Think quaint. Think a place to hangout with your coffee, a doughnut and your friends. Or to just read the paper and look up every now and then to see who has walked in. Add to this a small market to pick up something for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or an emergency grocery item. And finally top off this vision with some of the best made, locally sourced food Bucks County has to offer.
That’s the “new” Carversville General Store, aka Max Hansen’s Carversville Grocery. I can’t really say that Max Hansen, the well-known and well-respected Bucks County caterer, has “come” to Carversville. That’s where he lives and that’s where his heart is. He has stepped up, however, to take over the general store and put his stamp on it. This is not the first time that Max has offered a variety of take away foods in a retail setting. If you’re a fan, you’ll remember his store, Just Food, in Buckingham Greene (which he later sold).
From talking to Max, I knew some of what he has brought into the store. Breakfast options like the Breakfast Burrito that I had the other day. A flour tortilla stuffed with eggs, cheese, chorizo, potatoes, braised black beans, onions and peppers. I brought half of it home. Well, I had to. I desperately wanted one of the freshly baked cinnamon donuts and it was the only way I could rationalize it. (Note to self: do not tell husband about freshly made doughnut if I haven’t brought one home for him. Big mistake.)
You can also get breakfast sandwiches, served on Kaiser roll, white, wheat, rye or in a wrap with choices like local eggs, cheese, smoked bacon, ham, pork roll, or Haring Brothers sausage. Bagels with cream cheese, tomatoes, bacon or butter are on the menu too. Of course, Max’s famous smoked salmon makes an appearance in a mouth-watering sandwich stuffed with smoked whitefish, Swiss cheese, purple onions and tomatoes on a toasted bagel. You can also pick up some of Max’s salmon to take home by the pound.
Let’s talk about the baked goods. Besides the in-house made doughnuts, there are croissants, brownies, cookies, muffins and cakes. On a recent Sunday, they sold 400 doughnuts, says Max. That’s a lot of doughnuts.
If you can get past the sweets safely, you’ll come to a counter that is filled with prepared foods for take-out. Like a “phenomenal” chicken salad (Max’s word), sweet potato and quinoa cakes, cold bean salads, pulled BBQ pork or roasted sweet potato salad with smoked bacon and pecans, and many vegetarian/vegan options. There is a respectable cheese case, with a good representation of some of the best cheeses from near and far. Turning to the cold cases, I was pleased to see Rick’s Eggs on the shelf (from Kintersville) and Matthew Ridgway’s PorcSalt charcuterie. Ok, a little upscale but I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t mind having this store in my little village!
For lunch, the choices are daunting. Herb roasted fresh turkey breast with an herb aioli, avocado, apple smoked bacon, lettuce and tomato on bread of your choice. Hot sandwiches offered include a corned beef Reuben, a grilled sirloin burger, a Philly cheese steak with shaved ribeye, and a blackened chicken sandwich with house-made Ranch dressing.
Or try the jumbo lump crab cake sandwich – creamed spinach, fresh tomatoes and remoulade sauce on a toasted brioche roll. Hungry yet? How about a warm BBQ pulled pork sandwich with creamy coleslaw on a griddled Kaiser roll? Or a “Thanksgiving” sandwich: cranberry bread, stuffing, chutney and roasted turkey. For those traditionalists among you, you can also get grilled cheese or tuna salad sandwiches, or a house club sandwich.
Max says he also plans to bring in “real” pastrami, corned beef and smoked beef brisket, which thrills me in particular, since authentic Jewish deli is hard to find in central Bucks County (I reserve the right to hold judgment on that until I taste it. I’ve been teased before.)
Sandwiches and salads made daily are also available for “Grab and Go” in the cold case, right as you enter the store, along with cold drinks. There is an assortment of grocery items from gourmet to practical (“Yikes. We’re out of ketchup.”). Pasta, olive oils, fruits (like that lemon you forgot to get at the supermarket). You could easily pull together an impromptu picnic or hors d’oeuvre for a small get-together from the store’s shelves.
Chef Sean Horan and Max are working on a weekly dinner menu which customers will be able to order ahead of time for those nights when you’ve both been working too long and no one feels like cooking. Healthy, delicious and nutritious are what they are aiming for. Max says he’s cooking for people who love food.
Since the store has reopened in early May, business has doubled. “The community has been incredibly supportive. It’s great to see all these cars in the parking lot,” he says. But getting busy so quickly has also been a challenge. The staff from the previous incarnation of the store has stayed on, and Max and Sean are working to help them with the transition. It all happened rather quickly, and systems are still being put in place. So be patient and kind, especially if the store is crowded.
The Carversville Grocery is open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 6 pm. Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 5 pm, although Max says that may change if folks start banging on the door at 7 am (please don’t do that; I was only using an expression). You can keep up to date with their offerings on their Facebook page or their website. The store sits in the center of Carversville, near the intersection of Carversville and Aquetong Roads.
Max Hansen Carversville Grocery
6208 Fleecy Dale Rd
Carversville, PA 18913
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