We Love Local: Around Chester County
105 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown
484-237-8179 / AmanisBYOB.com
All local restaurants have been hard hit by the pandemic, but only a few suffered a follow-up blow from Hurricane Ida in September. Damage to Downingtown’s Amani’s required gutting and professional cleaning before rebuilding could begin. Take-out Thanksgiving meals were a small step back after flooding and destruction wrecked the recently renovated restaurant. Fortunately a $50k Go-Fund-Me campaign reached its goal to allow rebuilding, with much of the work done by the chefs. Hats off to owners Jeanine and Jon Armann (a three-time Best Chef in Chester County). We hope to see more Instagram posts like the pre-Ida one from September 1 showing surf & turf carpaccio, gala apple gastrique with micro borage. Love the talent there!
Bloom Southern Kitchen
123 Pottstown Pike, Chester Springs
484-359-4144 / BloomSouthernKitchen.com
The bright modern farmhouse renovation of the historic Eagle Tavern that is Bloom Southern Kitchen was warmly welcomed by diners hungry for farm-to-table cooking with a Southern influence. These are times when comfort food hits the spot and a menu of Southern classics is right on target. Come here for gumbo, barbeque shrimp and heirloom grits, Nashville hot chicken, braised collards, cornbread battered fried okra and, of course, fried green tomatoes. The drinks menu is also Southern inflected, including honeysuckle cocktails and mint juleps. Whiskey and bourbon selections are impressive and organized into four tiers. Makes you happy that Happy Hour recently returned.
1701 W. Doe Run Rd., Unionville
610-347-2227 / CatherinesRestaurant.com
The candles glow. Fresh roses on the table charm. Catherine’s is just the place for a special occasion or any evening with people you love. Once Unionville’s general store, the restaurant with front red-and-white-striped awnings and a lush garden patio in the back exudes character. Its friendly service lives up to the reputation of Catherine Davis, a long-time beloved waitress in Philly years ago, who gave the restaurant her name. The seafood is delicious: blackened sea scallops, halibut, superlative mushroom soup with lump crabmeat. Past country roads, old homes, fields and foliage, so even getting there is a treat.
207 W. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown
484-593-0560 / StationTaproom.com
Across from the Downingtown SEPTA station, Station Taphouse is a must-stop. Yes, it has plenty of brews on tap, more in bottles. But it’s the convivial atmosphere and surprisingly creative menu that keeps loyal fan returning. Cumin barbecue wings, chili-glazed pork sandwich, pan-seared scallops … yes! Plus specials like duck confit poutine, fall cassoulet, topped off with a chai pumpkin cupcake iced with brown sugar buttercream. For more on tap, beer to go, cocktails and wine, visit the Bottle Room next door. And drink local.
The Whip Tavern
1383 N. Chatham Rd., Coastesville
610-383-0600 / TheWhipTavern.com
Ah, the Southern Chester County countryside! Horse country, wide open spaces, rolling hills. And there, on a winding country road, sits K.C. Culp’s intimate English pub, feeding mums, chums, dates and mates, all chatting horseracing and polo, watching rugby or cricket on the telly. Join in, any day but Tuesday, and dine on shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash, bubble and squeak, Scotch egg, Welsh rarebit and sticky toffee pudding. There’s even haggis on the fifth weekend of the month. Wash it down with a pint of Smithwick’s Red Ale, Moreland Old Speckled Hen, or Guinness draught and feel like a Brit for a bit.
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