By now you are probably tired of seeing these retrospective articles, one critic’s opinion of the best and worst of 2010. It does seem obligatory this time of year. So here’s one more…
When I started thinking of what I might write to review the local food scene in Bucks County, I thought mostly of all the positive trends. And so…here’s my list of the great food things happening in Bucks County and why 2010 was a wonderful year for those of us eating, shopping and living in Bucks County.
Restaurants…new and old. If you read Bucks County Taste you probably know that one of our new favorites is 1821 Steak & Cocktails. This warm, laid back restaurant has had numerous past lives – the Gulch, the Canal Bar – but still resides in the same building at 1821 River Road in Upper Black Eddy. Owners since 2002, Kate Barker and Louis Gilberti, made extensive renovations to the inside and “beefed up” the menu. Fabulous steaks, seafood, cocktails, and local, seasonal vegetables – all at very reasonable prices. Check out our post from August to learn more.
This year was also exciting because so many more restaurants in Bucks are drawing on locally produced and grown food for their menus. Earl’s Bucks County (Lahaska), Maize (Perkasie), The Yardley Inn (Yardley), The Kindle Café (Lambertville), The Down to Earth Café (Perkasie), The Copper Leaf Grill (Buckingham), 1821 Steaks & Cocktails (Upper Black Eddy), Hamilton’s Grill Room (Lambertville) and The Lovin’ Oven (Frenchtown), to name but a few. What’s so great about this, one might ask? It’s not just a cool trendy thing to do. Not only are we as restaurant patrons getting fresher and more nutritional food, but it’s also supporting and strengthening our local food economy. The more chefs can buy from local farmers, the more those farmers can grow and the more stable they become financially. All of this works to our advantage as consumers and residents. Good food continues to be produced locally, our landscape stays “bucolic” and less money has to be raised in taxes for infrastructure changes that always accompany development. Read more about this in our post from last February, Getting local food on the local table.
More good restaurant news. Basically Burgers, our favorite burger and-then-some place in Doylestown, survived. Instead of being closed down by a mean landlord and bureaucratic red tape, Wes and Jay Goddard reopened on Main Street across from the courthouse. Whew. That was a close call. Do drop in for lunch or dinner when you are in town. The BEST burgers. See our post about their reopening from last June.
We now have another BBQ joint (always good news) – Bitter Bob’s in New Hope as well as a new owner of Smokin’ Lil’s in Doylestown, and Oink Johnson’s Southern BBQ stand came back for another year in Pipersville. The Knight House now has a lovely sibling next door in 86 West (good food, but I still don’t feel quite cool enough to stand at the bar). The Lovin’ Oven moved from Milford, NJ to Frenchtown, NJ – which greatly saddened folks in Milford, but made people in Frenchtown very happy, and I think the owners as well, since the place is often packed. See some yummy pictures from my breakfast there earlier this year. And we got a new Italian restaurant in Washington Crossing. Plan “B” Bistro & Bar feels like a little bit of Trenton right here on this side of the river. Nice bar, menu and vibe.
The Pineville Tavern expanded, building a new kitchen, lovely dining area and bar. Quite a feat for any restaurant but especially in this economy. Kudos to the Abruzzeses, owners of the Pineville, for taking this step and also for using all local contractors to do the renovation. See our post on the “new” Pineville here.
Good news for vegetarians and vegans. The Kindle Café, the roaming gourmet veggie eatery in Lambertville, has continued to flourish and grow (no pun intended) under Chef Vincent Peterson, with dinners several times a month at Rojo’s Roastery, the Soupçon Salons at Manon, and the Columbia Firehouse. Look for exciting developments for Kindle coming in 2011. Very good news indeed too that in addition to Blue Sage in Southampton, we now have another fine vegetarian dining experience in New Hope at the Sprig & Vine.
On a sad note, The Summer Kitchen in Penns Park closed. This popular BYOB was a fatality of the economy. We’ll certainly miss their chicken pot pie and Cuban-inspired bistro menu.
What else happened this year in Bucks County food? Stay tuned for part two…