Fantasy faire is inviting at Bilbo Baggins

Fantasy faire is inviting at Bilbo Baggins

Bilbo Baggins has more to it than being a locals-only dining niche in Old Town thats off the beaten path. In a resounding atmosphere reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, a past novel series set in the surrealistic world, Baggins has a little of everything.

Michael Armellino came up with the name because it looked like a place where hobbits eat, drink and be merry, said wife Linda, who took care of the customers on a recent Saturday night. Bilbo Baggins was the main character in fantasy novel The Hobbit, and later The Lord of the Rings, both by author J.R. Tolkien. Bilbo was a hobbit that went up against elves, dwarves, orcs and trolls in the books. Michael Armellino was a fan of the series in his younger days.

The interior does have that nook appeal too. There are two doors from Queen Street that open into the Green Dragon Pub on the left, and a cozy dining area on the right with a couple of bay windows that look out to the street. Michael Armellino described it as more of a pub-bistro feel. The two areas are divided by a stairway that leads to the second floor with more tables for patrons. Hobbit-like murals dominate the second floor as well, including a long painting of the actual characters from the book. It was done by muralist Paula Ranon, who also painted all the trees and vines on the wall to give the restaurant a earthy, fantasy-garden feel.

Its deceiving from the front, said Linda Armellino.

There are 170 seats in all, and the menu is full of variety with pasta plates, fish, seafood, steaks, Mexican, tapas and desserts. The Lord of the Rings dessert ($5.95) is a combination of white and chocolate genoise cake, raspberry compote iced with chocolate ganache.

Their signature plate, the Queen Street Pasta, ($13.95) is a chicken breast filled with Feta cheese and dill on fettuccini. On the meat side, the Rib Eye steak ($19.95) is served with fried onions on top of mashed potatoes, surrounded by grilled vegetables. There global cuisine consists of seven salads, ($4.50 – $14.95) seven sandwiches, ($6.95-$9.95) seven pasta dishes, ($13.95-$21.95) and seven main plates (16.95$$23.95) – is there some kind of hobbit-like mysticism connected with the number seven?

Sunday brunch is popular ($8.50-$13.95) as is their wide selection of 15 tapas dishes ($6.95-$12.95) Originally, two Federal-styled row houses were gutted to create the restaurant cozy restaurant, and a third was added in 2000 for their current configuration.