March Tidbits: Openings, expansions & romance

Openings and new digs

They say that bigger isn’t always better, but sometimes it really is.

Altomonte's - salumeria

Altomonte’s, the popular Italian market and deli in Warminster and Doylestown, has moved its Doylestown store just up the road. Snuggled amongst the car dealerships (the building used to be one of the dealers) the new, much bigger store (as you can see from the photo above) also has a dining area to dig into one of their wonderful sandwiches. The new address is 856 N. Easton Road. This Friday stop by at 11 am for the ribbon cutting. We’ll let you know about the grand opening and more details as we get them.

Blue-Sage-Vegetarian-Grille-new-logo-crop-325x199Heading south on Second Street Pike a month or so ago, I nearly had an accident. Just approaching the busy traffic light at Street Road, I glanced to the left. Oh my! Blue Sage Grille, the excellent vegetarian and vegan restaurant, had moved across the street to a much bigger site (used to be a Thai restaurant, and before that a pub). On Saturday, January 2, Blue Sage Grille moved to 727 Second Street Pike. While their original place for 16 years was cozy (to say the least), it’s wonderful to see them doing so well that they can expand. Wishing them much success in the new place!

Just when you thought Max Hansen was at the top of his game, he’s taken on another ambitious and exciting project. In the summer of 2017, he will open a 25,000 square foot, $7 million, world-class farmhouse catering venue in Princeton, New Jersey, built primarily for weddings, corporate events and catered affairs. It will also become the new headquarters for his entire operation.

Max Hansen Princeton Hillier

The 9.5 acre venue is at 328 Carter Road in Hopewell, which can accommodate more than 300 guests inside as well as on an elevated deck overlooking a beautiful pond, is being designed by Studio Hillier — one of the foremost architecture firms in the world, which is run by husband-and-wife architects Barbara and Robert Hillier. The farmhouse sits on a larger, 300-acre property, and is an anchor to an 82-acre business campus.

Max will be relocating his entire culinary base of operations from Doylestown to the Princeton farmhouse, creating a state-of-the-art, 7,000 square foot commissary with a centralized kitchen for his business. The project will create upwards of 100 jobs.

Mad Princes Brewing frontOver the past year, every time I’ve been at that busy intersection between Routes 202, 263 and 413, I’ve glanced over at Mad Princes Brewery, wondering when it would be open.

This week, I spoke to owner/brewer Kurt Ludwig who with his brother Jim finally opened the “nanobrewery” this past December. “Even for a craft brewery, we are very small-scale,” explained Ludwig. “We have a half barrel brewing system and we brew twice a day to make a barrel.”

What that means is that you can get fresh, innovative beers on tap, and take some home in a growler. “We are hoping to scale up in the not too distant future.” For now, stop by on Fridays from 4 – 10 pm, Saturdays 1 – 7 pm, and Sundays from 1 – 6 pm. See their Facebook page for a listing of all their great beers.


Chef Anthony PasceriHouse made pastas, fresh rustic bread, homestyle cooking that won’t break the bank — that’s what the Pineville Tavern’s new chef, Anthony Pasceri, is bringing to the Pineville. He’s also bringing his Sicilian heritage, two years in Spoleto, Italy and a degree from the Culinary Institute of America. We’ll be writing a post soon with more details so stay tuned.

Ever since the kitchen fire that closed Earl’s in Peddler’s Village over a year ago, everyone keeps asking, “When is Earl’s reopening? What’s going on in there?” The mystery is over. This spring, the restaurant will reopen as Earl’s New American under Executive Chef Bill Murphy. Murphy has stayed busy this past year, helping to create the new menu at the Cock n’Bull. And he’s been testing out his recipes for the new Earl’s at the Buttonwood Grille across the street.

Chef Bill Murphy; photo courtesy of Earl's New American, Peddler's VillageMurphy has always been a strong supporter of sourcing ingredients locally (see our post about the restaurant’s garden here).

The new restaurant’s menu will focus on “locally grown, quality ingredients with clean flavors, reflecting the rich diversity of the region with the freshest seasonal produce and products naturally grown and raised on small, local farms, ranches and fisheries.”

The decor aims to send a similar message: warm, rich lighting, crafted wood furniture, weathered timber flooring, and copper ceiling tiles with reclaimed and repurposed elements create a contemporary farmhouse feel.

Chefs Melissa and Theo_Zest Culinary ServicesWhat’s in a name? A lot. A la Maison Personal Chef Service is now Zest Culinary Services. Why the change after more than ten successful years? Chefs Melissa Wieczorek and Theo Petron feel they have grown well beyond the offerings of a traditional personal chef service, as has their cuisine.

Their mission is help clients eat well, live fit and have fun through food. Their services include prepared meal delivery, personal chef services, dinner parties—including interactive dinners—as well as catering. Check out their new website here.

Isn’t it romantic?

The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm was voted one of Open Table‘s 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America, culled from the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Wow.

Wedding at Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm-photo credit Lynda Barry

Of course, we here at Bucks County Taste already knew this. We’ve been singing the praises of Executive Chef Josh Homacki’s excellent food and the great job that Deena and Mark Frank have been doing since taking ownership in November 2014. (See our post about Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm here.) And, yes, the Inn has a restaurant, open Wednesday through Saturday evenings and for Sunday brunch. The intimate dining room looks out at the beautiful grounds and is the perfect place for a romantic dinner.

Eating well

meatloaf_mac and cheese_green beans_100 calorie portion cookbook

Is it possible to make a recipe and have every portion break into 100 calories? That was the healthy food challenge set before Bob Warden, a New Hope resident, New York Times best-selling cookbook author of 11 books, and a veteran QVC host who paired up with Happy Days TV star/director Anson Williams and a nutritionist to write The Perfect Portion Cookbook. All of the comfort food recipes are divisible by 100 calorie portions so readers can eat what they love and enjoy 100-, 200- or 300- or 400- calorie increments.

The book launched on Super Bowl Sunday on QVC. Some of the yummy recipes include French toast, cheesecake, lemon bars, Waldorf salad, chili and lasagna swap in better-for-you ingredients that don’t sacrifice flavor. Check out the Mac & Cheese recipe here.

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  1. A second location for Bocelli’s restaurant has opened in Doylestown. It has taken over the Basically Burger’s footprint at the intersection of Court St. and Main St. It’s a BYOB with excellent upscale Italian food. We have dined numerous times in their other location which is located in the Upper Gwyned train station. Worth a look and ask for Raffelle (Owner)

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