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Back of House

STAFF PUBLISHER Dan Mathers dan@tastewestchester.com

ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio nick@tastewestchester.com

MANAGING EDITOR Kate Chadwick kchadwick@tastewestchester.com EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Courtney Potts courtney@tastewestchester.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Nazarena Luzzi Castro nazarenaluzzi.com

“Read as you taste fruit or savor win, or enjoy friendship, love or life.” George Herbert

COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd bboyd@thewcpress.com Jamie Jones jjones@thewcpress.com Andrea Mason amason@thewcpress.com DJ Romeo romeo@thewcpress.com Rotary Club of West Chester rotary@thewcpress.com Moore Maguire Group realtalk@thewcpress.com

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Michael Lynch mlynch@thewcpress.com

Published By... Mathers Productions 24 W Market St, Ste 4 West Chester, PA 19382 mathersproductions.com 610-344-3463

Produced in Partnership with

TASTE of West Chester is a quarterly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. To find out more, visit our website at tastewestchester.com

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Amy Tucker amytuckerphotography.com

www.downtownwestchester.com

WorthOur no-nonsense

Noting

table of contents

7 #THEWCPRESS Our favorite social media posts from fans are getting printed

A BARISTA 11 MEET Abbie Smith of Cathy’s Coffee Bar talks coffee and cupcakes BIG CHILL 13 THE Keep cool with our local guide to cold beverages OF THE MONTH 25 BARTENDER Meet Adrienne Shearer of Sterling Pig WORDS 29 MINCING A quick Q&A with some local culinary talent SAFARI 48 VEGGIE Our favorite vegetarian dishes and vegan-friendly restaurants AUGUST EVENTS 49 CAN’T-MISS The best of what’s happening in West Chester this month

61 PHOTOHUNT Five the five differences in these two photos and win TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Letter

from the

Editor

Dan Mathers

introduces the newest tastemaker in town

This product has been a long time in the making, like, a really long time. Usually the team behind The WC Press (this magazine’s parent publication) starts working on the next edition a few days after the previous issue has gone to print. We’ve got about 28 days to sell and design ads, develop stories, shoot photos, conduct interviews and assemble everything into a compelling read. This issue has been in the works since May... of 2018. That’s the date that Malcolm Johnstone, executive director of the Business Improvement District, reached out to us about finding a way to compile and promote all of West Chester’s foodie info in one place, a product entirely dedicated to our booming restaurant industry. Knowing that a single food issue each year wasn’t enough to cover everything that’s happening in this town’s food scene, we were immediately intrigued. After a short pitch meeting, we snapped up the relevant usernames and web addresses, then trademarked the name Taste of West Chester in July 2018. We’ve been brainstorming content ever since. To be clear, this is not just another issue of The WC Press; this is not just another “Food Issue.” While it may have many similarities, Taste of West Chester is an independent product, with its own dedicated social media, and a website that will be churning out compelling content all year long. Plus, starting with the next issue in February 2020, we’ll be releasing a new Taste four times a year. I think it’s also important to point out that this project is bigger than just the team behind The WC Press. Not only have we partnered with the BID on content production, but we’re also building a digital team that will take this to the next level. Chief among our new team members is Erik Weber, who we featured in our Young & Influential issue last month. He’s built the largest Instagram and Facebook following in the area with @WestChesterViews. If you want to know about the best eats in the borough, you need to follow @tastewc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We’re also teaming up with restaurateurs in town. Taste is intended to be the information arm of West Chester’s restaurant scene, and we’re looking forward to working closely with those restaurants. In fact, we’ve got Justin and Adam at Side Bar to thank for pushing Malcolm to launch this project, and guys like John from Bar V who’ve been insisting for years that a food-centric product is a must. John actually sent us an article pitch before we even approached him with the idea. You can expect Taste to be your primary source for good food news. We’re here for consultation when you’re considering going out to eat, or uncertain about where to snag a drink at happy hour. You’ll be able to pick up these pages every three months to find out more about your favorite bartenders and baristas, and check our website and social media year-round to get the inside scoop from the area’s best chefs. We’re confident that the relationships The WC Press has forged over the last eight years will make Taste into a true tastemaker, and we’re certain you’ll enjoy this first course. Bon appetit. —dan@tastewestchester.com TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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@tastewc

#tastewc

Like and follow us on social media, then tag us in your posts for a chance get your work published here. Our favorite image each month (ď‚Ť) will earn its photographer a gift card to @barnabyswc.

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@aceythepibble

@spence.cafe

@bboughter830

@cirajsraab

@peckishraven

@oldsouldecor

ď‚Ť @gemelligelato

@westchestercooperative

TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Making a Difference

Each month the Rotary Club of West Chester contributes a column exploring the organizations that are making a difference in our community. As Mark Maloney, President, Rotary International (RI), recently said, “Rotary allows us to connect with one another, in deep and meaningful ways across our differences. It connects us with people we would never otherwise have met, who are more like us than we ever could have known. It connects us with our communities, to professional opportunities and to the people who need our help.” It was one of those connections that led the Rotary Club of West Chester’s International Service Committee to change lives in Belize. It began with a friend and member of the Rotary Club of Dunedin, FL, who called to share a project that was near and dear to her heart. The need was in Belize, one of only 13 countries in the world where the number of people entering extreme poverty is rising. 44% of children do not attend high school since secondary schools are not free, and 40% live in poverty, making it impossible for families to afford tuition, transportation, books and uniforms. Sadly, without access to education, poverty continues. Pathlight International is a US-based nonprofit dedicated to ending the cycle of generational poverty in Belize. They provide full-spectrum support, including mentoring, tutoring and full-tuition scholarships, elevating the entire educational system for these children. We were inspired to be part of the solution, and through Pathlights’ sponsor program, the Rotary Club of West Chester committed to the journey of changing one girl’s life — Jeniel Jones — by giving her access to a high school education. In June 2019, I had the privilege of attending Jeniel’s graduation in Belize, representing the Rotary Club of West Chester. It was a moving experience to meet our student, a bright and beautiful young lady who once had a bleak view of her future, now was graduating with honors, top four in her class! To surprise her with her very own laptop — a graduation gift of her dreams — was simply amazing. There were many unforgettable moments, but one that spoke volumes happened upon my arrival: I received a warm embrace from Jeniel’s mother that expressed more than words ever could; I felt her immense gratitude, joy and peace knowing that her daughter was now prepared for a promising future. This journey to Belize is what Mark Maloney speaks to. I met sponsors from various states, Rotarians from other clubs and connected with the beautiful people of Belize who I would never otherwise have met. It opened my eyes and heart to the difference we can make in one person’s life, reminding me that even among strangers, we share a common thread of humanity. The most illuminating part of the trip was witnessing the power of hope. The gift of education lifted these graduates to aspire and realize their full potential. Jeniel is going to college to become a teacher and the others expressed their plans to further their education to become the best they can be. A piece of my heart remains in Belize — this is what happens when Rotary connects you to the world in deep and meaningful ways. It is the very essence that lies at the heart of each and every Rotary experience. –rotary@thewcpress.com TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Meet a

Barista

Abbie Smith of Cathy’s Coffee Bar and Dia Doce talks about people, coffee and cupcakes. photo AMY TUCKER interview DAN MATHERS

What brought you to West Chester? The university. My best friend and I toured the school together and loved it. We’re originally from Pittsburgh. You still in school? I only went until the first semester of my sophomore year. I intended to move to Portland, but financial issues arose, so I was unable to stay there, and I ended up here full-time at the coffee shop, which was a blessing in disguise. And you were part time before? Yeah. I started my freshman year. What’s your preferred way of preparing coffee? I like our cold brew black, or just a double shot on ice.

