Preservation Magazine, Spring 2015

Place Setting: Train Depots-Turned-Restaurants

Restaurants in former train stations hold the ticket to a tasty meal.

  • By: Lauren Walser
The Windsor Amtrak Station

photo by: ITB Professional Photography/Gregg Bernier

The Windsor Amtrak Station Restaurant and Barroom in Windsor, Vermont.

The Windsor Station Restaurant & Barroom

26 Depot Ave., Windsor, VT 05089
802.674.4180 |
$$$ | Italian-American

Don’t be alarmed when your plates start rattling at Windsor Station Restaurant & Barroom. Trains have been passing by—and shaking—the brick depot since it opened in 1901, even after its conversion to a restaurant in the 1970s.

After two years of neglect, the beloved building was purchased and restored in 2013 by restaurateurs Stacy and Jon Capurso. They turned the two waiting areas, originally segregated by gender, into the barroom and dining room, and the ticket office and baggage claim into additional dining spaces. The old semaphore signal is the dining area’s centerpiece, and a vintage chalkboard displays the craft beer list. “People are so happy to have the station back,” Stacy says. “It was a piece missing in this town.”

The spaghetti and meatballs, featuring Jon’s family’s fourth-generation sauce, is a favorite.

Place Setting The Luggage Room Spring 2015

photo by: Blaise Nutter

The Luggage Room in Pasadena, California.

The Luggage Room

260 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105
626.356.4440 |
$$ | Pizzeria

When it was built in 1935, the Santa Fe Railroad Depot in Pasadena, California, included extra parking for fans hoping to glimpse Ho stars disembarking from their trains. The Spanish Colonial– style station closed after Amtrak ended service there in 1994. Then, to make room for new development in the area, the building was eventually cut into pieces, put in storage, and reassembled near its original footprint.

The depot’s former luggage room now holds a chic pizzeria with a wood-burning oven. A pair of original sliding doors are still there, complete with their 1935 hardware. Chandeliers hang from the exposed ceiling beams. “Anything added was to enhance the original space, not hide it,” says Bob Lynn, president of LGO Hospitality. He recommends the Mother Earth pizza, with artichokes, roasted peppers, broccolini, tomatoes, and onion.

Oregon Electric Station

photo by: Oregon Electric Station

The Oregon Electric Station in Eugene, Oregon.

Oregon Electric Station

27 E. 5th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401
541.485.4444 |
$$$$ | Italian

The last train pulled into the A.E. Doyle-designed Oregon Electric Railway Passenger Station in the mid-1930s. From the time it was completed in 1914 until its closing, the Georgian Revival depot was the final stop for an intercity railway that ran through Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

It later served as office, storage, and museum space before it was convertedinto a restaurant in 1978. Restaurateur Raffaele Ruggeri took over last year and initiated a multimillion-dollar remodel of the aging structure. “We wanted it to feel like a train station again,” he says. His team removed the wood veneer that obscured the original brick walls and redesigned the interiors of two historic rail cars that serve as dining rooms.

The menu features organic, locally sourced ingredients. Try the chicken piccata with spinach, mashed potatoes, capers, and a white wine sauce.


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

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Check out three more train depots now operating as restaurants.

Lauren Walser headshot

Lauren Walser served as the Los Angeles-based field editor of Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about art, architecture, and public space, and hopes to one day restore her very own Arts and Crafts-style bungalow.

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