"Everything in here had a former life," co-owner David Eduardo told me last night while surveying the music (and, during daytime hours starting Monday, dining) room of The World Famous. The decor dotting the Hull Street venue does impart a certain warmth that tends to be missing from newly remodeled spaces; repurposed benches, chandeliers and curtains give it the feel of a much older place.
And it is, of course, having housed Wilson's Soul Food for 30 years—the iconic Wilson's sign hangs inside The World Famous—and Eduardo and partner Bain Mattox have taken care to let the history of the place shine through. Subtle remnants from the former tenant remain, and though there is a separate and more complex conversation to be had regarding the gentrification of downtown's west end, Mattox and Eduardo at least seem to comprehend the significance of it all.
Of the space itself, it is rustic and sophisticated. Gorgeous stone found hiding beneath drywall on the venue's northern side has been left exposed; separated by an actual door, the small music area is dark and intimate without feeling claustrophobic. Yes, there is an actual stage, and yes, the acoustics are great. Last night's music—courtesy of T. Hardy Morris and Dave Marr, the latter of whom showed off his terrific new band—vibed nicely with its environs, and Matt Stoessel's pedal steel sounded especially nice in the room.