The WC Press I ♥ WC - February 2018

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“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” –George A. Moore COLUMNISTS WC Food Co-op Becca Boyd Jamie Jones Andrea Mason DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 12 E Barnard Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit



Our no-nonsense table of contents


THE POLLS ARE IN We ask locals about their favorite things


WELCOME TO WEST CHESTER Chatting Kurt Herwig of Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers


THE LEADERS WHO LOVE THIS TOWN Why West Chester’s most influential people love this town


BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Chatting with Drew Hall behind the bar at Limoncello.


BRINGING LOVE TO THE BOROUGH Behind the scenes of the annual wedding showcase


THE MAKEOVER Avante Salon & Spa brings out the beauty in a client’s eyes


PEOPLE OF WEST CHESTER Residents tell us why they love this town


PHOTO HUNT Find the five differences between two pictures and win!


ONLINE INPUT We asked our Facebook followers why they love West Chester


Profiling multi-generational family businesses that have long been the heart of this town.

APRIL Design

Featuring everything from interior and landscape design, down to artists and consumer products.

MAY Style

A collaborations with West Chester's fashion boutiques and salons to showcase the best looks in town.

JUNE Summer Fun Guide

Our annual guide to finding family fun in West Chester while the kids are home for the summer.

JULY Law & Order

As the county seat, West Chester is home to the most prominent legal minds in the county (and the state).

AUGUST Edible West Chester

West Chester is a foodie paradise, and we profile some of the best chefs and their culinary creations.


With more than a dozen bars in a four-block radius, there’s always something going on after dark.

OCTOBER Kid-Friendly

Information parents need to know, from when kids eat free to where you’ll find family-friendly fun.


Our furry friends feature prominently, and we profile those pets and their industrious owners.

DECEMBER Holiday Shopping

Everything you need to know to find the best gifts while shopping locally this holiday season.






from the


Dan Mathers shares some personal insight about this month’s theme

As someone who grew up here, spent most of my life here and chose to start a business here, I have a whole lot of reasons to love West Chester. I could name dozens of motivators for my predilection, but they all center around one quality: West Chester is a town where people take pride in improving themselves, their neighbors and their community. In my years running this magazine, I’ve experienced countless cases of residents working to better this borough. Before we ever launched a color issue, Stan Zukin went out of his way to introduce himself to our team, and when it became clear that we were intent on creating something that would enhance this community, Stan setup a meeting. Knowing that, in order to establish legitimacy, The WC Press would have to grow beyond my spare bedroom, he offered us an office for a very fair price. He let us tweak the terms and cut the lease down to one year. Most importantly, he promised to support our mission, and the full page ads that Zukin Realty took for the first year of our publication were fundamental in helping establish this business. Sadly, Stan Zukin passed away in January. He was an icon in our town, and I'm sure he is at the center of countless stories like my own. He will be sorely missed by the entire community. I’ve seen this same selflessness played out to the benefit of others. When our former photographer Adam Jones and his brother Dave were starting up Peloton — their now awesomely successful cold brew coffee company — they received support from Dan Cellucci. Dan offered the Joneses his kitchen space at Sprout Music Collective to get their bottling operation off the ground. When I asked Dan about it for a story we ran on the brothers in 2016, he told me, “If I have an opportunity to help local entrepreneurs start a great company, I’m usually going to lend a hand.” As a business, we strive to emulate those ideals. My favorite example is probably the West Chester Bartenders Ball. The event, hosted annually by The WC Press on the last Sunday in January, has thus far raised more than $40,000 for local organizations, thanks to the generous support of West Chester’s bars and restaurants. Past recipients of that generosity include the Food Cupboard, Fire Department and the Chester County Hero Fund, among others. The key to my love of this town isn’t the institutions — not the parks or restaurants, buildings or businesses. The reason I love West Chester is because of the community who call this place home: the neighbors I grew up with, the lifelong friends I cherish, and the teachers who dealt with me, all of whom helped mold the man I’ve become. Really, former West Chester East Vice Principal John Rogers deserves special recognition for guiding me to graduation... and helping me avoid expulsion. Thanks, Mr. Rogers. However, the paramount component in anyone's development is family, and mine is still here. Although my parents talk about moving south and getting a boat, I know they’re not going anywhere. Besides, no matter where life takes them — or me — West Chester will always be home. —





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Favorite Park: Greenfield Park Best Breakfast: Market Street Grill  Best Lunch: Iron Hill Best Dinner: Iron Hill Best Bar: Kildare's Irish Pub Best Event: Christmas Parade  I♡WC Because... Small, Fun Town

Favorite Park: Everhart Park  Best Breakfast: The Classic Diner Best Lunch: Opa Opa Best Dinner: Iron Hill Best Bar: Ryan's Pub Best Event: Restaurant Festival I♡WC Because... Small, but big

Favorite Park: Marshall Square Park Best Breakfast: La Baguette Magique Best Lunch: The Classic Diner Best Dinner: Teca Best Bar: The Social Lounge Best Event: Studio Tours & Gallery Walk I♡WC... Architecture, Ambiance, People




Favorite Park: Everhart Park  Best Breakfast: Penn's Table  Best Lunch: Landmark Americana Best Dinner: Amore Pizza Best Bar: I'm not 21, so... Best Event: Restaurant Festival I♡WC Because... Everything's so close.

Favorite Park: Everhart Park  Best Breakfast: Market Street Grill  Best Lunch: Baan Thai Best Dinner: Side Bar & Restaurant Best Bar: Split Rail Tavern Best Event: Restaurant Festival I♡WC Because... It is authentic.

Favorite Park: West Goshen Park Best Breakfast: Country Bagel Best Lunch: Jaco Taco & Juice Bar Best Dinner: Iron Hill Best Bar: Kildare's Best Event: Christmas Parade  I♡WC Because... Home sweet home!








Favorite Park: Greenhill Skate Park Best Breakfast: Penn's Table  Best Lunch: Nudy's Café Best Dinner: Limoncello Best Bar: Jake's Bar Best Event: Christmas Parade  I♡WC Because... It's family-oriented.

Favorite Park: Everhart Park  Best Breakfast: Penn's Table  Best Lunch: Split Rail Tavern Best Dinner: Kooma Best Bar: Side Bar & Restaurant  Best Event: Restaurant Festival I♡WC... Small, Unique, Friendly

Favorite Park: Everhart Park  Best Breakfast: Roots Cafe Best Lunch: Side Bar & Restaurant Best Dinner: Bar Avalon Best Bar: Landmark Americana Best Event: Restaurant Festival I♡WC... People, Food, Community




Favorite Park: Lafayette Park Best Breakfast: Market Street Grill  Best Lunch: Barnaby's Best Dinner: Limoncello Best Bar: Barnaby's Best Event: Christmas Parade  I♡WC Because... The Parking Authority

Favorite Park: Everhart Park  Best Breakfast: Nudy's Café Best Lunch: Jaco Taco & Juice Bar Best Dinner: Bar Avalon Best Bar: Kooma Best Event: Christmas Parade  I♡WC... Active, Friendly, Homey

Favorite Park: Greenhill Skate Park Best Breakfast: Penn's Table  Best Lunch: Market Street Grill Best Dinner: Mercato Best Bar: Jitter's Sports Bar Best Event: Christmas Parade  I♡WC Because... Great community




Favorite Park: Everhart Park  Best Breakfast: Market Street Grill  Best Lunch: Nagasaki Best Dinner: Split Rail Tavern Best Bar: Side Bar & Restaurant  Best Event: Twilight Criterium I♡WC Because... Small town vibe

Favorite Park: Marshall Square Park Best Breakfast: Classic Diner Best Lunch: Market Street Grill Best Dinner: Limoncello Best Bar: Side Bar & Restaurant  Best Event: Chili Cookoff I♡WC Because... The people

Favorite Park: West Goshen Park Breakfast: Penn's Table & Market Street Grill  Best Lunch: Jaco Taco & Juice Bar Best Dinner: Kooma Best Bar: Split Rail Tavern Best Event: Christmas Parade  I♡WC... Community, Variety, Walkability





Welcome to

West Chester PHOTO Sabina Sister INTERVIEW Skye McDonald

Kurt Herwig explains what makes Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers stand out. The first question on my mind is, what differentiates a steakburger from a hamburger? It’s about quality. We use fresh, preservative-free, 85/15, lean beef. We press the patties down onto the grill and scrape them off, which means the burger is caramelized on the outside. Everything is handcrafted and made to order. Everything’s made fresh? We pride ourselves on it. The Freddy’s Promise is that we don’t start cooking anything until you’ve ordered it. It takes a little longer, but it’s worth it. It probably takes good employees to make that happen. We like to kickstart

our workers, use what might be their first job to make them into leaders. We call it the Freddy’s School. It’s important to us that they’re moving up the ranks here, and it’s not just another dead-end job. Lots of similar restaurants don’t put in the effort—why bother? We care about everyone who comes through the door. Not everyone has the best home life, so we’re always looking to help our employees. We drive them to and from work when they can’t get rides. The first Freddy’s opened in Wichita, Kansas in 2002. Why’d you come to Pennsylvania? Steve DeMarco, one of the owners here, was on a trip and decided to get something to eat. He couldn’t tell if he loved his first experience with Freddy’s food just because he was so hungry, so he went back the next day and had the same experience. We opened the first East Coast location in 2012 in Broomall, Delaware County. This West Chester location opened on April 18, 2017. I’ve noticed you holding the door open for everyone. Is that intentional? Greeting everyone with a smile is our

number one goal. As soon as they walk in, kindness rubs off on everyone, no matter their mood. How was the name,“Freddy’s” chosen? The original Freddy was the father of two of the founders. He used to enjoy delicious steakburgers and frozen custard when he was a boy. He’ll be 93 this year. And Freddy is a veteran, right? Yes, he’s a Purple Heart recipient. And you honor veterans at all locations. On Mondays, veterans and active military get a 15% discount. On Tuesdays, we offer a 25% discount. We recently donated $500 to the West Chester VFW Post 106 for the holidays. What should I order? People love our patty melt, with seedless, Jewish rye, Swiss and grilled onions, and our California Burger is popular, too, with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and our special sauce. But, the most popular is our #1, the original: a double patty with cheese, mustard, onion and pickles. Oh, and our custard is a premium product, churned fresh all day long—it’s way better than ice cream. Plus, every kid under 12 gets a free custard with their kid’s meal.







Suzanne Adams shares info on local food and the upcoming West Chester Food Co-op

Among the occasions marked for celebration with food and drink each year, Robert Burns Day (January 25, Burns’ birthday), holds a special place. The traditional remembrance is a sort of group theatre built around Scottish fare of the 18th century (Burns was born in 1759). This, of course, includes a haggis. All participants have a role in the evening, traditional dress is encouraged, the haggis gets a formal introduction, Burns’ music and poetry abounds, and single-malt-inspired extemporizing is highly encouraged. Burns is considered the national poet of Scotland and is revered among the Scots as a poet of the people. The son of a tenant farmer, he was a champion of the poor and disenfranchised, which was most of Scotland at that time. His passions were poetry, nature, drink and women, and he romanticized about all of them in his work. He held forth in the pubs of Dumfries and Edinburg and was famous for his impromptu versifying. A true Burns Supper brings all of these qualities to the evening. Participants are piped to the table for a reading of the Selkirk Grace, a prayer created extemporaneously by Burns. As the meal moves to the main course, all stand for piping in the haggis; an honored guest reads the Address to the Haggis and raises a glass for the toast to the haggis. After the main course — and more single malts — having survived the haggis, another guest rises to give a tribute to Burns and lead a toast. The evening goes on to more food, whiskey and poetry, drunken and maudlin sentimentality, and concludes with Burns’ most famous work, Auld Lang Syne. The haggis is an integral part of the evening. It’s humble food, the food of those whom Burns championed. Made of a mixture of coarse oatmeal, lamb, and lamb offal (traditionally heart and lungs), it’s stuffed into a sheep’s stomach or beef casing for cooking. Lots of seasoning and a liberal splash of whiskey at the finish are essential. If making your own Haggis, beef casings (bung) can be ordered on-line. The USDA forbids the sale of sheep’s lungs for human consumption, but lamb kidneys and chicken livers make an acceptable substitute. You can get high-quality lamb offal from local producer Canter Hill Farm ( Jamie Oliver has a very good Haggis recipe which can be found online. If you decide to host a Burns Night yourself; there’s plenty of inspiration to be found from groups dedicated to his memory: try for starters. If you would like to participate, restaurants, Scottish heritage groups, and Burns societies across the region organize dinners on or around January 25. West Chester Cooperative organizes an invitation-only dinner each year at a private estate in the area. If you would like to be added to the waitlist for this event, send an email to with Burns Dinner in the subject. – Cooperatives are businesses formed to serve the needs of their member-owners. West Chester Cooperative is working to build a member-owned, full-service grocery store in West Chester. Learn more about the Co-op, the Local Food Program, and how to become part of it all at:



the Leaders




The reasons why some of West Chester’s most influential people are proud to call this town home.