For straight black coffee, those could not be more different flavors. Yes, but when you pour espresso over ice, and it makes it less aggressive. And what’s your favorite coffee bean? The darkest one you can get — not a fan of light roasts at all. Hobo Ed’s is the best in West Chester. It’s a medium to dark roast that we use for our cold brew and our hot coffee, everything but our espresso. He’s local, and when I was in Portland for a while — despite that area being known for coffee — I missed Hobo Ed’s. What came first, your job or your passion for coffee? The coffee. It started with my grandmother who used to dip all the grandkids’ binkies in coffee because she didn’t want to ever be alone at the breakfast table. And it worked: every time we’re there, we’re all at her table having a cup of coffee. What’s the best part of the job: cupcakes or coffee? Oooh. That’s tough. Personally speaking, I love the cupcakes — hands down my favorite is chocolate chip cookie dough, I’d eat that every day — but I definitely have to go with the coffee.

Do you have a good number regulars? Absolutely. I pride myself on remembering as many orders as I can. It’s hard to walk down the street and not get stopped. Is that a good thing or bad? There’s something really interesting about getting to know what drives people, and I get a lot of that here. That regular relationship you build with people where they have a feeling of comfort, where someone is willing to listen to them. I feel like you don’t get a lot of that these day; we’re too into technology. It’s nice to have a work environment where I can interact and be a human being with other human beings. What’s something you wish more people knew about the shop? I would say a lot of people don’t realize that we have wifi and people can come in and work. That’s how I started — coming in and doing schoolwork here. We love when people feel like they can come hang for a long time. Sort of like your living room away from home. Yeah. Even for me, when I’m not working, I’m usually at the shop. TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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BLUEBERRY BLITZ

LAVENDAR LEMONADE

J

uly served up some seriously steamy temperatures, so we sent our writers out on a mission to make the rounds in search of the coolest drinks in the borough. We're not talking cocktails here — it's swimsuit season after all, so who needs the extra calories? We're talking libations that both look and feel refreshing, and keep you hydrated in these higher temps. From juices and iced lattés to cocktail-inspired spritzers, we’ve assembled a list of musttry beverages that are just perfect for the dog days of August.

one that serves liquids in any form they can be served frozen, blended, or as smoothies. He became a vegan while living in South Beach and brought that focus on nutrition back when he returned to West Chester. Everything is made fresh with natural, healthy ingredients. THE DRINK: BLUEBERRY BLITZ

When I duck into the Liquid Eatery, I’m thinking ahead — specifically, to the gym workout that is waiting for me after this outing. Owner Evan Ross has the perfect drink for me, which he prepares and then splits between two mason jars for us to share while we talk.

The Blueberry Blitz contains nothing refined or processed, just a protein mix called “Orgain” comprised of organic protein, pea, quinoa, brown rice protein, and vanilla flavor, along with a full serving of fruit from blueberries and another from bananas. “It’s a very light smoothie for sustained energy,” says Evan. “Nothing to weigh you down.” For a smoothie, the Blitz is quite drinkable, a little more toothsome than straight juice but still refreshing and hydrating, with a festive purple hue.

The Liquid Eatery is Evan’s vision for a sustainable, ethical, low-impact business,

Everything at Liquid Eatery is vegan and gluten free. “People come in here with

The Liquid Eatery 18 N. High Street

family and they say ‘Oh, I can eat everything here. That’s neat,’” says Evan.

Gryphon Cafe 111 W. Gay Street

West Chester’s newest coffee shop builds on the reputation of Gryphon’s other two locations in Philly and Wayne. Gryphon did a soft opening on June 20 of this year in the space formerly occupied by The Mad Platter, which was particularly meaningful for co-owner Len Mojzes. “I’d been shopping there since I was eight years old,” he says. “It was an emotional realization, but one that felt right.” As beloved as his favorite record store was, he acknowledges that the location was a bit of a “cave,” presenting challenges for making it warm and appealing while still honoring its legacy. “These are original floors,” he points out, “and the TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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PHILLY HOUSE PUNCH

TARO MILK BUBBLE TEA

exposed brick and skylights were already here. We opened it up with a glass front, but otherwise, we tried to follow the original building.” THE DRINK: LAVENDER LEMONADE The handcrafted aspect of Gryphon’s lavender lemonade sets it apart. “We steep lavender flowers to make a sugar syrup,” says Len. “It’s an excellent addition to lattes, too.” Fresh lemons and organic sugar complete Gryphon’s spin on a summertime classic. Gryphon favors simple, natural flavors, a preference reflected in their syrup offerings that include local maple syrup and honey, while eschewing trendy concoctions such as blueberry or mojito. You might find a more expansive menu elsewhere, and that’s on purpose. “When you spread yourself too thin, with too many offerings, you can’t get really good at anything,” he explains. “We focus on a smaller menu of really high-quality choices.”

Saxbys

701 S. High Street A stroll around WCU’s campus during the summer has a mellow, very different vibe than the school year, and student-run Saxbys, with its bank of glass

windows facing the Academic Quad just across the street, offers a quiet place to, well, chill. Whether you perch on a stool at one of the long, shared tables or melt into an armchair in a private nook, you’ll probably have the place to yourself, so bring your laptop and be productive while you’re here. THE DRINK: PHILLY HOUSE PUNCH Philly House Punch is green tea combined with peach and bourbon extracts, served over ice with a fresh lemon wheel. Until my first sip of this drink, I never realized that bourbon and green tea share a similar earthy flavor undercurrent, one that is marvelous over ice, with the peach extract offering a sweet counterpoint. Available exclusively during the summer months, Philly House Punch is part of Saxbys “Free Spirit Collection,” a trio of non-alcoholic, boozy-themed iced beverages that also includes Espresso Tonic and Sangria Spritzer. Not only is Philly House Punch popular, some customers can’t get enough, according to barista Asyra Francis, who recalls a recent patron who ordered the drink, gulped it down, and promptly returned to the counter for another.

Tranquilitea TEMPLE 127 N. Church Street

Looking for a novel start or end to your visit to downtown West Chester? Stop by Tranquilitea, where you can sit on a cushion at a low table in the front window to see or be seen while owner John Stuligross assembles bubble tea for you. THE DRINK: TARO MILK BUBBLE TEA John explains that bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s as an iced dessert drink. It is made with non-dairy creamer, which imparts a creamier taste than its dairy counterpart, and sweetened with cane sugar. At the bottom of the cup is a layer of tiny black tapioca pearls (yes, the same used in tapioca pudding, but a black variety). An oversized straw allows the orbs to be drawn up through it along with the liquid. My taro tea is a lovely lavender color with a subtle graham cracker flavor; the creamy liquid combined with chewy tapioca pearls provides a delightfully unexpected texture. Bubble tea can be brewed with any of the loose-leaf teas available here, TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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BLUEBERRY MOJITO LIMEADE

including flavored varieties like coconut, matcha, strawberry, mango, lychee, and the taro root variety John chose for me. For the kids (or anyone looking for a fun twist), bubble tea can also be made with “popping bubbles,” gelatin beads filled with sweet lychee juice that pop in your mouth.

Cathey’s Coffee Bar 100 S. High Street

Although Dia Doce gained fame for their artisan cupcakes, you’ll find an assortment of unique liquid refreshments int he coffee shop the owners opened, too. “Today it’s 104 degrees, so you want something that isn’t overwhelming,” asserts manager Abbie Smith as she slides a beverage across the bar to me. “This is light and won’t weigh you down.” THE DRINK: BLUEBERRY MOJITO LIMEADE Each summer brings a new spin on classic lemonade at Cathey’s Coffee Bar, with additions based on whatever is

growing that season. This year, it’s a simple syrup crafted from blueberries right out of the garden at owner Thais da Silva Viggue’s house, along with her mint.

THE STALKER With its soft lilac hue, Blueberry Mojito Limeade evokes breezy and smoothie bar in town. Since then, afternoons spent on a Chester County they’ve built up a loyal client base and patio, and the flavor doesn’t disappoint. staff. “We’re a little bit of healthy, with a Fresh mint flecks float in the mix of bright little bit of comfort food mixed in,” says lemon and lime flavors, making this Manager Sophie DelVescovo, whose sweet-tart iced concoction a potent anti- family owns all three of Jaco’s locations, dote for hot and humid days. in West Chester, Media and GeorgeIts fresh, grownup flavor invites mix- town. ing, too. “One customer asked if it contains alcohol, but it’s virgin,” says Abbie. “Another customer asked me to leave some room in it, because she was taking it home to make a cocktail.”

THE DRINK: THE STALKER

Jaco Juice & Taco Bar

One of their newest offerings, The Stalker blends celery, ginger, and lemon juice for a potent infusion of anti-inflammatory compounds, including vitamins K and C, potassium, folate, manganese, calcium, riboflavin and magnesium.

When Jaco opened six years ago this September, they were the first juice

The Stalker starts with a smooth celery vibe and finishes with pleasingly tart remnants of lemon and spicy ginger.

8 W. Gay Street

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EXTREME GREEN

Definitely not sweet, The Stalker gets its refreshing qualities from celery’s high water content, while electrolytes help stave off dehydration. The Stalker makes an excellent addition to your daily diet. Another crowd pleaser is Jaco’s watermelon juice. A combination of watermelon, mint and coconut water, this exclusive pink cooler isn’t even on the menu, and is only offered in the summertime. “We try to mix it up and make them a little different. Everything here is made with love,” Sophie says. “The scene here is very personable. Knowing who makes your drink for you makes it a little more special.”

Bango Bowls 109 W. Gay Street

One of six locations, with the others in New York, this spot has been open for about a year and serves up juices, smoothies, and acai bowls. On hot days, you might even see Bango employees circulating around town with a sample tray. “All ingredients are fresh and handmade, with some organic,” says assistant manager Justine Davis. “We also have special options for kids, soy-free ones, and vegan ones.”

THE DRINK: EXTREME GREEN Justine gives the nod to the Extreme Green smoothie as Bango’s most refreshing option, featuring pineapple, kale, mango, chia seeds, and soymilk. “A lot of people expect it to taste leafy, but it’s doesn’t,” she says. “It’s creamy and slightly sweet.” I agree. The creaminess of the soy milk really evens out the tart sweetness of the mango and pineapple. The consistency is thick like a milkshake, with a light mint green color, and flecks of green kale and chia seeds pepper its frozen custardy goodness.

from its former life as entertainment venue The Note and Boxcar Brewing Company, although the stage has been replaced by a flat screen TV. When server Danielle Pouleres finds out that I’m touring West Chester on a cold beverage crawl, she can’t wait to have me weigh in on their root beer and promptly brings over both a pint glass filled from the tap and a glass bottle so I can compare. THE DRINK: ROOT BEER

142 E. Market Street

The sharp sweetness of a classic root beer, which comes from a combination of cane sugar and honey, cuts through the thickness of a sultry Friday afternoon. The draft version at ABC is a touch sweeter than the bottled one and definitely smoother, with the extra fizziness of the bottled amplifying the less-sweet bite. I also detected a more pronounced vanilla flavor in the draft, which is barely perceptible in the bottled option.

Appalachian Brewing Company has occupied this space since August of last year, and if you haven’t been in to visit yet, you’ll find the front bar and endearing exposed brick walls still there, remnants

ABC’s root beer is brewed and bottled at their company headquarters up in Harrisburg. Danielle points out that it’s a great starting point for a root beer float, which is how many ABC customers finish — and

Justine also mentions the Bango Mango, a sweet combination of banana, pineapple, mango, and orange juice, as a popular option with kids.

Appalachian Brewing Company

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ICED CARAMEL LATTE

MERMAID FUEL

sometimes start, bless them — their meal here. My verdict? Thirst quenching all around.

West Chester Coffee and Ice Cream Bar 6 E. Gay Street

Crew member Anna Amalfitano says that on Friday and Saturday nights, the line into West Chester Coffee and Ice Cream Bar stretches around the corner beyond Lorenzo’s from 7pm until closing at 11pm. Customers stop by after dinner for a coffee or ice cream from one of three vendors, including Graeters from Cincinnati. THE DRINK: ICED CARAMEL LATTE Shift leader Josh McGonigle makes me an iced caramel latte, featuring a shot of espresso, whole milk, and a pump of caramel simple syrup. The latte features dark-roast Nizza espresso from Fishtown’s La Colombe roaster, and the result is ice cream-creamy and delicious, with Nizza’s bold, smoky presence lending a bit of gravi-

tas to the caramel’s charming whimsy. I nursed this latte for the better part of an hour during a drenching rainstorm and even with the last sip, never found the sweetness overwhelming, a common objection of mine for almost every sweetened beverage I try. Not in a coffee mood? Try one of their other options: Boylan Bottling Co.’s sodas, including lemon seltzer, cane cola, and cream soda, all made with cane sugar.

Playa Bowls 22 S. High Street

Walk through the door here and it’s summer: feel the bright turquoise walls, corrugated steel ceiling, surfboards, and island art whisk you away to the sunny surf spot that was the inspiration for Playa Bowls’ original location in Belmar, New Jersey. The 65 location-strong acai-bowl chain opened their West Chester location in November of last year. THE DRINK: MERMAID FUEL One of Playa’s most popular offerings, Mermaid Fuel gets an edgy sweetness

from pineapple and apple juice, with a refreshing note from mint. A smattering of kale is in there somewhere, but (thankfully) obscured by the other flavors. It’s frothy and green, tingly sweet with a sweet-tart bite from the pineapple juice. I loved the bold minty presence. In addition to Mermaid Fuel, manager Maddie Huber is also a fan of the Aloha smoothie, a cross between a smoothie and a juice, and is comprised of banana, mango, pineapple, and coconut milk. Playa also offers seasonal specials including a mango pina colada smoothie that consists of a coconut base, pineapple, mango, and coconut milk. Their offerings are mostly vegan, except for some of their protein options, and Nutella. All menu items are largely gluten free as well, including options for granola. “We try to accommodate everybody,” notes Maddie. TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Bartender of the Month Adrienne Shearer talks about how Sterling Pig is becoming part of the community. photo AMY TUCKER interview DAN MATHERS

So, how long have you been with Sterling Pig? Four years. I guess that means you were in the Media location before opening here? I actually opened the Media location, too. When this one was opening, they brought me out to manage the bar. Brought you out from where? Well, I’m from Delco — I grew up in Springfield — and although I was working in Media, I actually I moved to West Chester about three years ago. I have two kids, Jackson is eight and Hayden is five, and we came here for the community and the school district. Delco was becoming a little too congested for me.

Sounds like a perfect opportunity. It really was. How’d you get into bartending? I have been in the industry since... gosh, forever. My first job was busing tables. I moved throughout everything in the restaurant. And then, what? 20 years ago I was working at a brewery in Springfield called John Harvards. That’s where I met Brian McConnell who is the owner and brewer at Sterling Pig. I assume you stayed in touch? Yeah. When I heard he was starting the Media location with his business partner Loic Barnieu, I reached out. We met up and I started working right away, and when they considered opening this location he approached me about the opportunity. Has it been a good fit? Things are going well. We started off really strong, but going into summer it’s been a little slower. I’m hoping that September will pick back up, and it’ll be like a whole new grand opening. So far, the feedback has been great: the food and especially the beer are getting great reviews. We’ve been distributing beer to West Chester bars for a while now, so I’m not surprised it’s been well received.

Is it just beer? No. We have great food, plus a full bar and kegged cocktails on draft that rotate out regularly. Right now we’ve got an old fashioned and a mojito on. If I hop up to your bar, what should I order? Depends on the day — we have discounted food at the bar during the week. So, $2 sliders on Monday, $2 tacos on Tuesday and $0.50 wings on Wednesday. Otherwise, our specialty is BBQ. We do all of our own smoking in-house, and our wings are the best wings I’ve ever had. Can you describe the vibe? I think it comes off as a real comfortable environment. People like to come in and hang out for a while, because it’s welcoming. Especially with that garage door opening up out front, you feel like you’re outside with the benefits of being inside. I hope it has the feel of a neighborhood bar, and I’m sure it will be once people have been in a few times and feel comfortable. We want to be part of the community. How so? We’re trying to participate in everything that’s going on, plus our beers are still in other bars, even though we’re here now. Our goal is not to compete but to be partners with everyone. TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Home

Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at homebeccanomics.com

Beccanomics

August is a bit of a transition month. Some folks are maxing out their visits to the beach, while others have turned the page towards back-to-school time. Either way, it’s possible you’re looking for a way to jazz up the weekend diet of burgers and dogs. Corn on the cob (the obvious accoutrement) is hard to beat, but the recipe below is my absolute favorite way to eat it, and it also lessens the chances you’ll need a post-dinner teeth picking session. The chicken salad is a great fit as your main course — I’ve made this dish too many times to count, receiving recipe requests without fail. Not cooking for a crowd? Just cut the recipe in half. –bboyd@thewcpress.com

Toasted Corn with Butter and Basil - Serves 3-4 1 1/2 tbsp. butter 4 ears corn, kernels cut off cobs 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 1/2 tsp. black pepper 2 tbps. basil chiffonade 2 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped

1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet. 2. Add corn and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden

brown and smelling toasted. Add salt and pepper. 3. Remove from heat and add herbs. Stir to combine. Serve. Italian-Style Chicken Salad for a Crowd - Serves about 18 Chicken

Vinaigrette

4.25 lb. chicken breasts (12 c. chopped cooked chicken) 2 1/2 c. jarred roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed 1 1/2 c. thinly sliced red onion 1 c. finely chopped fresh parsley 1 c. slivered almonds, toasted

1 c. extra virgin olive oil 1/2 c. champagne vinegar 1/4 c. dijon mustard 1/4 c. honey 2 tbsp. mayonnaise 1 tsp. kosher salt 1/2 tsp. black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add chicken breasts and when water comes back to a boil, reduce to medium. Keep the water at a near boil for about 10 minutes. Alternately cook chicken in slow cooker – 3 hours on high. 2. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Chop into bite sized pieces. 3. Place chicken in largest mixing bowl and add peppers, onion, parsley, and almonds. 4. To make vinaigrette, whisk olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, mayonnaise and salt and pepper in a small bowl or jar. 5. Pour over salad mixture and toss to combine. Salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready, up to several hours. 6. Serve over Bibb lettuce or in sandwiches. TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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G N I C MI N A quick

R

emember that feeling when you were a kid and you ran into your elementary school teacher on the street or at the grocery store, and how disconcerting it was to realize that he or she was just a regular person doing regular person stuff? And as you got older, there was the dawning realization that hey, your high school English teachers weren’t just there to force you to read and write; they actually liked to read and write themselves.

Q&A with some local culinary talent

If we’re on the hunt for compelling behind-the-scenes stories, it’s hard to beat the chefs at your favorite restaurants around town. Of course, there’s also décor, ambiance, service, types of cuisine, and price point—all factors in answering the “Where should we eat?” question. But at the end of the day, it’s what’s coming out of the kitchen that matters. It’s the reason you frequent the places you do, and the reason you keep going back, and it’s highly likely

you may not know a single thing about the people who make that happen. We tracked down a few names and faces behind some of the best food in the borough to ask what they think of WC’s thriving culinary scene, whether (and what) they cook at home, and their favorite places (and things) to eat when they get a chance to step out from behind the line.

KATE CHADWICK photos AMY TUCKER

story

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Anthony Andiario | Andiario

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hen Anthony Andiario was in college at Penn State, his focus was on art and graphic design. He’d always loved cooking, but it wasn’t until he spent a few weeks in Italy after graduating that he decided to become a chef, and he enrolled in an expedited culinary program while working as low man on the totem pole at one of Arizona’s best restaurants at the time. “Like a culinary boot camp,” he said. Now at the helm as chef and co-owner at Andiario, that decision seems to have paid off.

Do you cook at home? If so, what's your go-to? I do, when I have time and energy. One of my favorites is pork shoulder studded with a lot of garlic and then braised in sauerkraut. I grew up with that dish as a New Year's staple and cook it for myself all the time. Where do you like to go to eat in West Chester? My go-to is the Irish Breakfast at Kildare’s, but there are a lot of places I could mention. Andy at Spence Café, Slow Hand is a great new addition to town, Vudu Café, Liquid Eatery, and I enjoy Split Rail Tavern, too.

Favorite healthy food? Favorite junk food? I think that most of the food that I love and cook is healthy. As for junk food, though, it would be Red Vines candy, spicy Cheetos, and soda. Any favorite places that have closed but you wish were still around? I haven’t really been around here long enough, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about La Cocotte and Gilmore’s. How would you describe West Chester's food scene? It’s hard to keep up! But in a good way. TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Derek Criscuolo | Side Bar & restaurant

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ife is what happens when you're busy making other plans, John Lennon said. When he was a kid, Derek wanted to be an officer with the ASPCA. Today, he's running the show at Side Bar & Restaurant as chef, overseeing one of the busiest lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch kitchens in town. And it was in kitchens where he honed his craft — most of the time, that is. "The other times, it came by trial and error," he said. Do you cook at home? It's rare. The few occasions I do it’s normally for holidays with the family.

Where do you go to eat in West Chester? Any favorite restaurants in other cities? Vudu Lounge, they have the best smoked alligator sausage. And if you're ever in downtown Indianapolis, there is a spot there called Garden Table on Massachusetts Avenue. Their brunch is indescribable.

Do you have a hobby? I play the drums. It's a good way to escape for a bit.

How would you describe West Chester’s food scene? Constantly changing. Between the younger generations of kids coming through the college and the continuous growth of the borough, you have to be on your A game.

