More than two decades ago, when Jeff Carr was still a teen, he, a sibling and a friend opened the Downtown Cafe in Weatherford.
"We were too young to know we couldn't do that," jokes Carr.
Carr sold out after a couple years -- the Downtown Cafe still thrives -- in favor of a more traditional career path. But 20 years of accounting left him fed up with numbers and hungry again for the kitchen.
He did a U-turn, attending culinary school and then opening a bread business in the rambling emporium known as David's Stove Shop, which has segments selling everything from tractors to antiques, from wood stoves to ironwork ornaments.
In November, Carr opened The Shed at David's Stove Shop, a tiny lunch spot featuring large sandwiches in a corner of the antiques store. The restaurant took off immediately, and within months he had nearly tripled the seating. Despite the expansion, there are lines Saturdays and good-size crowds the rest of the week.
Part of the allure of The Shed is the setting. The room is lined with antiques: an elegant ironwork art piece here, a quaint old cash register there. The dining tables and chairs, too, are antiques, available for your post-lunch purchase, should you so desire. The condiment holder on our table was an intriguing scales-type contraption labeled a Health O'Meter. We spent the wait till our sandwiches arrived trying to decipher its purpose.
Bright lighting gives the room a warm and welcoming feel as opposed to the musty feel characteristic of so many antiques-mall dining rooms.
To say the charming setting is part of the appeal is not in any way to diminish the food. The mainstay of The Shed is the bread, baked fresh daily. The bread selection includes traditional sourdough, jalapeño sourdough, Asiago sourdough, and garlic rosemary sourdough every day. Other breads vary. There's usually a cranberry walnut and a multigrain, among others.
The he-man-size sandwiches are served on thick slices of these homemade breads, stuffed to overflowing with fillings and secured with a speared kosher pickle slice and a jumbo olive. The bacon on the BLT ($6.75) was cut thick and cooked extra-crisp, as we'd requested. The grilled cheese features eight - yes, eight - slices of cheese per sandwich. The dainty portions typical of antiques malls are not part of this lunch plan.
There's a daily soup special. (Check out the daily soups and specials on The Shed's Facebook page.) The cup of shrimp bisque ($3) had a peppery bite and was, happily, lighter on the cream than we'd expected.
The Santa Fe burger ($7) was topped with a green chile bacon jam that had more sweet than heat. A spicy mustard and a slice of pepper jack cheese complemented the green chile jam.
The Shed's menu is rounded out with homemade baked goods, included fried pies with fruit fillings, cookies and pies.
Our only disappointment with our meal was the soggy crust on the slice of buttermilk chess pie.
We'll be coming back to this great little find to try the turkey avocado sandwich -- Carr says it's his bestseller -- and one of those nicely browned fried pies.