assembled by Skye McDonald portraits by Sabina Sister

FEBRUARY 2018 THEWCPRESS.COM photo Adam Jones 17




Carolyn Comitta

In good times and in bad, we are always there for each other.

Pennsylvania District 156


LOVE OUR PEOPLE, our diversity, our history, our culture, our commerce, our vitality, our tranquility. I love our neighborhoods, our downtown, our parks, treelined streets and green fields. I love being together in West Chester with friends, neighbors and visitors. I love that you can just show up downtown and there is something happening all day, every day— fun for children, students, families, seniors and everyone in between. I love the annual street festivals and parades. I love the surprises around every corner: maybe a Little Free Library tucked in a storefront alcove, or a Kindness Rock Garden “planted” in front of the public library. I love that you can walk through West Chester University’s campus and find a statue of Frederick Douglass, a planetarium, geothermal infrastructure, serpentine stone and young people reading, making music, studying art and science, and shaping the future. I love that you can walk to theaters, museums, shops, restaurants, gyms, schools and places of worship. I love that you can dine indoors by a warm fire on a cold winter eve, and in warm weather, you can enjoy one of many umbrella’d, outdoor

cafés in our historic downtown. My favorite winter times in West Chester are the quiet of walking in the snow and the joy of kids sledding in the parks. My favorite summer evenings include potluck picnics and concerts in Marshall Square Park, and dining al fresco downtown, then strolling with a mint chocolate chip gelato in hand. I have lived in the borough since my college days and for most of my adult life. I love it because it’s my home. I love the many “personalities” West Chester has had since I was young. Things have changed so much since I was a child growing up in West Goshen. My family would come to town to do all our shopping: food, clothing, school supplies, lawn supplies, musical instruments, birthday cakes. The shop owners were our friends — we always felt welcome. Then for some years, West Chester was very quiet, with many shuttered storefronts. A few business owners got together to figure out how to bring restaurants and retail back to town, and the rest is history! I love our can-do spirit. I love that once again, I can shop for almost everything I need in West Chester, and that the shop owners are my friends and I always feel welcome.

I love having my office in the borough. It is within walking distance of over 22,000 people, some of whom don’t drive. People can walk into our office on West Washington Street and get the help they need five days a week. It’s the people who are the heart and soul of a community. The people of West Chester and Chester County are filled with caring and generosity. From our 100% volunteer, 100% certified, 100% awesome fire department to our Community Volunteers in Medicine, Volunteer Hospital Ambassadors, Volunteer English Program, and university students who volunteer over a million hours of community service a year… we are here for each other. As mayor and state rep, I have been there to see our firefighters and first responders risk their lives to help those in need. I have seen those first responders as well as neighbors run into burning buildings to rescue others. Again and again, I am struck by the generosity, courage and selflessness and of our neighbors. In good times and in bad, we are always there for each other. My heart is filled with gratitude and love for the people and the community of West Chester. l <3 WC!




KINDERGARTEN AT THE Y KINDERGARTEN AT THE OSCAR LASKO YMCA AND CHILDCARE CENTER prepares your child for success in a safe, learning environment.

• Literacy-building activities, math, science, social studies and technology development • Spanish language instruction offered • Weekly gymnastics and swim lessons included • Before and after school care, with after care until 6:30 pm (half-hour later than most programs) • PA State Department of Education licensed

VISIT FOR AN OPEN HOUSE! Feb. 17, 10 am • Feb. 20, 6 pm

The YMCA is a cause-driven charitable organization that provides financial assistance for programs. Ask us for details.

Photos from the 2017 YMCA Fashion Show

Located in downtown West Chester!

For details, visit or contact the Y today. OSCAR LASKO YMCA AND CHILDCARE CENTER 610-696-9622 • One E. Chestnut Street, West Chester, PA 19380 a branch of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine




Malcolm Johnstone West Chester BID

If you can’t find a favorite restaurant—or five—you’re not even trying.


EST CHESTER IS AN EASY TOWN TO FALL IN LOVE WITH. It provides a sense of being comfortable, of being special. My very first visit to West Chester was in February 2001. I was walking down West Market towards High Street. I had this rush that I’d been here before. Sutter Street, San Francisco, 1975—that was it. Old buildings designed for people, each with styles that actually have names — Greek Revival, Federalist, and my classy favorite, Beaux Arts. West Chester is not San Francisco, of course. But it is part of the cosmopolitan family of downtowns that are elegant and authentic. Pretentious notions need not apply here. Every structure has a story. Some even touch upon history that shaped our national values. Horticultural Hall, now the home of the Chester County Historical Society, is a great example. It was the last West Chester commission of renowned architect Thomas U. Walter before he became the Architect of the Capitol in Washington, DC, where he oversaw the construction of the current dome atop the U.S. Capitol Building. If you take the time to explore its unique-

ness — the Romanesque architectural style, the buttresses (those columns that support the corners of the structure), the recessed Norman arch above the door, and the fact that it’s constructed with serpentine stone — a limestone with a greenish hue found only in the West Chester area — you’re just beginning to understand what it’s all about. I love the fact that West Chester was chosen to host Pennsylvania’s first women’s rights convention here in 1852. I’m sure at least some of the women leaders discussed things that continue to be relevant today. One of my favorite structures is the First West Chester Fire Company, now Restaurant 51 Tap & Spirit on North Church Street. T. Roney Williamson, noted as an eccentric architect, must have salivated when he was commissioned to turn what was two buildings into one Queen Anne-style fire station. He then got somewhat carried away as he added patterned brick and carved stone with an eclectic design mix of Tuscan Romanesque, Gothic, and Colonial Revival, not to mention bas-relief faces smiling down on passersby. The tower was used for spotting fires, an alarm

bell, and drying the 800-foot fire hose. While the historic buildings are reflective of days gone by, they also provide great nesting places for contemporary boutiques and eateries. The selection of restaurants, about 65 by my count, can be somewhat overwhelming. But isn’t that the fun? Giant pizza (Lorenzo and Son’s) vs. vegan (Love Again Local); charming BYOB (Spence Café) vs. whiskey delights (Saloon 151), to name a few. If you can’t find a favorite—or five—you’re not even trying. Interspersed among the restaurants are shops and galleries. Each has a style rivaling their boutique brethren found anywhere else. “Made in West Chester” is becoming a hallmark in a downtown where owner-designer-makers like Brittany Reed (Tesoro), Chris Curtin (Éclat Chocolate), and Mary Manning (Visual Expansion) take their creativity to the highest level. You’re buying directly from the artist and the maker. It’s this type of creative energy, found in downtown’s stores, restaurants and buildings, that provides an energy palpable even from the sidewalk. What’s not to love?






Gary Green

I think it’s a microcosm of a big city—it’s a very manageable size.

Uptown! Entertainment Alliance


HAD BEEN WORKING IN BOSTON, and I had an opportunity to come here and be the CEO of the YMCA in 1992. My first impression of West Chester was that it was a sleepy town, but I was impressed by the people, their warmth, and how they made my transition very easy. I worked there for 18 years and helped construct the Kennett Square YMCA in 1997 and the Airport Road YMCA in 2008. People were underserved and looking for a place to have family activities. Although I’ve been retired for almost eight years — I’m just a Y member, now — I got involved in Uptown! shortly after I retired. I’m just finishing up my first year as president in our first year of operations. I love music, theater, the types of things that go on in a facility and organization like this. Even though it was a sleepy town when I first arrived, West Chester has so much going on today, and I love that Uptown! is able to be such a large part of that. We have the West Chester Studio, a performance school for children, and arts summer camp and showcases for our more than 150 students during the year. It allows our organization to expose people to theater and experience performing. There are eight resident companies that provide jazz, popular music, and opera. There are also outside groups coming in, like our recently launched collaboration with World Cafe Live and the Kimmel Center. We even had three wonderful broadway shows from the Resident Theatre Company. We’re in business to provide a platform for shows and events here, to better this community. Anything we can do to enhance the offerings and provide better opportunities, that’s our job. I feel very lucky to be engaged in a project like this that is so necessary and making such a difference in

the town. I love that I’m able to give back to the community—not everyone gets that chance. I’ve been watching how the town has developed over 25 years. It used to be dead at 7pm, but now, to see the energy, it’s so satisfying. Today West Chester’s a great place to be. It’s got all that ambiance that you want: it’s charming, it’s old, it’s new, it’s vibrant, but still has its quiet side. I think it’s a microcosm of a big city—it’s a very manageable size.

Most of all, I love that I’m able to do all this, that there is so much on offer in West Chester, in a place that I’m proud to call home. The people, the community, the opportunities, they are all great reasons to love this town. But the best reason of all is the fact that three of our four kids have chosen to settle here, and our grandkids live here. That tells me what I need to know about West Chester: it’s a powerful statement if future generations choose to stay.






Dianne Herrin Borough of West Chester

We share a love of West Chester and a tireless vision of hope for its future.


INCE I DECIDED TO RUN FOR MAYOR OF WEST CHESTER BOROUGH, I have knocked on 1,000 doors and walked every street in this community. During the past 11 months, I sat at the kitchen tables of long-time residents and listened to their stories about growing up in West Chester. I encountered neighbors recently transplanted from New York and other cities who were excited to find a town with so many cultural opportunities. I worked with enthusiastic and dedicated West Chester University students and had a great time doing so! I discussed downtown issues with local business people, participated in church services, gallery talks, the unveiling of a new arts mural, meal deliveries for families in need, Thanksgiving dinner preparations for our seniors, and I joined the NAACP, the Sunrise Rotary, and the Greater West Chester Area Chamber of Commerce — to name a few organizations.

I rode along with our police throughout the wee hours of the morning as the bars let out and the streets overflowed with carousers. Throughout all of this, I gained a much deeper understanding of what life in our community is really like. I have seen that it’s unique from church to church, neighborhood to neighborhood, street to street, and even house to house. I have seen how different we are in our experiences, backgrounds, beliefs, and economic circumstances. At the same time, I have come to understand that, despite these differences, we share a lot. We share hopes and dreams for ourselves, our families, and our community. Nothing hit this point home more than my meetings with our prior Mayor Tom Chambers. Even though he was on my opponent’s campaign team, Tom kindly invited me into his home, offered to share his knowledge and his extensive library, helped me work through a few

issues, and showed me a scrapbook of the 12 years he served as West Chester’s Mayor — a pretty challenging job back in the 70s and 80s. Tom showed me that we share so much more than we don’t. We share a love of West Chester and a tireless vision of hope for its future. This experience has transformed the way I think about my own life. Like many of us, when things used to get tough, I would hanker to be somewhere else. I would dream about escaping the stresses of the daily grind, lounging on the beach, and living a life of simplicity and freedom. I don’t think this way anymore. Each day, I awake grateful to be living here, working here, and contributing to our community. I am honored to participate not only in West Chester’s history, its progress and its compassion, but also in its very real struggles and challenges. I feel privileged to serve, and to work to move West Chester forward together. There is no place like home.






Christopher Fiorentino

West Chester University


REMEMBER BEING IN WEST CHESTER IN THE 1970S. I came down to a Randy Newman concert in West Chester University’s Emilie Asplundh Hall. I’d never been to West Chester. Years later, when I was hired by the university, I arrived on campus and it hit me: I’ve been here before. I grew up in the Philadelphia area in Bucks County and went to school at Temple University. In 1983 I joined West Chester University as a temporary economics professor. I was replacing a professor who was on sabbatical, and I was only supposed to be here for a year. But one year quickly became two when he requested a second year away. When a full-time opportunity opened up, they hired me permanently in 1985. I’ve been here ever since. It wasn’t until I moved here, shopped in town, lived in town, and went to bars, that I grew to love it. We try to get around to as many restaurants as we can these days. In the earlier years, West Chester was a town in transition. Late 1980s, early 1990s, there were vacant storefronts everywhere. Now, there’s no reason to leave West Chester. You can go to a different restaurant every night of the week for a month and not repeat yourself. Before I moved to Chester County, if we wanted to go out for a nice evening, we had to go to Philadelphia. In 1993, I became the Dean of the School of Business and Public Affairs. I became engaged in the community. Since my wife grew up in this community, we both feel like part of it and we love it. In my role at West Chester University, I became heavily involved in the revitalization of the borough. I got to know community leaders in the government, county, borough, and the business leaders from the Chamber of Commerce. I became engaged as a participant and as an employee of the university. In my line of work, it’s unusual to stay in one place for the whole career

I expect to finish my career here; this is the job I could only dream of.

because you usually you have to move from one job to the next. Last year, before attaining my current position, I was interviewing to be a college president in Connecticut. If they had offered me that job, I would have taken it, but when I found that I didn’t get the job, I felt relieved; I wanted to stay here. I love being a college president and having the responsibility and authority to lead the institution, to work with wonderful people. The fact that I’m able to do it at the institution that I pro-

fessionally grew up in is more special. I have no intention of leaving this job. I expect to finish my career here; this is the job I could only dream of. To my delight, I’ve been able to rise from professor, dean, vice president, and president all right here at this place that I love. That’s a special set of circumstances. I have a very deep attachment. This is an incredible profession. We’re not building things—we’re building minds. I love what we accomplish at this place.





Near and Far

Jamie Jones of Whirlaway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts

As a mother with young children, I am always looking for special experiences with my family, so a few years ago we set a goal to visit all 50 states before they graduate high school. Looking back, I now realize that this was a lofty goal. We have checked off a few with meaningful trips to Massachusetts, California and Delaware. This summer we’re headed to Wyoming and South Dakota for a week-long Cowboy Country trip for my mom’s 70th birthday. Recently we did a whirlwind weekend trip to New York City which included a visit to the most expensive doll salon ever at the American Girl Doll store. For those of you unfamiliar with American Girl Dolls, it has got to be one of the most lucrative enterprises geared toward young girls (and as of January 1, boys). Each year they debut a new girl. She comes with a story and add-on options, including a wardrobe, accessories and books. The dolls themselves are part toy, part collector pieces, because eventually they are retired. The hefty price tag is quickly forgotten once you see the joy in your child’s eyes in meeting her new friend. Visiting the store in New York City is an experience all in itself. After shopping for everything and anything a doll could need to live a lavish lifestyle, and visiting the salon for an afternoon of pampering, the day culminates with high tea in the café. We stayed at The Benjamin, a boutique luxury hotel off Park Avenue that offers the American Girl Doll package, complete with a doll-sized bed, and a milk-and-cookies bedtime snack. Observing my daughter’s mothering instincts with her doll Rebecca — as they got matching hairstyles, outfits and a doll-sized entertainment system to keep Rebecca occupied while Gianna, my daughter, attends school — reminded me of the precious days I have spent with my own mom and Gianna. One of Gianna’s most-requested mommy-daughter experiences is a visit to Zazen Nail Spa on Gay Street. Usually we head there around Mother’s Day or my birthday for a princess pedicure for her, and a paradise pedicure for me. The service at Zazen is wonderful from the moment you check in. The nail color selection is vast and the staff always delights Gianna by fulfilling her crazy nail design requests. Zazen is a bit more luxurious than a regular nail salon; the ambiance is spacious, welcoming and relaxing without the nose-tingling smell and dust of acrylic floating in the air. The co-owner of Zazen, Tien, wanted to create a salon that offers wonderful customer service and a healthier atmosphere without the toxic fumes. She succeeded. Even though our family goal is to visit all 50 states in the next 10 years, we also have a desire to take full advantage of all that West Chester and the surrounding area has to offer. I would love reader submissions of what you think we should see and do as a family this year. With eight- and five-year-old kids, traveling is fun but so is sticking around town. We want to explore all that our town has to offer in-between our visits to the rest of the country. —





Bartender of the


PHOTO Sabina Sister INTERVIEW Skye McDonald

Chatting with Drew Hall about the benefits of being behind the bar at Limoncello. How long have you been bartending here? Three months. I was barbacking for a year here before that. Why did you become a bartender? I enjoy it; it’s a lot of fun. The opportunity came up, and I was able to fill some shifts as a bartender. What is it you enjoy? It’s a different atmosphere, compared to serving. You get to have fun, and your real personality comes out instead of being formal at the tables. We’re also friends with a lot of the regulars here, so we see them outside the bar. It’s cool to be able to hang out with your friends and joke around.

When do you normally work? I work Tuesday and Thursday lunch shifts, and sometimes I pick up night shifts on Wednesday, Thursday, and the weekends. I like nighttime more because it’s busier at the bar and more of our friends come out. Sunday nights, I split the bar and serving tables with the other bartender working that night. I like it because he’s one of my buddies, and this whole area is ours. I like being able to move around instead of being stuck in one place. So it’s never slow? No. Especially with the way the Eagles are playing this season, it keeps us busy, and I like that a lot. What do you think makes Limoncello so popular? The entire atmosphere here. No matter if they’re employees or customers, they’re all family. I used to serve here before I became a barback and bartender, and I’ve always taken advantage of the opportunities here and seen what an awesome place it is. What’s your favorite part of being behind the bar? I enjoy talking with the customers and creating the featured, specialty drinks. Sometimes I tweak them.

Do you have a favorite drink? I like the drinks we have on our menu — our martinis and cosmos are the most popular — but I’m a bourbon and whiskey guy. Have you worked any crazy events here? When I first started out, there was a QVC event, and a group of ladies took up nearly the entire bar at lunch. There were martinis and cosmos everywhere! I like learning about all of the different drinks because I was only a beer guy before. What better way to learn and get your feet wet? Now I’m learning more about wines, Scotches, and vodkas. I’m learning about the best ways to serve and drink other kinds of alcohol, and it’s pretty fun. How did you get into the restaurant industry? I grew up in Coatesville and the diner down the street, Little Chef, was looking for bus people. I was 13 and I stayed there for 10 years rising up in their ranks. After graduating from West Chester, I was working at a restaurant in Parkesburg and my friend got me the job here. At that point, I was at my limit — 13 years in the industry and I didn’t think I wanted to do it anymore. But working at Limoncello made me fall back in love with it.





natural curiosity and builds a foundation for joyful, lifelong learning. Our students thrive in authentic Montessori classrooms while learning science, Spanish, the arts, music and more. The program includes swim lessons, yoga, gym time and other Y activities, all at no added cost!


Jan. 20, 2:30-4 pm • Feb. 13, 6:30-8 pm Feb.16, 9-10:30 am The YMCA is a cause-driven charitable organization that provides financial assistance for programs. Ask us for details.

Photos from the 2017 YMCA Fashion Show

For ages 2½ to 5

For details, visit or contact the Y today. WEST CHESTER AREA YMCA 610-431-9622 • 605 Airport Road, West Chester, PA 19380 a branch of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine








ingerbread men that emerge reins this year, is pretty jazzed about it. municating with members, bringing in from the oven looking like aliens. “Hosting the Showcase at the American new members, coordinating mixers, Plumbing “fixes” that leave you Helicopter Museum will allow for more marketing, managing the showcase with no running water. A cursory prowl vendors, more guest attendance, more... committee, and much more—and I’m around the internet can offer a compel- well, everything!” she told us. While we also the treasurer.” In her other life, ling (and let’s face it—often hilarious) were on the topic of venues, Tara also Cyndi is the owner of Paper Moon, a glimpse into what can happen when had this to say based on her wedding customized stationery business, where an enthusiastic DIY project goes awry. planning experience: “Choosing your perfectly personalized wedding inviFrom epic home improvement calami- wedding venue is one of the first things tations constitute a big chunk of her ties to baking catastrophes, the results that should be done when planning your job. And Paper Moon is located at the of regular humans taking on projects big day. It’s essential to do this early on, museum shop at the Chester County best left to the professionals offer won- as it sets the tone for the entire wed- Historical Society—which is also useful, ders to behold that can serve as both ding.” And once that decision is crossed in that Cyndi also serves as ​the Venue comic relief and cautionary tale. So why off a couple’s list, “That’s when the real Sales and Event Manager at CCHS. This is an excellent example of the type of on earth would you trust one of the most fun begins for a planner,” Tara said. important days of your life to anyone To be clear, though: just as a marriage background and experience brought but a professional? Better yet, enlist the is not just about the wedding day, the to the table by the members of the aid of a whole bunch of them by turning WC Wedding Guide is not just about WCWG; these are not just people with very active Pinterest boards who like to to the West Chester Wedding Guide. the showcase. dabble. Now in its fifth year, the West LOVE IS IN THE AIR The WCWG includes repreChester Wedding Guide is comWILL BE HELD ON sentatives from every aspect of prised of a team of local nuptials professionals with one goal: exe- S U N D A Y , F E B R U A R Y 2 5 wedding planning you can possibly think of—and probably a couple FROM 11AM-2PM AT THE cuting your vision of your wedding day with minimal stress as flaw- A M E R I C A N H E L I C O P T E R M U S E U M you didn’t—from A to Z, and a look at their website confirms it. (Okay, lessly as possible. Their annual showcase has become a must-do for Indeed, according to WCWG pres- from A to V, actually—as in Accessories the betrothed in the West Chester area, ident Cyndi Meadows, “We are a net- to Venues.) From getting engaged up and this year it will be held on Feb- working group, with an executive com- to the honeymoon, you’ll find a pro for ruary 25 at the American Helicopter mittee of five core members, and a total that here. And as an example of thinking Museum. This is a new venue for the member number of 31.” (That’s quite a of things you didn’t, the site includes a event, and WCWG member Tara This- formidable number of people to harness comprehensive, point-by-point to-do tlewaite of SomethingBlu Weddings + for executing an extraordinary wedding list, broken down by time frames, startEvents, who ran the showcase for the day—just saying.) As president of the ing a year in advance of the big day — past four years before turning over the WCWG, Cyndi’s work includes “com- foolproof even for the bride whose idea





of “pre-planning” is buying love stamps in bulk. In some respects, coordinating the Wedding Showcase is not unlike coordinating an actual wedding. With Tara stepping aside this year after the recent birth of her second child, the planning of this year’s event is being coordinated by Amanda Dabeekeh, owner of Diamond and Details, a full-service wedding and event company based in Philadelphia. Diamonds and Details has been in the event and wedding planning industry since 2009, and Amanda agrees — running the showcase is not unlike her “real” job. “Whenever you have an event — whether it be a wedding or a showcase — with so many moving parts, the same work and amount of time goes into it,” she told us. “In both circumstances, there is also an ‘unknown’ factor. We never know what a wedding day may bring: bad weather, heavy traffic, a limo breaks down, and so on. And the same can be said for planning a showcase like this. When you’re planning an event, you can’t control every element that will come your way — will it snow, rain, etcetera? The plus side to a wedding, though, is at least we know the guest list size!” Tara agrees. “It absolutely is like planning a wedding, with lots of work leading up to it and lots of stress on the day of... the only difference is you’re running

around in the background instead of front and center as the bride.” As beneficial as the WCWG and the showcase are for prospective couples, it’s also great for the coordinators and vendors involved. “I’ve been lucky to meet many professionals in the industry, but it’s always nice to be able to network within a specific community of vendors, as is the case with the WGWC,” Amanda told us. “West Chester and the surrounding area offers so many possibilities for planning your wedding. I’ve always loved working in West Chester, and being a member of this group gives me an edge as well, when I’m working in the area. It’s because I’m familiar with the best professionals and venues that I can offer these referrals to my client.” Of course, every wedding is different, running the gamut from super casual and low-key to opulent and formal, and every couple is different. But that’s all part of the charm for Amanda. “I became a wedding and event planner because I love working with people,” Amanda told us. “Planning the showcase offers this same opportunity; for the entire planning process, I’ve had the chance to network and meet new professional partners, discover new venues and hopefully meet new brides and grooms to work with.” Speaking of grooms, one testament to the fact that the WCWG has its finger on the pulse of the latest in wedding trends is the name change, from the former Bride Guide to Wedding Guide. There was a time when only hetero-

