The WC Press Oktoberfest Issue - October 2014

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Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio EDITOR Amy Strauss GRAPHIC DESIGNER Julie Ryan Kevin Fenton CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jesse Piersol Kate Chadwick CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Luke O’Brien Andrew Hutchins

“There is no such thing as a bad beer. It’s that some taste better than others.” -Billy Carter COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Debbie DeSantis Brad Liermann Jennifer Ozgur DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church 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


Noting 13 17 21 31 33 35 39 53 65

Our no-nonsense table of contents

FALL INTO GREAT BEER Enjoy our suggestions for autumnal brews LOCAL TALENT Chatting with John Brandt-Lee of Avalon OKTOBERFEST EDIBLES Becca Boyd explores some classically German recipes BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Riley Lennon brings youthful energy to Ryan’s Pub MAKEOVER For a change of pace, we’re making over a plate (seriously) OWNER OF THE MONTH We catch up with Robert Layman of Artistic Eyewear ALL ABOARD A look at some major changes at Boxcar Brewing Co. CHILI COOKOFF PREVIEW What to expect at this year’s festival PHOTO HUNT Your favorite game returns to these pages





From the


“Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.” –Henry Lawson

To most people, October brings thoughts of falling leaves, flannel shirts, Halloween and pumpkinspice everything. But to me, it means a return to good beer—rich, roasty varietals, and big, malty, amber pints. You see, the Oktoberfest theme is really just a coverup—this issue is mostly about beer. Good beer. For our staff and a growing number of people across the country, good beer is a thing of beauty—a thing to be celebrated. Sure, we’re currently blessed with an overabundance of choices (as Pete Crain points out on page 13), but it hasn’t always been that way, and it seems that people are beginning to forget how dire our situation once was: according to the Brewers Association, an organization dedicated to promoting the American beer tradition, there were only 44 brewing companies left in America by 1980. The lack of choice (and flavor) in the market can be traced back to the years following the Civil War, when the religiously incited temperance movement arose in the United States. These groups believed that alcohol was the root of many evils, and they sought an end to drinking. The movement was damaging to the brewing industry in itself, but when Prohibition became federal law, it put nearly all breweries out of business. Only a few of the biggest producers survived Prohibition, and they did so by making near-beer, syrup and other non-alcoholic, grain-based products. When the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition, breweries began popping up again, but they were unable to keep pace with the major operations that had stuck out the dry spell. Anheuser-Busch sent their pasteurized beers across America in refrigerated railcars and consolidated a national brand while small breweries battled temperance advocates for the right to sell beer in their hometown. Focusing on homogeneity rather than flavor, the major breweries solidified their stranglehold on American palates and wallets within a few decades. But in the 1980s, something miraculous happened: microbreweries began popping up again, and—against all odds—they were surviving. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was founded in 1980. In 1984 Samuel Koch started the Boston Beer Company, producers of Samuel Adams. Today there are more than 1,700 microbreweries in America, and many of the breweries that originated in the ’80s are hardly “micro” any longer. As someone who strives to think locally, the best thing about the craft beer movement is that I can drink a beer brewed right here in my hometown. As Jesse Piersol points out in her article (starting on page 39), Boxcar Brewing Company have recently made significant changes to their operation that could turn their small, local brewery into something much bigger (and cooler). Yes, Oktoberfest is about much more than beer (Becca Boyd does a great job pointing this out on page 21), but one of the perks of being the boss is that I get to decide what this magazine writes about each month. This month, I choose beer, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. –


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b y Pe t e Crain

t’s that time of the year, when the air turns crisp, the leaves change color, and the smell of bonfires and wood stoves permeates the air. It is also a time where the beer selection takes a turn for the spiced and richly flavorful. There are plenty of brews out there to satisfy any taste and preference, so if you think that everything turns to pumpkin the moment September rolls around, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. For many people, fall beer revolves around football. Tailgaiting is as essential as the sporting when it comes to driving down to the complex in South Philly, and price is a pretty big factor in the decision to buy certain beers for friends and family. This is when a lot of classic staples, such as Yuengling, Budweiser, Miller, and Coors, continue as a year-round beer for many. Not only is the price appealing for most people, but standard American lagers are not heavy in alcohol content and body, so finishing a drink won’t seem like a challenge.

But the problem with drinking on a budget is that these big names all really taste the same. That’s why we’ve put togther a list of some awesome beers you likely won’t be finding at Eagles tailgates. We’re talking pumpkin-spiced brews, big, hoppy IPAs and classic German Oktoberfests. So grab yourself a pint and enjoy.

Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING


eer’s basic ingredients create flavors that range from malty and sweet to dry and hoppy. Craft beer brewers took these basic canvases and started to experiment with different foods and spices to see how things paired. In the 30-plus years that craft beer has been widespread and in the public eye, the need to keep fresh and inventive has given us many awesome and creative beers, like those sporting a taste of pumpkin. Pumpkin’s a versatile food that has a particular sweetness. When it comes to brewing, this sweetness means added sugar that yeast go crazy for when fermenting. It adds flavor and more alcohol content to brews as well as some color and body.

and other spices in their brews to achieve different profiles from their beer. Here in West Chester, there isn’t a bar or restaurant in town that doesn’t carry a pumpkin beer this time of the year.

Here are a couple great pumpkin beers that can be found from local breweries, as well as one from farther away that deserved to be mentioned: • Troegs Master of Pumpkins:

While you’ll have to go on the hunt for this one, Master of Pumpkins is a sweet and malty pumpkin beer that is brewed with pumpkins from Pennsylvania. With the brewery being located in the lush farmlands just outside Hershey, their pumpkins come straight from patches right in their backyard.

• Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale:

• Southern Tier Pumking:

This is regarded as one of the best pumpkin beers to come out of PA. It’s also just a generally great pumpkin beer because it doesn’t taste like your kitchen spice rack was dumped into the batch. The result is a perfect balance of pumpkin, spice and classic beer flavors.

One of the most popular of the pumpkin beers, there is a lot of spice packed into this brew. Available only on tap or in big bottles, Pumking inhabits many of the bars and restaurants in West Chester around this time of the year. The goal of the brewers was to make a pumpkin pie beer—objective achieved.

Pumpkin beers don’t just taste of pumpkin. Your favorite dishes and desserts with pumpkin have spices that make them more complex, and so do these beers. Many breweries use nutmeg, cinnamon Honorable mention goes to Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale for its name and overall spice ale taste.







ou don’t have to be German to partake in the beers created for Oktoberfest. If you enjoy a good, straightforward lager, this is what you’ll want for the fall season. These beers claim the selling point of adhering to the Reinheitsgebot, or Bavarian Purity Law. This law dates back to the 15th century and mandates that German beer may only be brewed with water, barley, and hops (which was originally enacted to keep down the prices of rye and wheat). The purity laws haven’t been

enforced since the late 1800s (which has let to a big more variety), but the tradition of brewing strictly with these ingredients is still upheld by various Bavarian breweries.

