Sunday, 24 September 2017 20:09

Across County Lines

Written by  Mary Irene Dolan

There’s no time like fall in Chester County. Changing leaves. Colorful trees. And a horizon that stretches for miles. Whether you’re driving through town or cruising along back roads, the scenery, shops, eateries and landmarks beg a closer look. Take a tour of some of our favorite towns and destinations, then explore on your own...

 

PHOTO BY MIKE IRBYWest Chester

This Great American Main Street Award winner always has something new, especially to eat! Stroll along Gay and Market Streets and sample from newbies and veterans alike.

New to the mix, Love Again Local redefines vegan comfort food with “cold cut” sandwiches, hoagies and paninis, while Rai Rai Ramen & Hawaiian BBQ serves up authentic Japanese and Hawaiian options. Recently opened Tranquilitea Temple on Church Street offers hot, iced and bubble teas to help you forget your worries.

Established fan favorites like Limoncello Ristorante, Pietro’s Prime, Mercato Ristorante and Bar and Saloon 151 Whiskey Bar & Grill are always worth the visit. And revisit.

And although West Chester may be known mainly as a dining destination, retail is still strong. Check out new boutique VK Veruzka for unique women’s clothing and accessories from around the world. Then stop in favorites, Tish Style and Jane Chalfant/Kiki Boutique for the latest in women’s fashion and Phineas Gage for men’s.

Try out organic makeup and spa treatments at Emily Alice, and browse through Old Soul Décor for vintage décor and more. For something out-of-the-box, head to Merchant of Menace Re-Imaginers Gallery for creative art from reclaimed materials.

And catch Resident Theatre Company’s season premiere, Next to Normal, at the Knauer Performing Arts Center through October 15!

 

Malvern

When you visit you may notice history is rich in this cozy town. You’ll find Old World charm dining at the General Warren, established 1745, and taste it at family-run Toninos Pizza & Pasta Co., in their traditional Italian comfort food.

For something new, try The Greyhound Café—
serving 100% plant-based Italian, Mexican and brunch eats—or Malvern’s newest watering hole Locust Lane Craft Brewery. Come back in early 2018 to see The Desmond’s updated look, thanks to their partnership with Hilton Hotels.

People’s Light is a must-visit for stellar theater, and their season premiere, Light’s Out: Nat “King” Cole, opening October 11 (see Theater Spotlight in this issue).

And remember to sip, shop and stroll on King Street every Third Thursday. You’ll find boutiques, an art gallery, and more restaurants to sample.

 

Phoenixville

For a town of substance and history, look no further than Phoenixville. With reconceptualized vegan-friendly eatery TASTE and newcomers like sushi haven Chikara Sushi & Asian Fusion and Chester Springs-based Liberty Union Bar & Grill in their second location with the same great homey comfort food, you won’t leave hungry. Watch for Morrell Park, a casual neighborhood spot inspired by the owner’s Northeast Philly hometown, coming this fall.

The beer selection is where this town really shines. Six breweries—yes, six—call Phoenixville their home, from old timers like Iron Hill, Sly Fox Brewing & Eatery and Stable 12 to newcomers Crowded Castle Brewing Company, Root Down Brewing Company and Rebel Hill Brewing Company. Which to choose first? We’ll let you decide…

 

Eagleview Town Center in ExtonExton & Downingtown

With Route 30 bridging the gap, these towns are just a short jaunt apart.

Start first at Eagleview Town Center’s Restaurant Row, now home to six distinct options, including the newest, Japanese sushi BYOB Bluefin Eagleview. Stop next door at independent bookstore Wellington Square Bookshop for bestsellers and copies of County Lines. Come back on Thursdays for the Eagleview Farmers Market for cool events and local goodies.

Also new on the Exton scene, casual gastropub Cask + Kitchen is now at home in the Clarion Hotel. Plus Ron’s Original Bar & Grille and Appetites on Main continue to be neighborhood faves for good reason.

Some things have stood the test of time like Ball & Ball Antique Hardware Reproductions and the Chester County Library, with even more locations across Chester County.