sexual couples married, and when the wedding planning and execution was fully the purview of the bride and her bridesmaids or relatives. The name change was implemented to “be more inclusive,” according to Cyndi. “I have worked with same-sex couples, and I’d like to work with more.” And while it’s true that the bride is typically the star of the wedding show, if you will, more grooms seem to be getting their heads in the game than in days past. “In my experience with the invitations, my first meeting tends to be with the bride and the groom,” Cyndi said. According to Amanda, the guys are pulling their weight. “In my nine years of planning, I think I’ve had only two weddings where I didn’t meet the groom until the wedding day,” she said. “I think grooms are embracing wedding planning even more than in previous years. In fact, one of my favorite clients — a bride and groom I met at one of our previous WCWG wedding showcases, in fact — the groom did all the planning. He was my point of contact throughout the entire planning process, and he was also the one who wrote a beautiful review after the wedding!” In many cases, the groom’s not the only one helping to pull together the perfect wedding. “Planning a wedding has really become a team effort,” Amanda said. “Parents, siblings, and even the friends in the wedding party are becoming decision makers.” We can’t think of better members to enlist on your team than those at the West Chester Wedding Guide. The West Chester Wedding Guide Showcase, “Love Is In The Air,” will be held on Sunday, February 25, from 11am-2pm at the American Helicopter Museum. Visit for more information.






Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at


In an ideal world, the cold, dark month of February would be spent cuddled on couches, binge-watching episode after episode of mindless TV while sipping something warm. In reality, we hustle here and there the same way we do the rest of the year; we’re just really cold and generally tired. The good news is that you can still find comfort in the kitchen, and these two healthful recipes will ensure your resolutions stay on track, and you’re finished cooking with time left for a couch date. –

Creamy Farro Italiano 4 c. water 2 c. farro, rinsed 1 lg. onion, thinly sliced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved 2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes 2 tbsp. olive oil 1/4 c. grated parmesan plus more for serving Basil, for serving

1. Place water and farro in a medium to large saucepan to soak. 2. Meanwhile, prep ingredients. 3. After farro has soaked about 10 minutes, add onions, garlic,

tomatoes, salt, pepper flakes and olive oil to pan. Stir to combine. Turn heat to high and bring to boil. 4. When mixture reaches boil, reduce to a simmer (over lowest heat) and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. 5. Taste to ensure farro is chewy but not hard. Add 1/4 c. cheese and stir to combine. 6. Serve, topped with basil and parmesan cheese. Zucchini and Goat Cheese Frittata serves 4-6 12 large eggs 1 tbsp. olive oil 1/3 c. reduced fat milk 1 lg. zucchini, diced 3/4 tsp. salt, divided 1/3 c. finely diced onion 1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley 1 c. crumbled goat cheese 1 tbsp. minced fresh mint

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs, milk, 1/2 tsp. of the salt and the herbs in a medium mixing bowl. 2. Heat a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. Once oil is hot, add zucchini, onion, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown – about 8 minutes. 3. Add egg mixture to zucchini and stir with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan and around the edges while it cooks. When it’s beginning to set, add cheese and distribute through mixture. 4. Spread mixture evenly in pan and let cook for 30 seconds without touching. Place in oven for about 10 minutes or until mixture doesn’t jiggle anywhere when you shake the pan and is slightly puffed/pulling away from edges. Let cool ten minutes. 5. Slice like a pizza and serve wedges warm or at room temperature. FEBRUARY 2018 THEWCPRESS.COM




Avanté Salon & Spa brings out the beauty in a client’s eyes photo Sabina Sister


riana Walsh was excited to have her makeup done today by Avanté in Bradford Plaza. Brianna has beautiful hazel eyes, so makeup artist Kat Winter wanted to make the green color pop. She decided to create a smokey eye that was a dark chocolate color underneath a purple-gold

glitter. The choice of smokey eye color complements her olive skin tone and is perfect for a fun night out. Kat kept Brianna’s skin looking flawless by utilizing a light contour that made her face glow. Only a light coverage of foundation was used, a neutral tone for her lips, and Kat added wispy,

natural lashes to Brianna’s eyes to complete her look and bring the different elements of her makeup together. Kat has been working at Avanté for a little over two years, and loves what she does, learning new techniques and keeping up with makeup and fashion trends.






I have been here a long time, and it’s still holding on to that hometown feel. The locals are still here. Old West Chester is still around. There aren’t many chains and franchises, and it has a real feeling to it.

I love West Chester because I think it’s the perfect mixture. It’s just the right size: it’s not too big and not too small. It has everything going on and a good nightlife. Being here every day, everyone is so friendly and excited about living here. We are all on the same page.

My husband and I love to support local businesses, which — when you live so close to the borough — is so easy. For the most part, every restaurant in town — all the bakeries, the shops — they’re not big corporations.I love spending my money that way.

The thing I love most about West Chester is that it has a really tight community vibe. Everyone knows each other. When you walk down the street, you’re going to see someone you know. Any business you walk into in town feels like home. I love that.

There’s such a homey feel. Working here, I’ve gotten to know so many people. I feel comfortable walking through town because I see the people I serve, and it’s nice to be able to say “hello.”

I love West Chester because there is such a community of female entrepreneurs who are all super supportive of each other. We have a Facebook group where we all talk about when we’re going to open if there’s a snow day. It’s just so community-driven and supportive. We try to raise each other up by sending business to each other’s stores. It’s great.





I like that West Chester supports small businesses. It’s a niche culture that allows the development of personal hopes and dreams, and it keeps it fresh, real, and sweet. It’s not as crazy as some other towns that are being developed and cultivated. I also love my job here at La Baguette Magique.