Our favorite German Oktoberfest breweries: • Hacker-Pschorr • Paulaner • Spaten If you’re looking for Marzen beer—the style of brew associated with Oktoberfests—these three are the most common, and you’ll find them here in West Chester. Wide variety is not a big thing in this category of beer, but if you’re looking for a wider variety of German beers, there are always hefewiezens.

Other Fall Beers


raft breweries have been making all sorts of fun and flavorful beers for the fall season. There’s always something new and interesting to try that doesn’t necessarily have to taste like pumpkins or nutmeg. As the weather cools, heavier-bodied and spiced brews begin gaining popularity. IPA’s have assumed a very popular position in the craft world, and breweries are definitely taking advantage. Because they traditionally have a much bigger body, they are ideal for this time of the year. They strike a nice balance of being heavier than lager style beers but won’t make you feel weighed down like some porters and stouts. Beyond IPAs, strong Belgians, stouts and porters are starting to make their return. It’s worth seeking out Brewery Ommegang’s Three Philosophers and Rare Vos in the Belgian category. Yard’s Thomas Jefferson Ale is an excellent golden pale, a great

option for drinkers seeking a heavier beer without the ribsticking feeling that winter beers soon bring. Fall is a transition season, and that is also reflective of the beer that is released specifically for this time of the year. But while there is pumpkin and Oktoberfest to look forward to, there are many beers that have a hard time finding a specific seasonal home. Many of the local breweries—such as Victory, Sly Fox, Troegs and Boxcar—definitely work to make their regular beers appealing at all times of the year, especially in the fall when there is such a strong move toward pumpkin. No matter your taste in beverages, fall has a beer for you that can be found in many of the fine establishments of West Chester and the surrounding area. Drop on by your favorite bar in town and sample a few!

Some good local IPA’s for this season include: • Victory Dirtwolf:

A double IPA that is smooth and full of hop flavor, yet not overpowering. When Victory released this in the wake of Hop Wallop’s retirement, its popularity and early scarcity made it fly off shelves as fast as it came in.

• Sly Fox 113 IPA:

Sly Fox puts out many beers with a hop flavor, but their main IPA is probably one of the best to come out of a

can. Many people still scoff at the notion that canned beer can taste good, but Sly Fox has definitely succeeded in proving many of the naysayers wrong.

• Boxcar Mango Ginger IPA:

Brewed here in West Chester, the mango ginger IPA tastes exactly as the label says and is—in my opinion—their best beer. It may be more of a summery beer, but it’s available all year and many people like to extend their summer as long as possible.



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PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


He’s as famous for his temper as his cuisine, but really, John Brandt-Lee of Avalon is just passionate about food. His food. How long have you been a chef? I don’t

call myself a chef—I’m a fancy line cook. Why is that? There are very few people who are really classically trained chefs. It’s a dying art. There are a lot of people who are really focused on their genre, on their cuisine, on what they’re doing—and they’re very good at it—but that doesn’t mean they’re a chef. Why would you say that is? It’s a decline in work ethic. It’s a bunch of kids coming out of school who want to be Gordon Ramsay, but they don’t want to peel a potato or wash dishes. It’s all symptomatic of The Food Network: everybody wants fame

and fortune, but nobody wants to work their asses off to get there. What was your path? I didn’t go to school. I had a web design company, and I made a website for Avalon. I could see the impending crash of the dot-com bubble, and this guy was selling Avalon, so I thought, “How hard can it be? You make some food; you take their money. Easy.” So I bought a restaurant. Four months later I was bouncing checks, electric shut off… How much experience did you have?

Nothing. I made some turkey clubs at Casey’s in Drexel Hill, like 25 years ago. So what possessed you to take that leap?

Stupidity. My chef walked out in… 2007? We were in bad shape. Luckily I put an ad in the paper looking for a chef and Clark Gilbert walked through my door. He’d been pretty high-end in the city and told me he’d take the job for a few years and teach me everything there was to know about running a restaurant so no chef would ever have me by the balls again. You didn’t wash dishes though... I did everything. I did every job in my restaurant. When did you take over the kitchen? In 2010. I redesigned and went more casual, with a Mediterranean theme, away from the Continental French. I took that French

background and applied it to Italian food. How does that make your cuisine different? In America we have this need to cate-

gorize food by region or country; in Europe there’s no such thing. Northern Italy might have Spanish influence. In Southern Italy you’ll find African influence. So my food’s not Italian with some French influence—it’s just my food. If you had to categorized it? My PR company made me label it, so we’re rustic Italian, or authentic Italian. I call that “bullshit.” What’s good about your food? I try to find two or three ingredients, locally whenever possible, that work together on the plate. That was my biggest asset. When Clark came in and started working for… started working with me, he said, “You have something that a lot of guys don’t have: a palate and means for pairing items.” You corrected yourself and changed from saying, “working for me” to “working with me.” Is that expression specifically reserved for Clark, or does it apply to everyone who works in your restaurant? Everybody has

a role. Everybody is just as important, and my staff knows that. That’s why—when my managers wanna break my balls—they walk into the kitchen and call me “Chef.” I hate being called “Chef.”





Tell Me something


Kate Chadwick takes a moment to spotlight a local citizen for doing something swell

Who she is: Erica Griste What she does: Erica, an 18-year borough resident, volunteers with members of her church, Hopewell Methodist, at Safe Harbor, a shelter for the homeless on Matlack Street.

