902 W Washington St San Diego, CA 92103
When my husband was alive, we had season tickets to most of the live drama venues in San Diego. Frequently we went on Wednesday evenings, because there was less of a crowd; sometimes the tickets were less expensive and it was more convenient for us. The problem was that we went right after work and by the time the play was over there was no place to go for a bite to eat except the fast food restaurants or places like “Denny’s.” And then we discovered “The Gathering.”
They have an eclectic menu and everything we ever tried there was very tasty; moderately priced, and a fun place to be, before shows and afterwards. (In fact, one of the unusual aspects of this restaurant, besides the magicians performing in the early evening, is that if a fire truck goes by while you are eating and you are having a drink, you get a free drink. ) When I was there with another friend – Hal – a few nights ago – several ambulances went by and when we heard the sirens we hoped they were fire trucks, but, alas, no such luck.
The owner, Dan Thomas, truly has a “magic touch.” He is a magician, and on Thursday to Saturday evenings, either he or a core of magicians entertain the diners. Children are in awe watching them perform but Hal and I watched a group of 4 adults enthralled by the magic tricks performed in front of them Thursday night.
In 2011, a kitchen fire shut down the restaurant for almost a year.
What was expected to take only a few months to reopen took way longer than anticipated due to insurance and new regulations and those of us that were “regulars” wondered if it would ever reopen. It did, and it is almost as if it had never closed.
The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and “after dinner” meals. It has a full bar and an extensive wine list.
Hal had Cajon salmon that was served with fresh vegetables and mashed potatoes. Not only was it presented beautifully, it tasted good. He ordered a small (?) dinner salad that would have been a meal in itself for others. I ordered fish and chips that came with two of the largest pieces of fish I have ever seen, nicely cooked – crispy – with French fries and Cole slaw. I took home one of the pieces of fish and the Cole slaw for lunch the following day. (Unfortunately my camera malfunctioned and I do not have a picture of our meals for you to see.) However, take our word for it – everything was delicious.
The only complaint I have was that I had to ask for a refill on my water. As many times as the waitress came back and asked if everything was ok – and she must have asked 4-5 times – she did not notice that my glass was empty. When I pointed it out to her she immediately refilled it.
Although the restaurant is not conducive to large parties, when Bob turned 80 I wanted to give him a party outside of the house. I talked to Dan and he agreed to letting me have the large dining room. I invited 50 people. He set it up so that it was an intimate group, and since we dined early there were no other customers sharing the room. People still talk about that party, some 5 years later; the graciousness of the waitstaff; and the excellence of the food.
It took me awhile to go back – only because I am now getting to the place in my life where I do not mind going places that Bob and I went together. Would I go back? Again and again.