SEASIDE At first, they thought about doing something else - almost anything else but restaurant work.
They had already operated a bed-and-breakfast inn on Orcas Island, Wash., and a diner on Bainbridge Island.
But, when it came right down to it, Bob and Lori Breslauer like the restaurant business. That's why they opened the Firehouse Grill at 841 Broadway in Seaside.
"We simplified it by not doing the dinner business," Lori Breslauer said. "We do breakfast and lunch and close at 2:30 p.m. We have our afternoons and two days a week (Tuesday and Wednesday) off."
The Breslauers recently moved to Gearhart to be near Lori Breslauer's mother.
"It's kind of like a second home," she said about the area. Lori Breslauer, who lived in Portland while growing up, used to travel to the Seaside area every summer.
The Gilbert District in Seaside's downtown core attracted the couple, and local restaurant owners suggested they check out the building that used to be Seaside's firehouse, built in the 1950s.
Even today, there are signs of the firehouse. The concrete floor remains, and an outline of a floor drain from the old building is visible near the seating counter. A brass plate, painted red with a white "17" on it, is screwed to the wall. Photos showing the old firehouse and a lineup of firefighters hang on several walls.
That stretch of Broadway is becoming something of a restaurant row - a brew pub is set to go into the old City Hall to the east and Yummy wine bar and bistro is next door on the west. Farther down the street is Mckeown's, and other restaurants are in the blocks to the west and north.
For the Breslauers, having so much choice is a good thing because more visitors will be tempted to check what's available. "Hopefully, everyone does something a little different," said Bob Breslauer.
At the Firehouse Grill, the focus is on using fresh, local ingredients. An organic gardener in the area provides salad greens, seafood comes from Ocean Beauty Seafoods in Astoria, meat is supplied by Reed Hertig and coffee arrives from Sleepy Monk in Cannon Beach. Other suppliers include Blue Scorcher and Danish Maid bakeries in Astoria and Olympic Provisions and Smith Teas in Portland. The Breslauers also prepare their own sausage.
"We try to make all of our food; we use very little processed food," said Bob Breslauer, who cooks most of the meals.
"It's a simple menu, but we try to focus on quality," added Lori Breslauer, who organizes the menus, develops recipes and does some of the baking. She also takes care of the office work.
Breakfast choices include omelets, homemade granola, a "meat loaf scramble," home fried potatoes and other items. On weekends, there may be specials, like smoked pork chops and eggs or huevos rancheros.
Lunches consist of a variety of meal-sized salads; sandwiches on fresh, crunchy rolls; fish tacos and more.
So far, the local response has been good, according to the Breslauers.
"We are so pleased with our move to Seaside," Bob Breslauer said. "It started with Day 1 when we went to get our building permit. The people are so nice; it has just been wonderful."
There are tables and booths in the restaurant, or customers can sit at the counter and watch their meal being cooked in the open kitchen.
In the back of the restaurant is a long table, made from planks taken from a former pier in Astoria. That table has become the "community table," where people gather for coffee in the morning.
"We would love this restaurant to become the local hangout," Bob Breslauer said. "I want it to be the kind of place where you go to see your friends."
The Firehouse Grill is open from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday; breakfast only is served from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays.