Tuesday, December 29 2020 10:09

Around Chester County

Written by County Lines Magazine

Amani’s BYOB

105 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown
484-237-8179 / AmanisBYOB.com

Although it’s been over 10 years since Downingtown saw the opening of Amani’s—the almost eponymous BYOB of chef Jonathan Amann—it feels as fresh as the ingredients used in the creative dishes on its menus. Now adding takeout and family meals to his ambitious menu, the Johnson and Wales-trained chef continues to serve up exciting choices from the local sources he’s cultivated from area purveyors. Charred octopus sliders, yellowfin tuna poke bowl, smoked short rib Bolognese to name a very few. There are many delicious reasons Armann was named Best Chef in Chester County for three years running during his arrival on the scene. He deserves at shot at #4.

Birchrunville Store Café

1403 Hollow Rd., Birchrunville
610-827-9002 / BirchrunvilleStoreCafe.com

You wouldn’t know it from the map. It’s a long, winding trip to get to the town, population 101. But the Birchrunville Store Café has long been one of the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area. There, Chef Francis Pascal, trained in France and Italy, drew inspiration from Pennsylvania’s rolling countryside. For 21 years, his small restaurant has turned out some of most elegant dishes you’ll ever taste. Roasted beets, warm figs, crispy pheasant, veal porterhouse … all so luscious. Which is why we’ll drive there again and again. Oh, if you’re too early for dinner, or just want to indulge an amazing dessert, visit its Butterscotch Pastry Shop across the street for breakfast or lunch.

Catherine’s Restaurant

1701 W. Doe Run Rd., Kennett Square
610-347-2227 / CatherinesRestaurant.com

This is the kind of place to share conversation with friends, in the lovely setting of a historic Unionville Country Store-turned-restaurant. A place to trade exciting announcements over goat cheese ravioli, sea scallops and creative salads at candle-lit indoor tables. A meal at Catherine’s can make ordinary days special with their divine signature mushroom soup with lump crab meat under umbrellas on the patio reminiscent of a village café in Provence. Comfortably casual with a touch of country elegance, at Catherine’s every bite is a pleasure. And every sip of coffee to accompany a forkful of dessert should be savored to make the moment last a little longer. A special gem in an iconic Chester County town.

La Maison

1470 Old Ridge Rd., Pottstown
484-680-2631 / MartinsKitchen.com

“A tiny auberge serving fine French cuisine in the time honored tradition found in the countryside of rural France.” That’s La Maison’s description of its special niche in our local dining landscape. Renowned Chef Martin Gagne transports diners by serving multi-course magic in the intimacy of the dining room in his 300-year-old house in historic Coventryville. Menus for Friday and Saturday dining are more formal (filet de fletan au mousseline de brochet en croute) than those available for Thursday curbside pickup (heirloom pumpkin soup with chicken quenelles, white asparagus tarte with gruyere). How lucky we are to take our palates on an international jouney.

The Whip

1383 N. Chatham Rd., Coatesville
610-383-0600 / TheWhipTavern.com

Turned at the “Blow Horn” sign and then park along the road that cuts through rolling countryside and walk up to the tavern. In riding, walking or fashion boots, you’re always welcome at The Whip—our favorite British pub. Hearth and hospitality are warm in winter; beers, ales and ciders are cold in summer. We love their pub fare—the best without pulling out a passport and crossing the pond: Welsh rarebit, Scotch eggs, bangers and mash. Malt vinegar on the table and a side of mushy peas are par for the course with fish and chips. Mmmm… their sticky toffee pudding is brilliant. Loyal Whipsters get takeaway delivered to their cars.

Victory Brewing Company

420 Acorn Ln., Downingtown
610-873-0881 / VictoryBeer.com

At its Downingtown brewery, you’ll drink—and eat—in Victory’s first taproom, now 300 seats, serving 29 beers on tap, from Black is Beautiful, a porter, to Victory Classic, a lager. The brewery’s 35 huge fermenters—the largest is 400 gallons—are just beyond the dining room. The food—cheesesteak, burgers, pizzas, fries, fish ‘n’ chips, and the like—is consistently excellent. Since 2014, Victory moved the bulk of its growing production to Parkesburg, opened taprooms in Kennett Square and Charlotte, North Carolina, and announced plans for a 14,000-square-foot brewery/taproom in Philadelphia. Not bad for childhood friends Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet, who were inducted into the Chester County Business Hall of Fame in April of 2020.