Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hose 22 Firehouse Grill

56 Stutson Street, Charlotte
Visited July 1, 2010
Written by Tyler
Hose 22 Firehouse Grill on Urbanspoon

Hose 22 is a restaurant straight out of the Rochester history books, set in a former firehouse on the city’s northern tip. The building had been vacant since 1962 until renovations began in late 2007, with the restaurant opening last fall. From what I’ve heard, business has been good and the reviews have been decent as well.

I went with my family a few weeks ago as we celebrated my birthday. My mom had eaten here before and really enjoyed it.

A proud American will enjoy this place, as the cuisine is mostly American and the d├ęcor is basically all firefighting equipment. Even the original fire pole remains intact.
(Image courtesy of rochester.metromix.com)

The place was fairly busy, but we had reservations. The service was kind of slow, but we had an appetizer to sustain us for the time being.

Our platter of Firehouse Nachos was pretty good. The freshly made tortilla chips were warm and covered in a “blend of melted cheeses,” topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and jalapenos, plus we added pulled pork on top. It was a lot to handle, but we polished it off. You can get such a dish at most similar restaurants, but the tasty blend of cheeses and warm chips really set these apart.

We had a relatively long wait for our food. This was somewhat understandable because it was pretty crowded, but still longer than I would have thought. My mom promised us they would bring us free bread and butter and some point, which we finally asked for and received about a minute before our meal came. This was probably a good thing, because the bread was incredibly dry and boring, even though my mom said she had great bread last time she ate here.

I ordered a bowl of chicken chowder, which was very similar to white chili, one of my favorite dishes. The soup was fairly creamy and had a decent kick to it, but wasn’t nearly as hearty as I’d hoped for, especially lagging in chicken. Other than that it tasted fine, but was too thin and wasn’t as all-around good as other, similar soups I’ve had elsewhere.

My grandma had a five-cheese penne pasta topped with grilled chicken, which she enjoyed for the most part. I sampled it myself and it was indeed very cheesy, but I enjoyed the chicken in it.

Jake ordered Cajun wings, which ended up being overwhelming for him, not even finishing one before deciding they were too spicy. He returned them and got Buffalo-style wings instead, which he only ate a few of and didn’t care for either. I wish I would have tried one of the Cajun wings before Jake returned them, because the coating and seasoning was different than anything I’d seen before and actually looked quite appetizing. Oh well.

My mom had the Hose 22 Salad, which included roasted tomatoes, red peppers, artichoke hearts, spaetzle noodles and feta cheese with house balsamic dressing. This salad was basically the reason my mom suggested Hose 22 for this occasion, as it is one of her all-time favorites and she enjoyed it yet again.

My dad had the Back Draft Chicken Sandwich, which is blackened grilled chicken with peppers, onions, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomato. He said it was “fair,” but not nearly as good as similar chicken sandwiches at places, namely the Dakota Grill in Hilton. He did enjoy his side of French fries more, however, because they were freshly cut.

I sampled a bite of my dad’s sandwich and, being somewhat of a connoisseur of grilled chicken, I thought it was pretty good. I agree with my dad; it isn’t among my top two or three, but it is something I’d eat again.

My sister had macaroni and cheese, which was much fancier - more of an actual pasta - than your basic Kraft dinner. It had penne with a blend of Asiago, cheddar jack and mozzarella cheeses, along with a bread-crumb topping, which she said was good.

Hose 22 is said to have very good pizza. It has five on the menu, and all are what I’d consider ‘specialty’ pizzas; Buffalo Chicken, Barbeque, White Florentine, Margherita and The Downtime Specialty (alfredo-based white pizza with sausage).

I am interested in going back soon to try out a chicken dish of my own – because I saw some promise there – as well as a pizza.

Our reactions to our visit to Hose 22 scaled one extreme to the other in terms of food. We all agreed the service wasn’t terribly fast, but it certainly has a nice atmosphere. There is a lot of potential for this restaurant – which hasn’t even been open a year yet – to be special. Business has been great thus far and the firehouse setting makes it a true novelty.


Service/Atmosphere: The service wasn’t great, but it was fairly crowded, especially for being a Thursday night. The atmosphere is great; a unique slice of history.

Food: A hit for some of us; a complete miss for others (Jake). All around the food is good, and there are several interesting items on the menu I’d love to try, namely the pizza.

Value: The portion sizes are decent, but the prices are expensive relative to the other restaurants we reviewed.

Overall: A unique, historic novelty with potential to be a popular and respected restaurant.

Grade: B-

Visit online: www.hose22.com


  1. Tyler:
    Thanks so much for your honest feedback. We really appreciate it and all comments have been shared with the owner, chef and manager. Our cajun wings are spicy. We have regulars come in just for them, but feel free to ask to have them reigned in a bit if ordering again. Look forward to having you come back and try our pizza, The Downtime Specialty is a favorite. Again, we are always putting feedback like yours to good use so we can continue to improve. And yes, we are very proud of our building renovations. Thank you again for your blog review.
    - Hose 22 Management Team

  2. Thanks for the comments as well! The Cajun wings may have been too spicy for my brother, but I think I would enjoy and I look forward to trying them.