In Downingtown, East Branch Brewing Company is livening up the east end with pints, growlers and crowlers, while The Farmhouse Coffee and Espresso Bar serves up handcrafted beverages and bakery treats.

 

Paoli

This town was made for shopping. Though many are big box names, others like Walter J. Cook Jeweler and Van Cleve Wedding Pavillion have been locally owned for decades. Check out the Paoli Village Shoppes and Paoli Shopping Center for more shopping options.

When all that shopping makes you hungry, try something new at ANEU Approach Café with organic breakfast or lunch made from scratch. Or dine in the rustic “urban farmhouse” EatNic for farm-to-fork fare.

Remember to save the date, October 7, for the Paoli Blues Fest, this year at the Paoli Presbyterian Church, for blues, grooves, food, booze and more.

 

The Main Line

Need a reason to visit the Main Line? New eateries are beckoning. Start in Devon with Sichuan and Taiwanese cuisine at lively DanDan.

Then head to Wayne for seasoned chef Alex Hardy’s upscale creation At The Table BYOB, or La Jolie for French bistro fare. For a tried-and-true favorite, there’s Black Powder Tavern.

In Bryn Mawr, give the new Sontuosa BYOB a try for a sumptuous—according to their name—blend of Mexican, Italian, French and American cuisine. Or stir things up at the town’s first dedicated wine studio, What Am I Drinking, offering wine-tasting classes and private parties.

For healthy cooking classes and meals, recently opened fitness studio BodyX has you covered, plus they’ll help you burn off the calories!

And be sure to stop in Louella’s third and newest location—also in Malvern and Wayne—to see what’s in style this fall.

 

Wilmington

Head south to Delaware—we recommend taking scenic Route 52—and explore. On the way, stop for a bite at Buckley’s Tavern or sample fall fashions at Wilmington Country Store.

Museums here are plentiful, including favorites like the Delaware Art Museum and Delaware Museum of Natural History. Theaters abound, too, with Delaware Theatre Company, The Grand and The Playhouse on Rodney Square starting up their seasons.

If you missed Constitution Yard’s second summer beer garden season, watch for the opening dates of their holiday river rink. In the meantime, pop in to newish mead brewery, or “meadery,” Liquid Alchemy, for a taste of their mead or hard cider.

And when you get hungry, take your pick of award-winning eats at Domaine Hudson, La Fia and Merchant Bar.

 

Delaware County

To the east, Delaware County—or “DelCo” as the natives call it—is home to Newtown Square’s growing mega-development, Ellis Preserve. With plenty of fast casual food options plus special occasion dining destinations Firepoint Grill and Finley Catering’s The Ballroom, don’t wait until the Whole Foods is open to visit.

While you’re there, stop at Mostardi Nursery for fall gardening essentials, Christopher Chocolates for sweet treats, and Color & Style Home + Studio—Kennett Square’s Consign-It Furniture’s sister store—for vintage-inspired furniture and DIY-ready chalk paint.

Over in Media, the new season is underway at Media Theatre, with Carousel running until October 22. Other Media landmarks include oldies but goodies Wolff’s Apple House for fresh produce and Riddle Ale House for casual American cuisine.

A drive to Springfield for Happy Hour at Tavola Restaurant + Bar is worth the trip. Or make your dining destination the Inn at Swarthmore’s Broad Table Tavern for locally sourced food and drink.

 

Beyond

There are even more discoveries off the beaten path… The Whip Tavern in West Marlborough is a must-visit for award-winning British pub fare, while Eleanor Russell Ltd. in Glenmoore has gifts and home décor with Chester County flair.

Some of the best, finely crafted furniture is just a scenic drive away, at Pottstown’s Moore’s Furniture—also in Chester Springs—and Salvaged Furniture, and Lancaster County’s Martin Furniture. Plus home design services are close by with AK Interiors in Lancaster, Heritage Design Interiors in New Holland and Christiana Factory Studio in Atglen.

We hope you enjoy the ride!