post Office under Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo. A century later, the building still welcomes locals and travelers in its new incarnation as McAdoo’s Seafood Company. Purchased by the Wiggins family in 2007, the space provided a perfect opportunity to preserve a bit of the Hill Country town’s history. “It was a beautiful institutional building,” says co-owner Pat Wiggins.

The post office’s treasury department—which managed money orders and postal savings—now houses the Treasury Bar, topped with marble from the original structure. The family also saved the existing shell, windows, and interior brickwork.

From the New Orleans–style menu, General Manager Scott Rouhselang recommends the mahi mahi Boudreaux and the seafood fondue.

Willimantic Brewing Company

photo by: Willimantic Brewing Company

Willimantic Brewing Company

Willimantic Brewing Company

967 Main Street, Willimantic, CT 06226
860.423.6777 | willimanticbrewingcompany.com
$$ | American

Postal workers may be prohibited from drinking on the job, but it’s no crime to enjoy a great beer in Willimantic, Connecticut’s former post office. Willimantic Brewing Company became the building’s first tenant in almost 30 years in 1996, when owner David Wollner decided to open a brewery and restaurant.

Wollner drew inspiration from the 1909 post office’s original purpose, keeping the granite and terrazzo floors and using vintage P.O. boxes as a wine rack behind the bar. Today the old postmaster’s office is a private dining room, and the former loading dock serves as a main entrance. “It’s got good bones,” says Wollner. “It’s been here for over 100 years, so now it’s up to me to maintain it.”

Willimantic Brewing Company boasts 40 beers on tap, as well as crowd favorites like pulled pork–topped nachos and homemade veggie burgers.

Tacqueria Nacional

photo by: Ira Wexler

Taqueria Nacional

Taqueria Nacional

1409 T Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
202.299.1122 | taquerianacional.co
$ | Mexican

When co-owners Ann Cashion and John Fulchino signed their lease on the former T Street post office in Washington, D.C., the building had already been reduced to storage space for a secondhand furniture store.

“It was just filled from floor to ceiling with junk,” says Cashion. Influenced by the original facade, she and Fulchino outfitted the interior like an old post office in Mexico or the Caribbean, adding concrete floors and brightly colored tiles.

With “U.S. Post Office” etched into the preserved limestone exterior and mailbox replicas serving as trash and tray stations, the restaurant’s details have lured more than one customer into trying to mail a package or buy stamps. “I think we succeeded in our illusion,” says Cashion.The carnitas taco is a popular choice, and vegetarian options include the refried bean or egg and green chile tacos.

$ = Value, $10-19 per person
$$ = Moderate, $20-29 per person
$$$ = Expensive, $30-39 per person
$$$$ = Splurge, $40+ per person

Katharine Keane is a former editorial assistant at Preservation Magazine. She enjoys getting lost in new cities, reading the plaques at museums, and discovering the next great restaurant.

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