What would you make if you were on a cooking competition? That's hard to say, with my luck I'd end up on Chopped with a basket full of ingredients that made no sense. But I think I'd still manage to do something amazing!

Favorite healthy food? Favorite junk food? Favorite comfort food? Favorite healthy is salmon, favorite junk is Entenmann's mini powdered donuts, and comfort food is baked ziti.

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Justin Hoke | Split Rail Tavern

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here’s no denying the creative aspect of cooking. In fact, Justin Hoke never wanted to be a chef when he grew up; he wanted to be a jazz musician. Now, his creativity is manifested in producing locally sourced New American brunch, lunch, and dinner cuisine, as Split Rail has quietly become a favorite addition to the WC food scene since opening its doors in 2015.

Do you cook at home? Yes — pancakes for my three kids. Where do you like to go to eat in West Chester? Slow Hand for the Octopus. Just outside of town, I like Masamoto in Glen Mills. Were you trained formally, or through on-the-job experience? Both. Formal training at NYIT — New York Institute of Technology, and on-the-job experience at Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia and Le Cirque in Manhattan.

Favorite healthy food? Favorite junk food? Favorite comfort food? Healthy food is smoothies; junk food is Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and comfort food is sushi. Any favorite places that have closed but you wish were still around? Yes, Levante at The Stables Beer Garden in Chester Springs. What would you make if you were in a cooking competition? Escargot.

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Bert Johnston | Miss Winnie’s Jerk Chicken

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his is a father-and-son enterprise, so we’ve got a twofer here: Bert Johnston and his son, Nick — both in their second careers. Bert is a former electrical engineer and Nick worked on the business side of the sports industry. They even share a love of soccer in their downtime. But cooking is in the blood for this award-winning pair — and all in the family. Do you cook at home? The answer here for both is yes—all the time—but as Nick says “I love cooking for myself and for my loved ones—wings, steak, pasta and tacos—I just hate the clean up!” How would you describe West Chester’s food scene? “Up and coming,” says Bert. “I view it as the lifeblood of the city,” Nick told us. “I love seeing new takes on classics, and I love seeing new flavors make their way into town.”

Where do you like to go to eat in West Chester? “My favorite place to eat in West Chester, surprisingly, isn’t a restaurant — it’s a bakery,” Nick said. “Edie’s Bakery is amazing — she makes the best pie I’ve ever eaten. And the cherry on top is that she’s a sweetheart, and makes you feel like family just like we do when you come in.” What’s your favorite healthy food? Junk food? Comfort food? Nick’s favorite healthy food is “any type of berry, all berries, I don’t discriminate!” His favorite junk food is burgers and fries. “The ‘Big Nick’ on our menu is named after me,” while Bert indulges in sausage and onion pizza. Bert’s comfort food go-to is oxtail stew with rice and peas, while Nick’s are both dishes his parents cook. “My mom is of Ukrainian descent and makes amazing handmade stuffed cabbages. It’s making my mouth water just

thinking about it! My other favorite comfort food is a dish my dad cooks called Ackee and saltfish with boiled flour dumplings, yams, and green bananas. It’s a traditional Jamaican breakfast dish that I could eat every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of.” What would you make if you were in a cooking competition? “I’d have to make one of my world famous steak and pasta dishes,” says Nick. “I can’t tell you any of the preparation or ingredients, though— they’re top secret!” And Bert would make jerk pork — which, lucky you — you can get at Miss Winnie’s.

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Paul mingrino | Limoncello

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lthough he went to Walnut Hill College to hone his culinary skills, Paul Mingrino's love of cooking started at home, cooking with his mom, and he says he just "always knew" that he wanted to become a chef. Today, he is the chef at Limoncello, which his family owns and operates. Favorite healthy food? Favorite junk food? Favorite comfort food? Fresh Jersey tomato salad is my favorite healthy food. Junk food, I’m a sucker for donuts, and comfort food is clearly homemade pasta!

Do you cook at home? If so, what's your go-to? I don't really cook at home, unless you count eggs and toast for my sons’ breakfast. Other than that, I love to make crabs and spaghetti for my family and friends. Where do you like to go to eat in West Chester? Do you have favorite restaurants in other cities or towns? In town, my go-to is Iron Hill for their Gumbo. Italian dinner is in Wildwood at La Piazza, and for dessert, Oyster Bay in Cape May for their bananas foster cheesecake.

Do you have a hobby? Yes, cars. If you were on a cooking competition, what dish would you make? Hands down, fresh homemade pasta with seafood, most likely Pescatore. How would you describe West Chester’s food scene? Eclectic. I love how you can eat so many different cuisines in a four-block radius.

TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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That 60's Show-Tribute to Woodstock Saturday, August 17

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper Friday, August 23

33 1/3 Live's Killer Queen Experience Saturday, August 24

Beginnings

Classic Celebration of the Music of Chicago Saturday, September 21

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Andy Patten | Spence Café

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fter getting a taste of the industry with his first job in a “real” restaurant — the then-white-tablecloth Dilworthtown Inn — Andy Patten immediately knew that he wanted to be a chef. But the goal was never just to cook in a restaurant; it was to own it, too. Working his way via dishwashing, bussing, salad station, and on up, he opened his first restaurant at 23 years old. And now he is at the helm of Spence Café as both as owner and chef. Do you cook at home? If so, what's your go-to? Yes, I cook at home, and it’s usually home-style foods: chicken pot pies, stews, and soups in the winter, and grilled foods in the summer. Where do you like to go to eat in West Chester? West Chester has so many

good restaurants; Andiario is the latest star, and Chef Tony’s pasta does not disappoint. Limoncello and Mercato are great for casual Italian food, and Pietro’s for steaks. Favorite healthy food? Favorite junk food? Favorite comfort food? I love quinoa and micro-greens, and spaghetti squash with fresh tomato sauce. I’ve been on a pizza kick, but I try to make my own. Comfort food? I find all food comforting, but maybe turkey dinner is my favorite — cranberry, mashed potatoes — the whole Thanksgiving thing. Any favorite places that have closed but you wish were still around? The Dilworthtown/Blue Pear — it’s sad that the owner Jim Barnes passed recently. He was an inspiration, and a mentor to

many, many people who work in restaurants all over Chester County. What would you make if you were in a cooking competition? Our most popular dish, which has always been the Pan Roasted Halibut with Roasted Beet Risotto, Toasted Pistachio and Orange Gremolata. It’s simple, but when the fish is cooked just right… How would you describe West Chester's food scene? Maybe a little crowded? I guess you could call it “robust,” with so many restaurants. West Chester is a great town, but the weekends are insane, and I always wish I had 500 seats on a Saturday night at 7pm. When people say it’s crowded or loud, I always say “Come see me on a Tuesday!” TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Sean Powell | Pietro’s Prime

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lthough the current foodie trends may be ones of less — or even no — meat these days, as we recently heard a friend observe, “There is no culinary experience more sublime than a perfectly-cooked steak.” And if steak is on your mind, Pietro’s Prime should be on your agenda, and Sean Powell is your man. Trained formally at Walnut Hill College, Sean told us he’s always enjoyed cooking, even as a child, helping his mom or siblings out in the kitchen. Do you cook at home? I do, when I have the opportunity. Usually on a Sunday you can find me on my deck with a few friends, with the grill going and something in the smoker. My friends are my

guinea pigs for the things I’m planning to try at the restaurant. Where do you eat in WC? I try to support everyone in town. There are a lot of great places in WC, and we all try to support each other. Typically after a long, hot night in the kitchen, I'll treat my kitchen staff to a few beers next door at Sterling Pig; it's close by, and we’re all ready for a cold one by the nights end! How would you describe West Chester’s food scene? It’s ever-evolving. You can find almost anything you crave in this little town, and I love being a part of that. Do you have any hobbies? My hobby is actually the same as my profession.

I love to cook and try new things and places. Besides that, I love to surf and go to the beach in the summer, and I snowboard pretty much anywhere I can when I can find the time in the winter. What’s your favorite healthy food? Junk food? Comfort food? My favorite healthy food would be just about any kind of fruit; my favorite junk food would be Salt and Vinegar Kettle chips, and my favorite comfort food is braised short ribs. What would you make if you were in a cooking competition? Steak, of course! Some kind of smoked and grilled thickcut chop, or a crazy long Dry Aged Tomahawk with foie gras and truffles paired with some killer wine. TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Darla Riccetti | Market Street Grill

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hen Darla Riccetti was growing up, she always knew she wanted to be a chef. “I also wanted to be Indiana Jones, but I went with chef,” she told us. We’re kind of glad she did, and if you’ve eaten breakfast or lunch at Market Street Grill (we’re looking at you, The Pinky from the breakfast menu), we’re betting you are, too. Darla’s training as a chef has been on-the-job, and she got her start right here in West Chester at the former Café Chicane. Where do you like to eat in WC? The pasta and short rib at Avalon is amazing

— I love to eat there. I also really like the bar food at Split Rail Tavern, anything that chef Dan Funk from The Social makes, and the Japanese rice from Rai Rai Ramen. Favorite healthy food/junk food/comfort food? My favorite healthy food is broccoli rabe and raw red peppers. As for junk food, it would be potato chips, and for comfort food, it’s pizza. How would you describe West Chester’s food scene? I love the food scene here. There is a lot of upscale bar food, and a growing Asian scene which I’m really loving. We do need more artisanal

bakeries like the Malvern Buttery. And I miss Gilmore’s, with that old-school French cuisine. Do you cook at home? I do — I love to cook carbonara and chicken cutlets, and we also love to make tacos at home. Do you have any hobbies? Yes. My hobby is collecting and reading comics and building Legos. What would you make if you were in a cooking competition? I would make fried chicken and waffles with andouille sausage gravy. [That would be the Darla’s Adouille Gravy, available seven days a week at Market Street Grill.] TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Design Dilemmas Andrea Mason of Perceptions Interiors is a

professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space Renovating your kitchen can be the most costly change you make to your home, but there are so many reasons to update. Not only does it get a lot of traffic from actually cooking, it’s also a space that you want to focus on making look beautiful while functional; it’s a little-known fact that everyone likes to congregate in the kitchen. Luckily, there are a few different modifications that you can make to your kitchen that will transform it into something fresh without breaking the bank. Cabinets: Your cabinetry is such a big part of the kitchen design that changing the color of them makes a big impact on the space, so consider painting or staining your cabinets a new color. This is the largest money saver since new cabinetry can really add up. Another option, rather than changing everything, is only altering the upper or lower cabinets, or maybe just the island. I have always loved the beautiful way white cabinets make a room, but accent colors such as greens and blues are really heating up. Hardware: Swapping out your cabinetry hardware can give your kitchen a new beginning. You can alter the entire style and look of your space with this simple update. For example, installing contemporary hardware to shaker cabinetry can help modernize your kitchen, or if you are looking to add a bit of character and color to the room, I recommend introducing a fun, patterned or colored hardware piece. Backsplashes: Either adding or replacing your backsplash can be the perfect opportunity for adding pattern, texture and color. I love the traditional subway tile look, but I also really enjoy beautiful patterns and colors. Don’t stop yourself at tile — the backsplash can be wallpaper as well. There is a variety of peel and stick wallpapers that come in easy-to-clean materials, and the adhesives make it a simple DIY project. Lighting: New pendants over an island or adding a sconce above your sink are fantastic ways to shed new light onto your kitchen. Replacing your generic overhead, recessed lighting with flush-mount lighting will add a more personal touch. Executing these changes can make a kitchen jump from builder grade to a more custom, designer finish in a cost-effective way. Accessories: Just like any other room in your home, accessorizing is a necessary step in completing your kitchen. New wall art, a fresh coat of paint, and a rug are just a few additions you can implement. Another perfect accessory is to display kitchen-themed objects, like beautiful plates on a wall or pottery along a hanging shelf. Items like these will personalize your kitchen, giving it that extra flair. Kitchen renovations don’t have to be as daunting as they appear. Follow these creative steps so you can revitalize your space into something new! If you need help with your next kitchen project, I would love to help you through the process. Please contact me. –amason@thewcpress.com TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Veggie Safari A tour of our favorite vegetarian dishes and vegan-friendly restaurants in town.

Gemelli offers three entirely plant-based options every day, like this vegan chocolate gelato and fresh strawberry sorbetti. Š Courtney Potts

story Jamie Jones


Being egg-free, Roots Cafe’s Vegan French Toast is a breakfast outlier. © Courtney Potts

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hether it was when Beyoncé and Jay-Z popularized it with their offer of free concert tickets for life by pledging to go vegan, or if it was when the hit documentary Forks Over Knives hit our Netflix queue, but the rise in people embracing a plant-based diet has been huge over the past few years. Fast food restaurants are adding to their menus, and Beyond Burgers fly off the shelves at the grocery store. Ten years ago, if you wanted to pick up a few plant-based staples, your only option was a specialty grocer like The Great Pumpkin, and going out to eat was limited to fries and a garden salad unless you traveled to a major city. Luckily, times have changed and you can’t get through a grocery store without snagging more options than you intended. Best of all, The West Chester dining scene has upped the ante as well. It is nearly impossible to go out to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert and not have at least one solid plant-based or vegetarian option to enjoy with your carnivore companions.

There are, however, some standouts downtown that make dining as a plant baser or vegetarian a pure delight. My criteria for featuring the following eateries was simple: they had to offer something more than a salad and veggie burger. Don’t get me wrong: I love a good salad and a Beyond or Impossible Burger, but sometimes I want more and these places deliver. The menu items are either coincidentally plant-based, labeled as such, or are easily modified with available ingredients to keep anyone happy, fueled and satisfied.

BREAKFAST

(or the meal that sets the tone for the rest of the day)

Country Bagel There isn’t anything much better to me than biting into the chewy denseness of a bagel. A staple since my years at West Chester University, Country Bagel hits the spot on most weekend mornings when the last thing I feel like doing is cooking or getting my crew together to go out to eat.

While the kids are happy with a plain buttered bagel, my go-to is their Everything Bagel with avocado and tomato. The garlic saltiness of the bagel paired with the creaminess of the avocado and the slight sweet zing of the tomato is the perfect start to any day. I am not sure what their secret to delicious bagels is, but they are a favorite in our house. And judging from the lines of patient customers there every weekend, it’s a sentiment that’s shared by the rest of town.