Why she’s on this page: Erica has been devoting her time at Safe Harbor since the beginning. “In one capacity or another, I’ve been volunteering at Safe Harbor since it all began back in 1992, while I was still teaching at Stetson Middle School,” Erica said. “Our student council would collect items at different times during the year that Safe Harbor was in need of, and we’d drop them off on behalf of the families of Stetson.” Erica eventually gave up teaching for a while to stay home with her children after she started a family of her own, but her involvement with Safe Harbor continued. “Once I became a mom, I would ask my children’s classes to make cards during holiday parties, and I’d deliver them to the shelter to be tucked on the residents’ meal trays. And before I returned to teaching, I would serve lunch there.” Erica has since resumed teaching, but her devotion to Safe Harbor continues. “When our church, Hopewell Methodist, began serving dinners there, our family began contributing whatever was needed for the meals.” What she likes about West Chester: Plenty! “At Arianna’s, I actually ask them to set aside a slice of their incredible chocolate cake with butter cream icing before I even order my lunch,” Erica said. She likes Roots Café – “for all three meals,” but has a soft spot for their breakfast burrito. “Landmark’s seafood bisque and their Lemon Drop Martini—though not necessarily paired together!—are a slice of heaven.” She loves Hair Innovations, and last but not least, Yori’s Bakery. “Their white cake with white icing—it is so good!” What we like about her: Her thoughtfulness. Yes, it’s one thing to volunteer at a homeless shelter for years on end, contributing time and food to those in need; we think it’s quite another to think about including handmade greeting cards on food trays. It’s a recognition of the humanity that links us all, no matter where we happen to be in life. ”Before I returned to the classroom, I used to serve lunch at Safe Harbor once a month,” Erica told us. “One time, as I was greeting residents as they came to the window to receive their lunches, a former student of mine signed in and looked up to receive his lunch. It was that moment that confirmed I was at the right place, so to speak, helping my neighbors and others, like my former student, during a challenging time in their lives.” Moral of the story: Charity begins at home. “These are our neighbors,” Erica said. “And as much as I appreciate reaching out and helping so many in need around the world, I believe we must remember how many of our own neighbors are in need of our sistance.” Safe Harbor is located at 20 North Matlack Street in West Chester. For more information on how you can donate or volunteer, please call 610-692-6550, or visit





story and photos

Becca Boyd

Preparing a classic German meal to help celebrate the classic German holiday


ost our fondest memories—holidays, parties, events—include food. That food goes beyond the Thanksgiving turkey and the Easter ham. Getting engaged? Pop the Champagne. You say it’s Memorial Day? Put on the burgers and dogs. Food is an everyday necessity, but it also serves to mark traditions and create memories. I’m an Italian-American, and to be honest—beyond sausage—typical Oktoberfest food was a big blank for me. What I do know is that it’s a German event that lasts the entire month and involves a LOT of beer. But I wanted to know about the foods; so began my foray into the vinegarsoaked world of German food, which I catalogued for your enjoyment. Feel free to pick and choose recipes that appeal to you, but know that I’m sharing this particular bunch with a meal plan in mind. If you plan to serve them all together, you’ll have a warm plate of classic German goods with complementary textures, flavors, colors and even nutrients. Enjoy.





Chocolate Cake Worth the Calories I prefer a make-ahead dessert, so we’re going to start with a German two-for-one, as it contains both chocolate and beer. The beer imparts a slight undercurrent of bitterness that, though it may not sound appetizing, pairs perfectly with the creamy milk chocolate ganache, creating one of the richest, deepest, darkest, chocolate cakes I’ve ever tasted. This cake just get’s better with time, so plan to make it the day before.

Ingredients • Serves 12-16 • 1 c. chocolate stout (such as Young’s) • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder • 2 c. all purpose flour • 2 c. sugar • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda • 3/4 tsp. salt • 2 large eggs • 3/4 c. sour cream • Milk Chocolate Ganache • 2 c. whipping cream • 16 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Steps 1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray two 8-inch, round cake pans with nonstick spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Spray paper as well. 2. Bring stout and butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly. 3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat to combine. Add flour mixture and beat on slow speed until combined. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom of bowl until batter is completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. 4. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, or about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely. Wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature until ready to frost. 5. For ganache, heat cream in medium saucepan. Remove from heat as soon as it reaches a simmer. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until spreadable, stirring occasionally (at least four hours). 6. To assemble, place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread a heaping 1/2 cup of ganache over top. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and around the sides. Refrigerate (cover with plastic once ganache has set). Let sit at room temperature an hour or two before serving.





Making Rye Bread

Like a Real German

Ingredients • Makes 2, 14 inch Loaves • Sponge: • 2 3/4 c. water, room temp. • 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast • 2 tbsp. honey • 3 c. all purpose flour • Dough: • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour • 3 1/2 c. medium or light rye flour • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil • 1 tbsp. salt • Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheet • Glaze: • 1 egg white • 1 tbsp. milk

Ingredients • Serves 8 • 2 lb. red skinned potatoes, cut into bite –sized chunks. • 8 slices bacon • 1 small onion, chopped • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar • 4 scallions, sliced • 1 1/2 tbsp. whole grain mustard • 1/4 tsp. sugar • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill (or 2 tsp. dried) • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt • 1/4 tsp. pepper


Nothing smells as good baking in your house as homemade bread, and this particular recipe does not require a bread machine. Kneading is a vital step for most yeast breads, so consult YouTube for a tutorial if you think you might need it.

1. For sponge: mix water, yeast, honey and flour in the mixing bowl of a standing mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until bubbles form over the surface (at least 2.5 hours at room temperature or up to 12 hours). 2. For the dough: stir the all-purpose flour, 3 1/4 c. rye flour, the oil and the salt into the sponge. Attach the dough hook to standing mixer and knead dough at low speed, adding remaining 1/4 c. rye flour once the dough comes together. After about five minutes the dough should be smooth and tacky. Transfer dough to a wellfloured work surface, knead into a smooth ball, and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours. 3. Sprinkle cornmeal on a large baking sheet. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Press or roll each half into a rectangle, about 12 by 9 inches. Starting at the long side, roll up dough into a log. Pinch seams together and place log onto the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down. Cover with plastic wrap that you’ve sprayed with cooking spray, and let rise at warm temperature for about an hour.

4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk egg white and milk and brush over the loaves. Make about six slashes with a very sharp knife, diagonally across the top. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then lower temp. to 400 and bake for another 15 minutes or until the loaves are hardened and golden. Cool completely on wire rack.

The Bacon-Lover’s Friend

Next up, a potato salad that is best served warm and is delicious enough to make you forget that mayo-drenched mash you’re used to. The dish comes together quickly and, let’s be honest here, anything that contains bacon is better than that which does not.

Steps 1. Heat a medium sauce pan filled with water over high heat. Add potatoes and boil about 10 minutes. Drain. 2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Place on paper towel to drain. Chop when cooled. Remove all but 1/4 c. of bacon grease from pan. 3. Add onion to skillet and sauté until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add vinegar, scallions, and mustard – stir to combine. Add potatoes and toss gently to combine. Add dill, sugar, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.





Sweet and Sour Brisket That Makes Your House Smell Amazing

Now, ordinarily the meat would be one of the last dishes you’d prepare, but that’s not the case with brisket. Brisket comes from the forearm area of a cow, and as an oft-used muscle, it’s incredibly tough. Tough meat usually has a fantastic flavor that, if cooked correctly, beats out even the most tender cuts. Whenever you cook a tough meat, think “low and slow.” Low, as in 200 degrees, and slow, as in eight hours. This dish yields tender, lean meat with a rich and tangy sauce, perfect for soaking up with your homemade rye bread, and the prep work is super easy.

Ingredients • Serves 8 • 6 lb. brisket, most of the fat trimmed. • Salt and vegetable oil • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped • 2 celery stalks, chopped • 3 onions, chopped • 5 garlic cloves, smashed • 3 c. tomato puree • 1/4 c. brown sugar • 2 c. chicken broth • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

Steps 1. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Rub brisket with oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Add meat to skillet and brown on both sides. Place in 9x13 baking dish. 2. Add vegetables to rendered fat from meat in skillet. Saute about 10 minutes and add to meat in pan. Add tomatoes, sugar, chicken stock and apple cider to skillet and occasionally whisk while scraping the bottom of the pan – simmering for about eight minutes. Add liquids to pan with meat and vegetables. 3. Tent with foil and place in oven. Cook for 8-10 hours or until very tender. Remove meat to cutting board and thinly slice against the grain into long strips. 4. Strain vegetables from sauce and place sauce in a large saucepan. Simmer until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Add 3/4 tsp. kosher salt (or more to taste). Return sliced meat to pan and pour sauce over top. Keep warm until serving.

A Sauerkraut Wannabe,That Trumps the Real Deal Ingredients • Serves 8 • 1/4 c. unsalted butter • 2 medium white onions, thinly sliced • 2/3 c. white wine vinegar • 2 tbsp. sugar • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce

Lastly, the kraut. Turns out that actual sauerkraut is fermented, and though you can do it yourself, the process seemed daunting, so why not just make a fresh cabbage dish that tastes exactly like its bagged cousin? It’s the perfect sweet and tangy accompaniment to your meaty brisket. • 1 tsp. ground black pepper • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves • 2 lb. (about 1 head) green cabbage, trimmed and cut into thin strips

• 2 tsp. salt

• 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, cut into thin slices

• 1 bay leaf

• 1/2 c. apple juice

Steps 1. Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add onions; sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Mix in next 7 ingredients. Add cabbage and apple; cook until cabbage begins to wilt, stirring often, about 5 minutes. 2. Cover; simmer on low heat until cabbage is cooked down and soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Uncover; add apple juice and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve.



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The Real (estate)


Entrepreneur and Realtor Brad Liermann keeps tabs on development here in the borough

When Jack Loew and Eli Kahn bought the former county buildings, on the corner of Church and Gay, grand plans were laid out to borough council and its residents: they were going to build a new, 90,000 square-foot space featuring retail and a nine-story residential condo tower. Jack Loew led the efforts to develop the condo tower into high-end living spaces rivaling that of center city Philadelphia. However, the reality of the costs associated with digging out an underground parking garage (to justify the price tag of the condos) proved the project unfeasible. Combined with the death of Mr. Loew in January, the plans were scrapped in favor of a more subtle development plan. Eli Kahn and his development company now intend to turn the property into 40,000 square feet of retail, including restaurant space on the first floor and office space on the floors above. An urban oasis on the corner of Gay and Church is planned to include water fountains and park benches, akin to the outdoor space featured at 10 N High St, another Kahn Development Company project. The building will be entirely new construction and require a complete demolition, one they hope to begin soon. There are two quite old facades on Gay Street that would come down, which has triggered some preservationists in town to oppose any plans that include the demolition. However, the proposed project has been presented to the Historical and Architectural Review Board and, according to Kahn, has received a favorable review. Next up is Borough Council. When asked about these facades, Kahn made his opinion on the topic quite clear: “At some point, we decided to pave our streets and replace gas lamps in favor of electric. A true historian would understand that a beautiful part of history is the change that takes place within it. I’m proud of and stand by each project I’ve done in the borough.” Hopefully plans will get underway soon; the boarded-up windows currently adorning the property are an eye sore in the heart of the borough. The three other corners of the intersection feature two busy and popular retail stores and the always-full Penn’s Table. The intersection of Gay and High is about to feature full occupancy, with a pizza shop taking over the Sprazzo space, and with borough council’s approval, the intersection of Gay and Church could soon become an equally vibrant place. Mosteller’s once sat on this site, and in the 1960s it was the gem of West Chester shopping. The opportunity is ripe to once again add the large-space, new-construction retail that has been sorely missing downtown and is partly responsible for national retailers shunning the borough. With this big change just around the corner, maybe West Chester historians will get to witness another beautiful part of history. –





Bartender of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Riley Lennon brings a bit of youthful energy to Ryan's Pub. What do you know about beer? Oh geez. Umm, to be honest with you, not a whole heck of a lot. I know what I like, what I don’t like, and that it gets you drunk. Still, I make sure to know a lot about what we have on tap. What DO you currently have on tap?

Yuengling, Coors Light, Lagunitas IPA, Rebel IPA, Stella, Angry Orchard, Bass, Harp, Guinness and Sierra Nevada. Oh, and we also have Brooklyn Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale. Impressive. But, if you’re not really a big beer drinker, what do you drink? I prefer to

drink vodka, or I like red wines. How girly. Yeah I know. What’s the best vodka? My favorite?

No, the best. I guess Grey Goose or Belvedere. People also like Tito’s or Ketel One. And what do you drink? Absolut Citron. That was a very definite answer. No variety? I generally drink Citron and club with

a lot of lemons. Maybe a grape vodka and Red Bull on Friday or Saturday night. How’d you end up at Ryan’s? I got a job my freshman year of college. I was eating here, and I talked to the waitress, and she told me to come in and talk to the manager, Leslie. I got a job waitressing. When was that? Well, I started bartending two years ago, but I started here in… January of 2011? Oh, you’re young. I’ll be 23 in November. Most of our Bartender of the Month candidates are older, ipso facto, more experienced. What do you bring to the job? What

I bring to the bar is that I was born in WC, and I have a lot of WC contacts who come in to see me. Plus, in a college town, you need to get college kids to your bar, and a young bartender is a good way to do it. What’s the best part of the job? The people. The people I work with; the people that come in. It’s a lot of fun. Every bartender I’ve ever interviewed has the same answer for their favorite part

of the job. So, I’m gonna press you: what’s your second favorite part? Well, I just grad-

uated in May, so the second best thing was the money. I mean, for a college kid, I was making a good bit of money. Other than that, I like to experiment with making different kinds of shots. What’s your best? I call it Ecto-cooler. Clever. I miss Hi-C. What’s in it? I don’t want to give away my secrets, but if you really want to know, there’s some blueberry vodka, apple pucker and other mixers. What’s the best thing about Ryan’s? I like the pub atmosphere of it. We have a lot of great regulars, and we’ve got some good—I guess I’ll call them “townies”— that I like seeing in here. The food at Ryan’s is great, too. If you could order something right now, what would you get? I’d get a bistro steak.

