The Tavern on the Square

A blog that comes from the heart of a wonderful little restaurant in a beautiful little town of New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. 724-946-2020 We are a Casual Fine Dining Establishment with amazing food, reasonable prices, great service in a delightful atmosphere. Come visit us soon.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our first Food Critic Review!!!

It's a good one!! WOOHOOOO Check it out! www.youngstowneats.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 19, 2009
The Tavern is back. It’s open. It’s better than ever. I am glad. One of my favorite drives in the world is Pa Route 208 into New Wilmington. This is western Pennsylvania Amish country with beautiful and manicured landscapes dotted with buggies and horses. Keep going past New Wilmington and Volant, you end up at Route 19, which will take you to the Iron Bridge restaurant and its sister establishments: Rachel’s and The Springfield Grill.

But if you don’t want to drive that far, stop in at The Tavern in New Wilmington. This is a longtime Western PA standby, and a favorite destination in the fall. It has served the community of New Wilmington since 1931, and is the celebration place of choice for students and family at Westminster College.

Over the years, however, something was askew. It’s solid down home cooking got a bit stale. The servers reciting the menu bit instead of giving you one to look at got a bit irritating. It had no background music and tended to be noisy. What worked in the 1960’s didn’t translate into the digital age. The long time owners sold it to a couple from Poland, I believe, who did a credible job of running the place, but quickly found out that profits are spelled b-o-o-z-e, and New Wilmington was dry. When the referendum to allow beer and wine sales failed, they closed the place down and the for sale sign went up.

But some new folks, who already run a business in Volant, bought the place this past January, and seem hell bent on running the place “sans” spirits. I think, by gum, they are going to pull it off. They tweaked the décor; added some background music; spiced up the servers; and did an outstanding job on revising the menu. It is bright. It is cheery. The service is friendly. The food is good. And we are thrilled.

I don’t know who their consultants were, if any, but the menu revision is terrific. Included are the old standbys of ham loaf, turkey and the like. But the major revision to the menu was the addition of lighter type meals including a wide selection of salads and imaginative sandwiches and interesting appetizers, all of which fit how folks eat today. It doesn’t suffocate you with that “gosh, isn’t this atmosphere wonderful, have some beets” kind of thing. The menu is familiar to modern sensibilities and tastes. It also has a more casual feel. More like stop on by for lunch or some snacks. They have done a good job.

Notwithstanding, I ordered my usual ham loaf, which was served with choice of soup or salad, a veggie, and choice of potatoes. I chose a perfectly prepared sweet potato complete with sweet brown sugar butter on the side. The ham loaf was terrific. It was served with an apple based sauce which you could eat separately or put on the ham loaf. My wife ordered a vegetable lasagna, which was served with a marinara sauce that was not bad…not bad at all. For dessert, we shared a basic bread pudding. Nothing memorable, but you could taste autumn n every bite. Meals were priced in the $11.00-$12.00 range. And most important, the sticky buns are still there!! Make sure to buy some to take home.

On the down side, my potato soup was a bit bland, but fixable by adding some pepper at the table. My wife’s salad was the standard stuff. The “standard” dinner salad is one of my pet peeves. I know these folks could do better if they put their mind to it!! Booze is still not available, and most likely won’t be in the foreseeable future. But you can bring in your own wine. There is $5.00 corking fee…worth the effort.

There is one small thing. These folks are devout Christians, and there are some very minor religious references within the restaurant. But to be honest…you are in New Wilmington surrounded by Presbyterians and Amish. It’s all part of the charm.

I wish these folks all the luck in the world in bringing back this local tradition to the restaurant scene with a modern twist. We will be back.

My rating: a hearty 3 ½ meatballs. 1/2


The Tavern on the Square
108 N Market St
New Wilmington, PA 16142-1178
(724) 946-2020
Posted by Guru at 5:10 PM 1 comments
Saturday, July 11, 2009
The Welshfield Inn

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