Drive by Bowman’s Tavern, just south of New Hope on River Road, on almost any night of the week, and you’ll see a full parking lot. You’ll also see smiling people coming out.
What’s the secret to their success? Quality food, a varied and interesting menu— including creative daily specials—and consistency. Bowman’s is someplace you can go where you know you’ll have a good meal, at a reasonable price, served by friendly, professional people.
And, now, Bowman’s has come to Riegelsville, in Upper Bucks County—and the natives are very happy.
Last year, owners/chefs James Seward and Michael Livelsberger bought the former Riegelsville Tavern which sits on Route 611, just north of Kintersville and before you come into Riegelsville proper.
The Tavern had seen better times but James and Michael knew they could make it something special. After running the tavern for six months, they closed in November 2016 to renovate the space.
On December 5, Bowman’s North officially opened and business is booming. “We’re doing twice the business since we reopened,” James says. “We’re consistently busy during the week and we recommend reservations on the weekend.”
“The town needed something like this,” says James. The “something” is a menu similar to Bowman’s Tavern, a cozy, warm bar and dining room, live music on Thursdays through Saturdays, and good, consistent food and service.
You’ll find many of the best sellers from Bowman’s Tavern like the grass-fed beef burgers, fresh salads, sandwiches and entrees like the crab cakes, steaks, pork chops and wild mushroom carbonara. But look further and you’ll see some new items that will tempt you to Riegelsville.
Like the moist Berkshire pork meatballs, made with bacon, cheddar and jalapeno pepper, surrounded by red pepper pesto and grilled scallion oil. I recommend not sharing this appetizer with a fellow diner. Negotiations could get tense when the last meatball is left.
The same recommendation goes for the Creamy Crab Dip. Sure, some people have friendships or marriages that can handle the stress, but freshly baked soft pretzels? That’s what accompanies the slightly spicy dip made with cream cheese and Old Bay seasoning. If you ask nicely, maybe they’ll send out twice the amount of pretzels so that you can leave the restaurant with your relationships intact.
A new sandwich on the menu, sitting among tried-and-true Bowman’s favorites like the grilled Reuben, beer battered cod sandwich and the roast turkey sandwich, is the Stout Braised Pork Sloppy Joe, served on a brioche roll with crispy onions and horseradish mayonnaise.
Vegetarians and pescatarians have a lot to choose from on the menu too. In addition to Bowman’s great Caesar salad and house salad, try the beet and apple salad with arugula, almonds, dried cranberry, goat cheese and cider vinaigrette. Or the extremely popular house made veggie burger with black beans, cornmeal, scallion, cilantro, jalapeno and chipotle mayonnaise, or the grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich with blue cheese, balsamic onions, garlic aioli, and arugula on multi-grain bread.
Like Bowman’s Tavern, Bowman’s North also has happy hour specials (“6 for $6”) beginning at 4 pm. And also like the other Bowman’s, they are doing Mondays Matter, where 10% of food sales go to a local charity or family in need.
The ambiance at Bowman’s North is, well, what a tavern should feel like—warm, cozy and welcoming. The front door brings you into the area between the bar and the dining room—the bar to the right, the 40 seat dining room to the left.
A large stone fireplace, crackling with sweet wood smells on a January day, dominates the room.
“People used to fight over the tables closest to the fireplace,” James says, of the former tavern. Now there are two comfy orange sofas placed by the fire, a perfect place to wait for your table or enjoy a drink. No more fights.
The wood on the walls is reclaimed Bucks County barn wood, and the light fixtures over the bar were salvaged from a nearby house. On the walls too are drawings and artwork related to fly fishing, James’s passion (and I suspect the real reason they bought a restaurant in Upper Bucks County).
The result is a warm, fitting, authentic Bucks County feel, without the grittiness one sometimes finds in an old tavern.
Whether you live in Upper Bucks or nearby across the river, or are just out for a ride on a pretty weekend, be sure to stop by Bowman’s North. But do ask for extra soft pretzels if you’re getting the crab dip.
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