It’s pepper-crusted, sliced top sirloin served with garlic-buttered mushrooms in a Cabernet sauce with frizzled onions. But, it's Wednesday shouldn't you say...

Oh, right! Wednesday wing night! You get five wings for $2, plus $3 Blue Moons and $2.50 Yuenglings! That's hard to argue with. I guess I'll see you tonight. Sounds like a plan.






Makeover photos


Dan Mathers

art & story Julie Ryan

This month we're switching things up and makingover dishware at The Painted Plate I traveled all over the Western United States this summer, from seeing the Rockies, to exploring Fisherman’s Wharf in San Fran, but the place that struck me most was Santa Fe. Being an artist, I was like a kid in a candy store. There are galleries and museums everywhere. In The Plaza, located downtown, locals lineup every morning to sell their handmade goods, including jewelry, clothing and pottery. Sadly, I was traveling on a buget, and I didn't have the funds to purchase many of the pieces I wanted. As the summer came to an end and I made my way home, the artwork in Santa Fe really stuck with me. I thought there would be no better place than The Painted Plate to recreate what I'd seen on my travels, all for the right price. The Painted Plate offers a variety of unfinished pottery for you to paint, and the staff is very helpful getting you started and explaining each step. Once I chose my plate, I drew out the design. (Bringing in reference pictures is always a huge help.) I took the wild patterns and bold colors of the popular Mexican pottery as my muse and made it my own. You can take as long as you like, so there is no pressure, and once finished, you leave your piece to be glazed and fired. After a week you have your own piece of professional-quality, handmade pottery that's dishwasher-safe and ready to be eaten from. Now all you need to do is find your muse.




Owner of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


For Robert Layman and Artistic Eyewear, the focus is on family, quality and great styles. How long have you been in this business? Ten years, but this is our family busi-

ness. My mother started our first store almost 30 years ago in Israel. She immigrated to Israel from New Jersey in 1982. She was an adult at this point? She was maybe 37 or 38. Without knowing anybody, without knowing the language, she just went for it and took my two younger sisters. I was 18, so I stayed here. How’d she get into this line of work? She found a job over there working for another American, a doctor who owned an optical store. When he eventually moved back to the US, she bought the store from him. We

still have that store. My sister is an optometrist in Israel, and she runs it. My other sister ended up moving to Germany. Did you ever live overseas? I spent fourteen years traveling throughout Europe, working in the restaurant business, bartending, going from place to place. Did you remain anywhere for an extended period of time? London for a few years,

Luxembourg for a few years, Israel for a few years. Then I came back to the states and lived in Connecticut for a while. Why Connecticut? My father was living there. I got into doing real estate, some mortgages and things like that, but as I saw the market crashing, I got out. How’d you end up down here? My mom started a store in Doylestown 12 years ago, so I came back down here and got into the family business two years after she first opened. How important is family to your business? For us, it’s all about family. Everybody

that works for me is a member of my family. My fiancée works for me, although we just had a baby, so she’s not working at the moment. Congratulations. Thank you. Yes, even an old man like me can still have a baby.

Any other family members involved?

Two of my cousins also work full-time. Keeping it all in the family means we can offer a higher level of customer service, and it allows return customers to really begin to feel like they’re part of the family. Beyond that family feel, what’s the biggest advantage to coming in here versus shopping online or at a big-name store?

We’re going to make sure you’re happy. It doesn’t matter what we have to do, even if you have to come back again. We’re going to fix those frames, we’re going to warranty those frames; we’re going to offer you a wider variety of higher quality choices than anyone else. We use the best. We don’t offer different levels—we only use the best. Couldn’t you also say there’s an advantage in the fact that you offer such unique styles? Many of our frames are hand-

made in Europe, and we travel to Europe and meet directly with the designers. We go out of our way to shop for things that aren’t going to be found elsewhere, and we only carry one of each, so nobody in town is going to have the same frames as you. Also, we know you’re making an investment, so we make sure to carry frames that are classic and will last you forever.





Going to the

Dogs Debbie DeSantis, CPDT-KA, is a certified dog trainer and behavior specialist as well as the owner of Going to the Dogs Obedience. She’s trained nationally-ranked obedience, rally, agility and therapy dogs. When you get a new puppy or dog, there are so many things to do, but an often overlooked but very important aspect is socialization. Socialization is the process of appropriately introducing a canine to new situations and places, sights, surfaces, sounds, people and animals. It’s also important to have friendly people meet your pup where you live, not just outside your home. Doing so properly will help a puppy or dog be better behaved and not develop fearful behavior in everyday situations. Socialization builds confidence. Unsocialized or improperly socialized dogs are much more likely to have behavior problems. Because of past experiences, breed type, or genes, some dogs are more easily socialized than others. Walk the pup on many new surfaces, such as carpet, tile, linoleum, wood and concrete. Take the pup where there are normal, everyday noises, such as those made by traffic, crowds of people at shopping centers, the vacuum, kitchen appliances, the television, radio and music. Get him used to common objects and sights, such as people wearing hats or sunglasses, and umbrellas opening and closing. You also want to socialize the pup to other friendly puppies and dogs. You can even make a “play-date” with friends who have friendly puppies or dogs who know how to properly play. Don’t risk bad experiences which can stay with a dog for his entire life. Your pup may be friendly, but not all dogs are. A well-run puppy or dog class or dog daycare center can help, but it doesn’t take the place of the ongoing, daily socialization your pup needs. Some adult dogs who haven’t been exposed to these things as puppies may have great difficulty later in life adapting to them. However, if you rescue an adult dog, still socialize him at a level he can handle. If the dog is too frightened or shows behavioral problems with such situations, please get professional help from a positive-reinforcement dog trainer/ behaviorist specializing in behavior problems. Most rescued dogs won’t have any issues and can make great companions, and even if they do, they can be easily re-acclimated to a loving, normal life. Dogs who aren’t appropriately socialized can have problems throughout their lives in their adjustment to the real world. It’s best to start socializing the puppy from the time you get him, after he has settled in with you for at least a few days. The time and effort you put in will pay off for the pup’s life. Good luck with your new canine family member.



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Brewery of the month


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Fish & Chips

Brunch & Bloody Mary Bar

Boxcar Brewing Company’s New Brewpub Aims to Gather the Community Around Beer by Jesse Piersol


orget everything you know about Boxcar beer.

I’m sitting here in the dark with Boxcar Brewing Company owners Kymberly and Jamie Robinson, in the building on Market Street that previously housed The Note. The only bright spots in the room, in fact, are Jamie’s red Boxcar Brewing t-shirt and Kymberly’s tropical print sundress, both of which stand in sharp contrast to the murky-chic charm of The Note’s black interior. As soon as October, this space will welcome customers as Boxcar Brewpub, with an open floor plan and vibrant color scheme not unlike Kymberly’s advertising agency, Stratus Interactive, located right next door. Color, however, isn’t all the Robinsons intend to infuse in their new digs. They want to create a real connection. “Our brewpub is going to be very community focused,” Kymberly tells

me. “Like our motto says, we’re ‘family owned, operated, and consumed,’ but the community is our extended family. People want a place to come, sit down and buy one of our beers at the bar. This will be the gathering place.” Kymberly and Jamie’s vision is part of a larger trend that sees brewpubs springing up in small towns all over the country. Mat Falco, publisher of Philly Beer Scene magazine, notes, “People can walk to their neighborhood brewpub and have a few pints of whatever’s on tap that day, which is fresh, local beer. I feel like that’s the future of beer. We’ve seen the end of big breweries.”





Though not a big brewery, Boxcar is rapidly expanding, and their growth has created the need for improved consistency and larger scale distribution. “When we were getting started, we had more of a homebrew approach,” says Jamie. “Doing it on a commercial scale, some of those things didn’t translate well.” When Boxcar officially started out in 2010, they produced 300 gallons every two weeks. Today, they are in the process of scaling up to 2400 gallons every two weeks, and they hope to have that transition completed in the next month and a half.

“ 2 400 GALLONS every two weeks ”

meet our


It’s an exciting time for Boxcar, but I really wanted to sit down with three of my beer geek friends—Matty B, Topher and Ryan—and check out the beer in its indigenous habitat: West Chester. So in lieu of a brewpub visit, or a Boxcarthemed bar crawl, the folks at Boxcar set us up with three of their flagship beers, paired with dishes at three restaurants in town, in true BYOB (“Bring Your Own Boxcar”) style.

Ryan Ryan claims the title of Homebrew Master after several succesful attempts at brewing batches of beer on his stovetop. “Fresh and hoppy” always puts a smile on his face, but so does an aged bourbon stout. He appreciates the time, thought, and quality ingredients that go into small-batch beermaking.


bring your own boxcar”

Favorite Beer Moment:

After the first stage of the Green Mountain Stage Race, a bicycle race in Green Mountain, VT. “Sitting in the creek with the team, outside the cabin, cracking open a fresh can of Heady Topper.”





Stop 1: Something for Everyone Boxcar’s Passenger Ale is designed to

appeal to the masses, and like the Passenger Ale, Kymberly and Jamie plan to have something to appeal to everyone at the new brewpub. In the front will be the takeout area and the tavern, housing a small but evolving menu that features locally sourced ingredients. In the back will be a beer garden with tables,

and arcade games for the kids. Upstairs will be a wine bar, showcasing Pennsylvania wines. There’s also talk of a coffee bar that will promote West Chester’s coffee roasters, and all-natural sodas, offering daytime customers a place to hang out or network.

meet our



Passenger English Style Mild Session Ale My beer nerd crew puts the Passenger Ale to the test at La Bamba on Gay Street, where Boxcar has paired it with the Quesadilla del Mar, a flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, shrimp, beans and mushrooms. Ryan: “It’s light, good for all-day drinking, refreshing. I like the dryness. Our food isn’t very spicy, but the beer brings out the spice.” Matty B: “It’s perfect for a hot day. Good pairing with the salsa. Mexican beer styles are mostly light. Mexican food, you can eat a lot of it, and the Passenger is a beer you can drink a lot of.”

Topher first realized how lucky he was to live in Pennsylvania in 2000 when he was travelling as a road manager for a rock band. “I realized Pennsylvania had the most concentration of good beers around. Other states had good beers, but no distribution.” He loves a crisp pilsner in the summer and fall, and a Russian imperial stout when the temperature drops.

Favorite Beer Moment:

“Slamming an ice-cold Old E 40 in one take, to win second place in the beer-drinking race at Singlespeed USA in Vermont. The guy who got first place didn’t make it to the after party to claim his prize because they made him drink a second one.”

Topher: “I love that it has enough bite. I’m a fan of the low alcohol/big flavor movement of the past few years. As an English-style pilsner, it has a more mild flavor, but still with that pilsner bite.”





Stop 2: A Little Spice The Mango Ginger Pale Ale is

Boxcar’s biggest seller. In its original iteration, it was 7.2 percent alcohol by volume, but Boxcar dropped it to 5.8 percent during the recipe redesign. Ryan’s take is that “it’s very subtle, and really dry. It’s an improvement from the first version. It’s cleaner now.” Brewmaster Tom attributes that quality to the beer’s longer fermentation process, another change from the original. Just like the revamped beer, Boxcar Brewpub will keep some aspects of the original Note venue, such as the stage. “We’ll probably limit it to acoustic shows and some simple stuff, though,” notes Kymberly. On part of the stage they are going to have a pilot system

where customers can try out some of the new recipes Boxcar is brewing. My crew got a taste of that experience back at the brewery, where Tom drew us a pitcher of the Mango Ginger Pale Ale straight out of the tank, unfiltered and funky. It was my favorite beer event of the evening.

meet our


Boxcar also plans to have a quarterly contest at the brewpub where they pick a style of beer and invite homebrewers to submit their recipes. “We’ll pick the winning recipe and let the homebrewer make it right here,” says Kymberly. “And then we’ll have it on tap.”

Matty B Matty B’s been drinking craft beer for as long as he can remember. “If I can find a good double IPA in a can, that’s a bright spot in my week.” He’s a fan of sweet, earthy hops, but anything fresh and local makes the cut. “Drinking a great beer makes me feel like I’m winning.”

Mango Ginger Pale Ale At Nooddi Thai Chef on Market Street, my crew tries the Mango Ginger Pale Ale paired with two dishes: Moon Dumplings (deep-fried dumplings stuffed with minced pork, mushrooms and water chestnuts, served with a sweet soy sauce), and Wild Ginger with Chicken (a stir fry of sliced ginger, sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and scallions). Ryan: “I wouldn’t have thought to pair beer with Thai food, but all the ginger highlights the mango and the ginger notes in the beer.”

Favorite Beer Moment:

Standing atop “Parachute Hill” at the Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships in Philly last year. “The snow was falling in my cup and the beer was frothy.”

Topher: “The ginger isn’t too much. The mango is more forward. I taste the ginger on the tongue. Tastes on the less-ripe, fresher side of mango.” Matty B: “The bitterness of the beer balances out the oiliness of the fried dumplings.”



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ReBeer/a repurposed beer bottle

that still hold a full beer! Perfect for Fest Beers.




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Stop 3: A Mirror of the Community I’ve owned a business here in town

for 12 years,” notes Kymberly. “Jamie has owned Boxcar for five. We’re very rooted in this community. When we envisioned a community brewpub, we saw lots of kid-focused stuff—movies and arcade games while mom and dad can get something to eat and hang out.” Boxcar intends to have a simple menu and invite the community to tell them what should be on it. Jamie envisions a basic menu to start. “Sandwich-

es, flatbreads, appetizers, shared plates. A spinach and artichoke dip. Sliders. We’ll evolve from there.” Kymberly adds, “One of the most important things to us is locally sourced, organic and unprocessed foods. Our daughter is allergic to red dye #40, so she can’t eat a lot of things. We promised her that we would have a place where we don’t have to say ‘no.’ We want her to come in and be able to pick whatever she wants off the menu.”

“we’re very


in this community

1492 American Pale Ale My crew’s last official stop is the Olive Branch on Gay Street, where we have a wild mushroom flatbread topped with sautéed cremini, portabella, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, caramelized Vidalia onion and melted goat cheese. Our second course is a marinated flank steak with berries and mushrooms in a port wine reduction, topped with melted bleu cheese. Both dishes are paired with the 1492 American Pale Ale. Ryan: “The truffle oil on the flatbread really complements the beer. The sweetness in the onions brings out those Columbus hops, which you can really smell. A little deeper hoppy flavor. It’s like the Passenger Ale, but with a little bump on top.” Matty B: “The dryness of the flatbread and the smokiness of the mushrooms go well with the piney flavor of the beer.” 



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s we plow through a 10-inch-high chocolate layer cake and giant slab of banana cheesecake, both deposited exuberantly on our table by Olive Branch’s owner Marie Cantatore, we find ourselves reminiscing about our time with Boxcar.

“BOXCAR is a different

beer now”

Ryan: “This really opened my mind. Boxcar is a different beer now. Very drinkable.” Matty B: “On the way down here, we were saying we weren’t going to like these beers. But I was wrong.” Topher: “These are full-season beers, and they set the foundation for all Boxcar’s future endeavors. With these flagship beers, people will trust them when they venture outside their regular offerings.” Matty B: “They have their flagships down, and they’re all very good. Once they have that confidence, people can always retreat to the standard ones.” Around 11:30pm we head over to the Social Lounge to reflect on the evening. The band is covering Radiohead and Weezer, and everyone here has an identifiable personal brand. Yet, in the midst of individual style, there is a sameness that comes from sharing the space. It’s a fitting metaphor for Boxcar, whose ap-

proachable interpretation of small-town craft beer sets out to form a liquid bond that gathers the community together. “We’re focused on doing it right,” says Kymberly Robinson. “And doing it right in our own backyard.”

are “These full-season BEERS ” OCTOBER 2014 THEWCPRESS.COM




Children in


Jennifer Ozgur is a mother, wife and teacher who still finds time to get out and about with her family

November may be a month away, but I am already feeling the spirit of thankfulness—on Saturday, September 13, I was fortunate to be a part of the West Chester Story Slam, a first-ever Center Stage edition. A story slam is similar to a poetry jam: think 1960s coffee houses with jazzy, free verse morphed into a stand-up comedy act, meets dramatic monologue… in a bar. Every month has a different theme, announced in advance, and participants have five to seven minutes to present an extemporaneous anecdote that addresses the topic without the use of any notes or props. Points are awarded and the victor emerges with bragging rights and a nifty mug. The Center Stage edition, however, was slightly different. The theme of the evening was “Faith,” and hopefuls had to submit their stories in advance; based upon diversity and overall coherence, ten were selected to present. Saint Agnes hosted the event, and I’d estimate there were about 100 people in attendance. The evening had two sets of five speakers with a short intermission. I was relieved to find out that I was slated to go first in the second set. That way, I’d have the opportunity to see half of the speakers’ delivery, since I had no idea what to expect, yet I’d also be free to enjoy the other stories, having gotten mine out of the way. As I got more and more nervous of my impending moment, the irony of the evening struck me: I was set to speak about the faith I’ve had over the past several years as a recent convert and wife of a foreign-born Muslim, yet it seemed I had very little faith that my account would be of any interest. I heard the moving tale of a trip to Jerusalem, an interfaith dying wish, defying atheist parents, a couple surviving alcoholism, an actor’s low point, a second-hand 9-11 aftermath, singing in tongues, becoming a minister, the love of a sister. I was not only amazed at the content of the stories but at how adeptly their tales were woven and the varied styles in which their messages were conveyed. Some were akin to a bouncy comic routine. Others were deep and intense. All had an authenticity beyond any theatrical stage performance. At the end of the evening, people graciously came up to introduce themselves to me. Yes, the proceeds went to charity— Act In Faith, an interfaith community outreach program to help those in need—but that didn’t stop my ego from worrying if my turn at the mic was worthy, so I was glad to know that my contribution was well-received by at least a few people. Days later, I was still on an I-can’t-believe-I-did-that high. It’s not every day you get to take a slice of your life and share it with a room full of intimate strangers, so I am very grateful that West Chester has events like Story Slam, and I am humbled that I was able to be a part of this particular evening. Now if I can just get my hands on one of those mugs…

WE PUT YOU ON THE MAP WEST CHESTER’S LANDLORD Limoncello Ristorante • The WC Press • Subway Yori’s Bakery • The Note • Kooma Viet • The Social Lounge Culinary Deliveries • Ram’s Head Bar & Grill • Saladworks Pietro’s Prime Pisano & Sons Shoe Repair • I Pasta Senator Dinniman • Salon Chemistry • Mercado’s • Nonna’s Doc Magrogan’s • Optimal Massage • Cozy Hookah Café William Shehwen Law Offices • Big Mike’s Barber Shop Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union • High Roller Tattoo Giuseppe Cabinets • Mainline Men’s • X-treme Ink Chester County Intermediate Unit • D’Ascenzo Gelato The Pita Pit • The Olive Branch • Blaze Salon • Balance Hair Spa Vitesse Sports • Moonflower • Zazen Nail Spa The Lunch Box• Jazmine Thai• Elwyn School



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r e t es


C t s e


H e at

ing up Gay Stree t

Story by Terry Heyman Photos by Andrew Hutchins


N SUNDAY OCTOBER 12, avid chili chefs from West Chester and the surrounding area will fire up their stoves, hover over giant stockpots so large sometimes an oar is needed to stir and contend for the title of this year’s best chili. With more than fifty teams competing, approximately 1,500 gallons of chili will be cooked on Gay Street and eaten by an expected 6,500 people during the course of the afternoon. In the process, the 12th Annual Chili Cook-

off, sponsored by the Rotary Club of West Chester, will raise money for local charities. Additional food and crafts will be available from vendors, while live music by The Manny Trio will entertain the crowd. For the little ones, a kid’s zone with inflatables, face painting, and games will be set up in the Wells Fargo lot on East Gay Street between Teca and Side Bar. The kid’s zone opens at 10:30am and chili tasting opens to the public at noon. 




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Chili Cook-off since the event first started. They’ve won four or five times in the Restaurant division—Pat Ryan has lost count. Each year they enter their Galway Chili, which has become so popular as a result of the Cook-off it’s earned a permanent spot on their menu. When asked what’s the secret to their great tasting chili, Pat was coy. “Yeah, there’s secret ingredient. Let’s just leave it at that.“ In keeping with the pub’s Irish heritage, Ryan's decorates their booth in shamrocks and team members dress in green. “It’s a great family-oriented event.

For the cook-off, teams can enter into one of four divisions: Business, Restaurant, Nonprofit, and Hometown Cook, in which they compete for first, second, and third places. A panel of judges decides the winners in a blind taste test, awarding $250 to the first-place winner in each category. The grand prize is the $1,000 People’s Choice Award, given to the team that collects the most votes from the public in the form of wooden nickels. There’s also a $250 award for Best Decorated Booth. In last year’s event, the Parrot Troopers took third place in both the People’s Choice Award and Hometown Cook division with their Cowboy in the Jungle Chili. They also won Best Decorated Booth. Team members cooked their chili dressed in grass skirts and coconut bras. Evolution Payroll Services is a crowd favorite, having won the People’s Choice award for the last two years with its Bad Boy Nonchalante Chili. “The first year we just thought we’d try it and we won. The second year we were like, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we won again’ and we did. Now I’m confident. I’d like to see us win again,” says Dennis Wood from Evolution Payroll services. “Most of the prize money we’ve gotten has gone to covering the cost of the chili. It costs a lot of money to make 30 gallons of chili,” Wood added. Ryan’s Pub of West Chester has been participating in the

The atmosphere is a lot of fun,” he said. His team is looking forward to another great year and possibly another win. “Good weather,” he said. “That’s all we need. Good weather.” “Sometimes people try to make their chili appealing to everyone and the result is very mild. Don’t be afraid to bring the heat!” says Katie Martin, President-Elect of the Rotary Club of

“Don’t be afraid to bring the heat !” SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2014 THEWCPRESS.COM


Your local insurance agent



numerous locations around West Chester prior to October 12th and will be available for purchase onsite the day of the event. It’s a Herculean task to put on the event, requiring the support of more than 100 volunteers to make it happen. Teams start cooking at 7am on Gay street. Washing stations must be set up and volunteers organized to ensure all ingredients are properly handled. “It’s not an easy thing to shut down the main thoroughfare through West Chester and several side streets, but the efforts are well worth it,” says Martin. But it’s not just about the chili. The West Chester Chili Cook-off is the Rotary Club of West Chester’s biggest fundraising event of the year. This year the goal is to raise $55,000. The Club, under the umbrella of the International Rotary Club

“This year the goal is to raise ”


West Chester. Remembering to measure the ingredients is also key. “When making a pot of chili at home, winging it may be fine, but it’s totally different when you’re making 20 gallons.” The variety of chili is constrained only by a team’s imagination. Katie has seen wild boar chili, alligator chili and some teams use chocolate in their recipes [Editor's Brag: The WC Press placed third last year with a choco-chili chili]. Having a theme and being creative in decorating your booth can be just as important at the chili itself. “You want to draw the crowd to your booth, so make it fun,” Katie added. Last year, The Goodwill Fire Company had an old-fashioned fire bell in theirs. Each time someone gave them a wooden nickel, he or she got to ring the bell To partake in the festivities, the Rotary Club is selling $10 wristbands that come with three voting nickels and entitle the wearer to unlimited chili tasting. Wristbands are being sold at

whose motto is Service above Self, works to provide humanitarian service to the local community. Various local organizations apply for grants and the Club, through efforts like the Chili Cook-off, is able to distribute funds to such worthy groups as the West Chester Senior Center, The Crime Victim Center of Chester County, West Chester Food Cupboard, The West Chester Public Library, and Legal Aid of Chester County, just to name a few. This year the club has chosen an educational theme, focusing on children when making their charitable distributions. Part of the money raised will go to Coats for Kids, and $2,000 worth of school supplies will be donated to those students who can’t afford them. Just remember: The Chili Cook-off is held rain or shine. “We can’t postpone the event due to poor weather because people will have already bought their ingredients,” said Katie. She also wants to remind people that no pets are allowed at the event. With food and hot cooking equipment, having animals on the street becomes a safety issue.

For more information on the event and to volunteer, visit




Hit List

DJ Romeo curates a list featuring the top tracks you'll hear played on the radio this October

The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations of the next few months and you will soon know every word to and eventually get sick of. Good news you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your lame friends.

Calvin Harris ft. John Newman – “Blame” Pitbull – “Fireball” TV on the Radio – “Happy Idiot” Milky Chance – “Flashed Junk Mind” Odesza ft. Zyra – “Say My Name” Betty Who – “Runaways” John Bellion ft. Audra Mae – “Luxury” Eminem ft. Sia – “Guts Over Fear” Sam Smith – “I’m Not the Only One” Nico & Vinz – “In Your Arms” Alesso ft. Tove Lo – “Heroes” T.I. ft. Iggy Azalea – “No Mediocre” Bae Miller – “Young Blood” Bastille – “Flaws” Cobra Starship ft. Icona Pop – “Never Been in Love” Maroon 5 – “Sex and Candy” Cathedrals – “Harlem” Sir Sly ft. Lizzy Plapinger – “Inferno” Afrojack vs. 30 Seconds to Mars – “Do or Die (Remix)” Lil Jon ft. Tyga – “Bend Ova” Walk the Moon – S"hut Up & Dance” Hilary Duff – “All About You” Big Data ft. Joywave – “Dangerous” Ella Henderson – “Ghost” Jason Aldean – “Burnin’ It Down” Jennifer Lopez ft. Iggy Azalea & Pitbull – “Booty” Wiz Khalifa ft. Snoop & Ty Dolla $ign – “You & Your Friends” Darius Rucker – “Homegrown Honey” Black Keys – “Gotta Get Away” Bleachers – “Rollercoaster” The Preatures – “Somebody’s Talkin'” Meghan Trainor – “Title” Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” Fall Out Boy – “Centuries”





BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: It's everyone’s favorite bar game, in print (and you won’t have to pay 50 cents). You can actually WIN money. Compare the two photos at right. They may look the same, but there are five subtle differences between the two. Find those five differences and identify the items that have been changed. Then send an email to listing those items. You’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to a local business. Winners will be chosen at random, and their name will be posted to Facebook along with the solution at the end of the month. So make sure to like us and follow along if you want to play. Enjoy!

Identify the five differences between these two photos of Oktoberfest 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.



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