Roots Café For those mornings when everyone wants something different, we usually head to Roots Café. Breakfast food is actually the most difficult to find for plant-based eaters, as most of it is either egg-based or contains eggs and milk as ingredients. Roots Café is a breakfast outlier in the best way possible: Vegan French Toast. Topped with berry compote, fresh berries and maple syrup, this treat brings back childhood memories of Sunday mornings at my grandparents enjoying thick slices TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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WEST CHESTER WEDDING GUIDE

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Love Again Local’s My Cousin Vinny is reminiscent of an Italian hoagie stuffed with ham, salami, provolone and all the fixins’, ©Courtney Potts

of bread dredged in an egg, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon mixture and then fried on the flat top. Roots Café does it without the egg and milk, yet it still manages to hit those memory marks. For mornings when I have a salty craving, I make one of the kids get the French Toast so I can have just a bite, and then I order the Superfood Hash, sans eggs. Washed down with coffee and a mimosa, Roots Café delivers the perfect start to an adventure-filled weekend... if we can pull ourselves away from their lunchtime menu.

Now, this by no means is an all-encompassing list of vegetarian and veganfriendly restaurants in West Chester. Our town has done an excellent job at catering to a myriad of dietary requirements and requests.

LUNCH

(mostly of the grab-and-go-back-to-work variety)

Love Again Local

I am not sure how I survived before Love Again Local moved to town. A fully plantbased eatery, LAL is to us plant fans what Tony’s Meat Market and Deli was to the meat eaters of West Chester 20 years ago: a mecca of protein-filled sandwiches to dive into with a mouth wide open. My Cousin Vinny, reminiscent of an Italian hoagie stuffed with ham, salami, provolone and all of the typical fixins’, gives regular Italian hoagies a run for their money. Even though this is my primary pick, I have tried everything on their menu and would order everything again and again and again. To top it all off, Love Again Local bakes their own cookies and offers Maine Root Drinks to wash it all down. Out of every establishment in West Chester, LAL is probably my most frequented, not only for their amazing food, but for their

friendly service and commitment to a fully plant-based menu.

Couch Tomato

One of the things I missed the most after going plant-based was a good old pizza. Tomato pies just don’t always cut it. Luckily for me, Couch Tomato has come to the rescue. While it may not be the typical pizza with stretchy mozzarella, their Back Yard BBQ pie — minus the chicken, add Kite Hill cheese and shitake bacon — makes for an amazing meal that fulfills the pizza craving. Prior to my plant-based ways, the American Pie was a much appreciated treat on pizza nights. Vegetarian friendly, this medley of roasted garlic spread, grana Padano, farmers cheese, ricotta, tomato, rosemary and honey is a party in your mouth. If there was one food that could tempt me to indulge in cheese, it would be the American Pie. Couch Tomato does a great job labeling menu items that are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and they note which items can be made to suit a specific diet. TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Mercato’s Heirloom Vegetable Board — covered with slow roasted veggies — is the perfect starter. © Courtney Potts

Their salads deserve a mention as well, and they can be a meal in and of themselves. My suggestion is to choose one of their recommended salads as a guide, and then tweak it for a meal that fits your dietary requirements. The La Fiesta, with black beans and no cheese, hits the spot when you are craving Mexican cuisine.

next door to one of my favorite dessert spots! (More on that later...)

Oh, and don’t forget to grab a Maddie Bar to snack on later!

Who doesn’t love Italian food? While Mercato’s pasta contains egg because it isn’t boxed and is all freshly made, they do offer zucchini noodles as a substitute for any of their pasta dishes. Eating 100% plant based is not always easy here because many menu items need some form of modification or item omissions, but they make the list because their menu is clearly marked for all of the vegetarians in West Chester, and offers a staggering 20 items that can be ordered as-is off the menu.

Tsunami

Having gained a reputation for the some of the best sushi in West Chester, Tsunami would not seem like an obvious choice for this list, but the plant-based options here are endless. Some of my favorites include miso soup, seaweed salad, vegetable haru maki, vegetarian rolls, and sesame tofu. Tsunami is one of the few places that has mastered cooking the tofu with a crispy outside to act as the perfect carrier for the sweet, slightly spicy, sticky sesame sauce. With a healthy portion of broccoli on the side, I can almost forget that this plant-based meal is an indulgent treat. Although Tsunami’s listed under lunches, it’s also a nice BYOB option for dinner, and — added bonus— it is right

DINNER

(for dates and evenings where being in the kitchen is the last place you want to be)

Mercato

The brick oven pizza crust is egg and dairy free (and delicious) and the Heirloom Vegetable Board — covered with slow roasted veggies — is the perfect starter or main course. Some vegetarian favorites at Mercato include the Fried Artichoke appetizer and the Homemade Gnocchi Sorrentino. The Fried Artichoke app is a plate of artichoke lollipops drizzled with balsamic reduction and served

with a chili aioli dipping sauce. As someone who is not a fan of artichokes, these are somehow one of my favorite menu items — just keep in mind that, as is, they’re dredged in egg before frying, but since everything is made from scratch, Mercato happily modifies items to suit dietary needs, which is always helpful for diners sticking strictly to plants.

Spence Café

A quick perusal of their menu and you may be scratching your head, wondering why Spence Café is mentioned here, but the best plant-based dinner I have ever enjoyed was here; it was completely offmenu and created on demand by the chef. I called a few days ahead of time to make sure that my diet could be accommodated, and they assured me that it would not be a problem. Chef Andy Patten met with me and asked for any specific requests or allergies, then I gave him creative freedom and was delighted with the outcome. I enjoyed a starter of cashew cheese spread, toasted baguette and crudités, followed by a main course of zoodles and the best lentil meatballs I have ever had. Dessert offered just enough sweetness in a dessert with dates. My meal TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Spence Café whipped up some fried eggplant with sweet corn, asparagus and heirloom tomato,

©Amy Tucker

at Spence Café was not an afterthought of haphazard items thrown together, but a well thought out feast for the senses in presentation and taste that has left me wanting more and wondering why I have not been in sooner.

DESSERT

(because every day should have a sweet ending)

Gemelli Artisanal Gelato & Dessert Café

First thing to know is this: Vincenzo has the art of gelato making down to a science. The winner of both national and international awards, Vincenzo isn’t just a gelato maker, he is an artist. Now, that that’s out of the way, you should know that while just about everything in this adorable spot is vegetarian, Gemelli offers three entirely plant-based options every day. Either water- or almond milk-based, these offerings are a labor of love, since it’s not quite as easy to obtain the same flavor and texture as dairy-based gelato. Vin-

cenzo, however, has mastered the perfect balance while staying true to his art by using only farm-fresh ingredients. An all-time favorite is the vegan chocolate gelato and fresh strawberry sorbetti. A spoonful with a bit of each flavor tastes just like a chocolate covered strawberry, only better and without the mess. Other flavors include Mojito, Sicilian Cannoli, Salted Caramel, Basil Olive Oil, Stracciatella and Mascarpone and Nutella. All flavors are made with real ingredients. That means no powders, flavor enhancers, or preservatives — just good-for-you, fresh ingredients. This by no means is an all-encompassing list of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants in West Chester. Our town has done an excellent job at catering to a myriad of dietary requirements and requests. Some additional places of note are the completely plant-based Liquid Eatery, as well as Rams Head, The Social, Jaco Taco... the list goes on and on and on. One thing I have learned is that our restaurateurs want to make the diners

of West Chester happy. Every establishment I have frequented in our charming town has been helpful in modifying or creating something specifically to suit my needs, for which I am always grateful. The restaurants included here are those that have gone above and beyond, have delivered a consistent food experience, and are places I find myself going back to time and time again to fuel my body and tantalize my taste buds. You should give them a shot.

