Like the ubiquitous seasonings for which it's named, Salt & Pepper Family Restaurant is an everyday eatery — a spot for diner-style fare at diner-style prices.
Salt & Pepper opened in Whitehall about six months ago, bringing renewed life to quarters once called home by Lehigh Valley Diner, but vacant for the last several years.
With the clean look of simple pendant lights, beadboard wainscoting, cheery upholstery and a number of TVs, the decor shows a fresh face. Coloring book pages scrawled with color by some of the restaurant's youngest patrons and posted behind the cash register were my favorite decorating touch.
Salt & Pepper's long hours mean the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast offerings include standard egg combos, omelets, pancakes, French toast and Belgian waffles. Plenty of sandwich-style selections are available — from wraps, melts and paninis to burritos, burgers, quesadillas and croissant and pita combinations.
Dinner choices include steaks and chops, chicken, seafood, pasta and stir fries. A halal menu lists Middle Eastern and American favorites that meet Islamic dietary guidelines. The restaurant's chicken, beef and lamb meet these guidelines as well.
True to the "family" restaurant part of its name, Salt & Pepper has one of the most extensive children's menus I've seen, including more than a dozen selections such as "bed knobs & broomstix" (two chicken fingers and one cheese stick) and "smilies" (macaroni and cheese with a vegetable).
For starters for adults, creamy, well-seasoned baba ghanoush ($4.50) was especially tasty with wedges of pita, warmed and just-crispy-enough.
A cup of homemade soup (included with entree) was billed as beef barley: I found no barley, actually, but lots of lentils. No matter the name, though, or ingredients, it was still good — comforting with beefy essence, brightened by vegetables. A standard dinner was also included with the entree.
Salt & Pepper's black & white combo ($13.75) featured a 6-ounce black diamond steak and a 6-ounce grilled marinated boneless, skinless chicken breast. Moist and juicy, the chicken had a bold Middle Eastern flavor profile; the steak was cooked past its prime. A baked potato was tender and sweet; Brussels sprouts had lost their al-dente bite.
Marinated pieces of beef shawarma were full of flavor. Available as a pita sandwich or platter with rice and sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms, my companion chose the latter ($14.95), rich with layers of earthy vegetables and Middle Eastern seasonings and spices.
Unadorned tapioca pudding ($1.65), made in the restaurant's kitchen, was a fine and simple sweet.
Considering its location on the busy, bustling commercial strip of MacArthur Road, Salt & Pepper Family Restaurant offers fare that's homemade and reasonably priced, a value-added proposition, especially important during the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Dinner for two totaled $46.32, including tax and tip.
Susan Gottshall is a freelance restaurant reviewer for Go Guide. Gottshall attempts to remain anonymous during restaurant visits. All meals are paid for by The Morning Call.
Salt & Pepper Family Restaurant
1162 MacArthur Road, Whitehall
Hours: 6 a.m.-midnight Sunday through Wednesday; open 24 hours Thursday through Saturday.
Prices: Breakfast: $2.25-$12.95; sandwiches: $2.75-$8.95; entrees: $7.15-$15.95
Credit cards: Major cards accepted.
Bar: No alcoholic beverages permitted.
Accessibility: Premises and restrooms wheelchair accessible.
Location: In suburban, commercial area on west side of MacArthur Road just south of Jordan Parkway next to Dunkin' Donuts. Parking in lot.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun