Step Back Catering Hall
community gathering spot
combines food, entertainment
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(February 2008) Its like going to Grandmas
house, owner Beverly Maxwell says of A Step Back Catering Hall.
Every time I walk through this door I just feel like Im
by Lela Jane Bradshaw
Maxwell, owner of A Step
Back Catering Hall, loves to cook and
serve people at her establishment.
That same cozy feeling is sure to be shared by guests
as they enter the New Washington restaurant. The dining room is decorated
with antiques from the Maxwell family collection, while the cheerful
red walls showcase memorabilia celebrating the buildings past
as a schoolhouse, Masonic Lodge and movie theater. Visitors can enjoy
dishes drawn from time tested family recipes and sample items inspired
by area church cookbooks.
Maxwell describes the food as mostly country cooking with more
up to date salads and deserts.
A Step Back is open on Wednesdays for lunch and Sundays for brunch from
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Friday, Feb. 15, A Step Back will play host to
a Valentines Day Dinner and Dance. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., there
will be a buffet dinner and a band to provide live music.
A Step Back is located in the former New Washington Normal School and
adds a new chapter to the buildings storied past. Built in 1894,
the building ran as a school until 1926. It also served as a Masonic
Lodge from 1926 until 2000, and was used as a movie theater from 1928
through 1951. In 2000, Beverly, 61, and her husband Marvin, 62, were
in the process of retiring from Moms Music, a business they had
owned since 1981, and decided to approach the Masonic Lodge about selling
the building. The couple purchased the former schoolhouse with an eye
toward restoring it.
Wed always loved this old building, Maxwell explains.
Over the next two years, the couple refinished all three floors, including
the third floor, which had been boarded up since the 1930s and had become
home to several bats. Today, the building has reclaimed its former beauty,
and the elegant staircase and high ceilings can again be appreciated.
The New Washington couples plans initially did not extend beyond
preservation, but soon they were sharing the renovated building with
the community and renting the hall out for parties and receptions. Beverly
Maxwells love of cooking lead to the opening of the restaurant
in October 2007. She and her friend, Sylvia Jones, enjoyed cooking together,
and preparing dishes for A Step Back became a rewarding experience for
each of them.
by Lela Jane Bradshaw
A Step Back's building has been used
as a schoolhouse, Masonic Lodge
and movie theater
I really like to cook and I really like serving
people, Maxwell explains.
In keeping with the buildings history as a movie theater, the
Maxwells have incorporated live theater into the restaurant. Last fall,
the Riverrun Theatre Co. from Madison and the Hanover College theater
group, Evil Petting Zoo, put on a series of productions for a Friday
Dinner Theater. With plays ranging from comedy to serious drama, the
Dinner Theater is sure to delight audiences all tastes. A Step Back
is currently working with these groups to set up the spring schedule,
with productions expected to begin sometime in March. Plans are also
under way to bring in musicians and comedy acts for some of the Friday
A Step Back also reflects the educational tradition of the building.
On the second floor of the building, the Maxwells are setting up a museum
to share pieces of history. They hope to show children how everyday
items, such as washing machines and televisions, have changed and developed
over the years. Visitors will be able to see what children of the early
1900s wore and inspect a quilt in the progress.
The New Washington community has also donated items relating to the
buildings past. Visitors can admire Eastern Star china or search
for relatives in the portraits of past Masonic members and class photos
from the New Washington Normal School.
A Step Back is located at 409 E. Main St.,
in New Washington, Ind. For more information on upcoming events, visit:
or call Beverly Maxwell at (812) 293-2225.
Back to February 2008