Some additional places of note are the completely plant-based Liquid Eatery, as well as Rams Head, The Social, Jaco Taco... the list goes on and on and on.

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Can’t-Miss August Events

August 10

Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic The Twilight Cycling Classic is one of downtown West Chester’s largest and most thrilling events. Cheer for the professionals in the Iron Hill Pro Men’s Criterium and the Brumbaugh Wealth Management Pro Women’s Criterium as they zip through the streets at speeds topping 40 miles per hour. Amateur racers can take part in the Rothman Institute Amateur Criterium. Downtown West Chester | 610.696.4046 greaterwestchester.com

August 11

Touch a Truck Day This event is a blast for fans of all things automotive. Local businesses will bring their vehicles to the Chester County Government Services Building parking lot so you and the kids can get up close and personal with cars, trucks, (including fire trucks!) and tractors to explore. There will be clowns to entertain the kids and plenty of food vendors. The event runs from 12-4pm and is free. Parking is $3. Government Services Building 601 Westtown Rd | 610.436.9010 west-chester.com/385/Touch-A-Truck

August 17

Teen Awesome Fest

Teen Awesome Fest was created in 2018, collaborating with the Chesco Department of Drug and Alcohol Services, the YMCA of the Greater Brandywine, West Chester branch and eleven other community partners. During this festival, teens ages 12-19 can enjoy free food, games, teen comedians, and musicians. It goes from 5-8pm, and is free to attend! East Goshen Park 1661 Paoli Pike | 610.692.8950 eastgoshen.org/park-and-rec/events

August 24

East Goshen Food Truck and Music Festival

This free event will feature live music with several bands and performers, a moon bounce for the kids, and trucks serving up all manner of cuisine, including that most important of all food groups: dessert. The event will run from 4-8pm, and attendees are welcome to come picnic in the park. East Goshen Township Park, Stage Area 1580 Paoli Pike eastgoshen.org

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August 24

WC Summer Soirée

Similar to “Diner en Blanc,” which is held in large cities like Philadelphia, New York City, and San Francisco, the WC Summer Soirée invites community members to dress all in white and either bring a picnic dinner and cocktails, or purchase food and beverages offered on-site. There will be food, drinks, fabulous live music and dancing underneath the stars. The location will be a surprise, announced the day of the event. Proceeds from the event benefit at-risk children in the community. The event runs from 6:30pm rain or shine. Tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting the event website. Surprise location! 917.699.8166 | wcsummersoiree.org

For a complete listing of summer events, visit: TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM THEWCPRESS.COM/SUMMERFUNGUIDE 57 57


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Near and Far

Jamie Jones of Whirlaway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts Twice a year Jenn, my best friend from high school, organizes a day for a group of overworked moms who need a husband- and child-free day of debauchery. It’s a seamless experience with limo service, wine-tasting reservations, free-flowing screwdrivers and mimosas, snacks and a throwback playlist that has us all dancing like its 1999. Jenn has somehow managed to curate a group of women that otherwise may have never met but get along like we have been lifelong friends. Our guards go down (and our hands go up to Biggie) as we forget our responsibilities and act like carefree kids for a day. We usually end up bar hopping in West Chester, hoping the day will never end. The next morning we usually wish the day never happened when we’re snapped back to reality. We have been to quite a few wineries in Pennsylvania and Maryland, but we always come back to Galer Estate in Kennett Square. This past May we found ourselves parked on the breezeway looking over the vineyards for three hours while we enjoyed a flight tasting followed by a few additional bottles after. Jenn picked up boxed lunches from Couch Tomato, which helped us consume bountiful amounts of wine — the 2017 Huntress Red Blend was a crowd favorite. We were also fortunate on our last visit to enjoy the Chester County Studio Tour, which had a stop at Galer. I found myself thinking about how similar the ambiance was at Galer to what I’d experienced in my trip to Tuscany that same month. I had been sipping wine and gazing over endless hectares of vineyards, olive groves, villas and small villages at Casa Emma in Tuscany not long before this ladies day out, albeit with my husband who opted to hire a private car and driver to get us away from the crowd for some top-notch wine tasting. Casa Emma did not disappoint. We enjoyed a “light” lunch of five courses with wine pairings, a private cellar tour and a level of service that had me pinching myself to make sure it was real. (It was.) Following Casa Emma we meandered through villages only accessible by car. Old Italian men were conversing outside of the local newspaper store as their wives were sweeping the front entrances and attending to their flowers. It was like an Italian storybook come to life, and we were walking through the pages. We had another wine tasting followed by a visit to the town of Greve in Chianti and a fabulous outdoor artisan market where we were able to pick up the perfect gift for my step-daughter. If you find yourself longing for an international wine experience, hire a driver in Tuscany and head to Casa Emma. The Chianti Classico collection will have you buzzing with happiness, daydreaming of a slow and quiet life in the Italian countryside and impatiently awaiting your shipment of wine back to the states. But, if you’re unable to whisk your friends away to Italy, there are plenty of wineries in our area, like Grace, Paradocx, Chaddsford, Penns Woods, Va La and Black Walnut Winery which are just a few of the many in Chester County. After all, the trip is only as good as the people you share it with. —jjones@thewcpress.com TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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2019 Mazda3 Sedan

2018 Mazda6 Sedan

2019 Mazda CX-5

Piazza Mazda

(610) 399-5330

of West Chester

PiazzaMazdaWestChester.com

1340 WILMINGTON PIKE (RT 202) WEST CHESTER, PA 60

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If you can spot the five differences in this photo from a delicious meal our team enjoyed at Spence Café, email your answers to contests@thewcpress.com, and you’ve got a chance to win a Spence Café gift certificate. Congrats to our July winner, Macy Rutherford.

TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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August Playlist DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be singing all summer The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. But, good news: you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your friends. djromeo@thewcpress.com www.djromeo.fm | @DJRomeo24

Ed Sheeran ft. Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars - “BLOW” Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello - “Senorita” Taylor Swift - “The Archer” Chris Brown ft. Drake - “No Guidance” Alessia Cara - “Ready” Stephanie Poetri - “I Love You 3000” Ashley O - “On A Roll” Sam Smith - “How Do You Sleep?” Billy Ray Cyrus & Johnny McGuire - “Chevys and Fords” Kim Viera ft. Pitbull - “Ay Ay Ay” H.E.R. - “21” Bazzi - “I.F.L.Y.” Andy Grammar - “Naive” Ed Sheeran ft. Khalid - “Beautiful People” Shotgun Willy ft. Yung Craka - “Oreo” Y2K & bbno$ - “Lalala” Blink 182 - “Happy Days” Billy Currington - “Details” French Montana ft. City Girls - “Wiggle It” Drake - “Nonstop” The Struts - “Pegasus Seiya” Liam Gallagher - “Once” Tory Lanez - “Forever” Chris Young ft. Lauren Alaina - “Town Ain’t Big Enough” Armin van Buuren & Avian Grays - “Something Real” Iggy Azalea - “Sally Walker” Tyler Childers - “All Your’n” Rat Boy - “Truth of the Youth” Bishop Briggs - “Tattooed On My Heart” Mike Posner ft. Ty Dolla $ign - “Look What I’ve Become” TASTEWESTCHESTER.COM

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Profile for The WC Press

Taste of West Chester - Fall 2019  

West Chester's source for good food news

Taste of West Chester - Fall 2019  

West Chester's source for good food news