As some of you may know from our tweets Monday night, Mark and I attended the preview party for the “new” Earl’s restaurant in Lahaska (Peddler’s Village).
First, let’s get the whole price thing out of the way. Most people I know (“locals”) have avoided Earl’s for the last few years due to a rather expensive menu and bar. Good, interesting food but…
So if that’s been keeping you away, it’s safe to come back. Both the menu and the price point have changed – the former toward an all-day, “family-friendly” yet still sophisticated selection, and the latter downward, to a reasonably priced and varied choice of items (tapas, small dishes, salads, sandwiches and entrees).
I’m not going to do a traditional restaurant review of the food. As we’ve mentioned, we don’t see ourselves as critics. That said, we have eaten our share of good food (!) and we enjoyed the samples of the new menu served at the preview party. It was an interesting variety of tastes, flavors and influences, fresh, and beautifully presented [see the photos]. And, need I say again, at a reasonable price for the ingredients, preparation and service.
Of most interest to me is the local food connection that Earl’s – now called Earl’s Bucks County – is aiming for. General Manager David Zukerman is focused on bringing in local ingredients and doing great things with them.
And he’s done his homework. David has spent the last six months or so visiting local farm markets in Bucks and nearby, talking with food producers, meeting vendors and tasting. From my knowledge of local food sources, and from chatting with David last night, he’s obviously gotten around. He’s already bringing in some of these products and with a menu that will change with the seasons, plans to bring in more when the growing season starts. For example, you’ll see on the menu right now a cheese plate with local cheeses from Valley Shepherd Creamery, Cherry Grove Farm and Bobolink Dairy Farm, and a Speck Ham dish with apple marmalade made from Solebury Orchard apples. One of the entrees is an olive-brined chicken from Bolton Farms. You’ll also see Blue Moon Acres greens popping up here and there.
These, you might say, are the “slam-dunks.” Kind of easy local sources to go with. But it is February, after all. There’s not a lot growing around here. It will be interesting to see how the menu continues to evolve as the seasons change. David says he is still working on his beef sources, although his fish purveyor is sending him only sustainable seafood. There are also plans to grow a restaurant garden on the property and serve guests at a “Chef’s Table” al fresco.
The local/organic/sustainable approach doesn’t stop at the food. Earl’s wine list has been revamped to include some organic, sustainably grown wines and some local wines. A new feature will be a “Local Pour” – a glass of local Bucks County or Pennsylvania wine, always available, and starting with some of Chaddsford Winery’s best. And if you’re watching your budget, come to Earl’s on a Tuesday night with your own bottle. They’ll be happy to open it with no corkage fee, and will also offer 25% off wine on the restaurant’s list. They are even offering some organic alcohol at the bar – 360 Vodka – and organic tequila and gin (who knew?).
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the service and ambiance at Earl’s. During the three weeks the restaurant was closed for renovations, the staff – many of them long-time employees – received training in the new menu, seeing how the food was prepared and getting to taste everything. They’re happy to describe any dish, and they do it with relish (no pun intended). In fact, in addition to a warm, friendly atmosphere, there is a palpable excitement among the staff – like they can’t wait to open the new Earl’s and start sharing the good stuff.
Earl’s Bucks County
2400 Street Road
New Hope PA 18938
Open Tuesdays – Saturdays, 11:30 am – 10 pm
Sundays, 11:30 am to 8 pm