I love this town because everything is close together. It’s like a city, but not as crowded. I like all of the entrepreneurs and how everyone works together to help each other. It’s so “up and coming” all the time. It’s cool to be around.

The reason why I picked the university was how cute the town was. Everyone who comes into Limoncello is so nice, and I love to see the regulars. The atmosphere, the places to eat, the charm — I just love it.

I love this town because I grew up visiting here. So, there’s a lot of nostalgia from visiting where my folks grew up.

I go to school here, and grew up pretty close by, so honestly, I didn’t think I would like West Chester as much as I do. But now, it’s my home. When I go see my mom, and I say, “I’m going home,” I mean West Chester now. I like that it has a big-town feel in a small area. Working here and meeting all the regulars makes me feel like I am a part of the town. That’s something that really makes me feel connected to West Chester as a whole. I love being the barista that knows everyone. It sounds cheesy, but I do really love it.

I love the small town vibe, and yet how it grows and expands. I love the youth of it, with students being here and that there are a lot of “mom and pop” shops. I think that’s so awesome.



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I grew up moving around a lot. West Chester has always felt like home. It’s comforting. All my friends live here, and I went to high school here. It just holds a special place in my heart.

I do love living right in the borough. I think it’s a great town to walk. I try to walk everywhere, if I have to go to the bank or the post office or to visit my daughter. I like that there are sidewalks everywhere so you can get from one end of the borough to the other. I love to walk in the alley’s.

I love the music and arts culture. The town is changing pretty rapidly as far as demographics, but there’s still a music and arts scene that’s underground. There are places like Sprout that are doing a great job. We also hold shows and fundraisers upstairs and open mic performances. It’s cool that there’s culture left.

This town is such a tight-knit community. With all the small businesses around, you just get to know everybody.

It’s a walkable, family town. We go to Yori’s Bakery once a week and love getting a vanilla doughnut with rainbow sprinkles.

I have to say, family and friends are what I love about West Chester the most. I am blessed to do work that allows me to travel, but West Chester is my favorite part of coming home. It’s the perfect town to come home to when I’m traveling. Also, the coffee shops are my favorite. I get to work from home, and my home is not just my home, but coffee shops like Dia Doce. It’s the idea incubator. There are so many creatives and industries represented by the folks that come here. I’ve met so many cool people that way and made connections just by working in this coffee shop.





Design Dilemmas Andrea Mason of Perceptions Interiors is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

A trend that seems to be everywhere lately is the Danish lifestyle movement Hygge. It is best described as being able to relax alone or with the people that matter to you. This may involve a dinner party with friends, or curling up in front of the fire with your favorite book. There is no particular season for Hygge, but during the winter it’s in full force when the dark and dreary weather turns us indoors. Below are some tips on how to embrace this comforting trend! Less is More This is an important principle in Scandinavian design. With less furniture or clutter in a room, the more serene it will be. An example of limiting the things in your room would be to have a petite accent table instead of a bulky and heavy end table. Hygge does not busy itself with cluttered chotchkies on a shelf; it is a clean surface with a few meaningful accessories. Quality Over Quantity An important characteristic of Hygge spaces is the quality of the furniture and accessories. They will stand the test of time and very few things are made of plastic or acrylic. Hygge is all about filling your house with personal and handmade items that have meaning. Taking special care in selecting each piece and adorning your shelves with only a few unique accessories creates a serene, from-the-heart environment. Bright Light In the dark months of winter there is nothing more uplifting than a well lit environment. It’s proven that light can make us healthier and happier. Lighting not only adds brightness, but warmth and comfort. Hygge lighting means function over form — the most important part is if it’s creating enough light for what you are doing, rather than the style of the light source. Lighting can include general pieces, such as sconces, chandeliers, flush mounts, and lamps, but it can also apply to accessories like candles and a cozy fire. Smells and Sounds It’s no surprise that a relaxing environment encompasses smells and sounds that help to calm. A fragrance candle with a lavender, mint, or rose petal scent will set a tranquil tone in your house. Hygge sound means finding something that makes you unwind or feel at peace. An important thing to note is that electronics should be hidden as best as possible. They are hard plastic pieces that take away from the natural environment you have created. This goes for TVs, speakers, etc. Texture Hygge means being surrounded by soft items or elements of the outdoors. Cozy materials, like puffy pillows and velvet sofas, will be easy to sink into after a long day. Also, natural materials, like a walnut coffee table, sisal rug, or wool blanket, are things that bring us back to nature and therefore help us unwind. I think the Danes have their priorities straight. Create an atmosphere with all of the things that make us and our loved ones relaxed and happy. I hope that everyone can go home to a place like that! —





Spot the five differences between these images of West Chester’s historic courthouse, then send your answer to for your chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate. Congrats to January winner Laura Stine from West Chester Computer Doctors who identified all the changes to the 2017 Best Sellers!





February Playlist DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be enjoying all month long. 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. | @DJRomeo24

Justin Timberlake – “Filthy” Dua Lipa – “IDGAF” Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA – “All The Stars” Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B – “Finesse (Remix)” Maroon 5 – “Wait” Camila Cabello – “Never Be the Same” Sofi Tukker ft. NERVO, The Knocks & Alisa Ueno – “Best Friend” G–Eazy ft. Halsey – “Him & I” Troye Sivan – “My My My!” Kodak Black ft. Lil’ Wayne – “Codeine Dreaming” Kip Moore – “Last Shot” Liam Payne & Rita Ora – “For You” Carrie Underwood ft. Ludacris – “The Champion” Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – “You Worry Me” The Black Eyed Peas – “Street Livin” Fall Out Boy – “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)” Kesha ft. The Dap-Kings Horns – “Woman” Foster The People – “Sit Next To Me” Hunter Hayes – “This Girl” Oceans – “Deep Blue” Demi Lovato – “Tell Me You Love Me” Ansel Elgort – “Supernova” Eminem ft. 2Chainz & Phresher – “Chloraseptic” Dan + Shay – “Tequila” Alice Merton – “No Roots” Clean Bandit ft. Julia Michaels – “I Miss You” Vance Joy – “We’re Going Home” Kendrick Lamar ft. Zacari – “LOVE.” Jack & Jack – “Beg”