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Nov 27, 2007 01:56 PM

William Penn Inn

William Penn Inn on Route 202/North Wales area did a great job at a fundraiser I attended last week. I would have to say that it was the best "banquet" or "catering" food I have ever had. Everyone was served fast, food was hot, tasty, and service was excellent. Highly recommended for large group events.

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  1. My experience as well, though it's been a few years.

    1. I actually really dislike WPI. I feel like the food is always mediocre...bland steak, uncreative vegetables, etc....I like it more than Blue Bell Inn but less than Joseph Ambler Inn

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mag454

        WPI always has very good food coupled with excellent service. I typically go once or twice a year and have yet to be disappointed.

      2. I've always thought of the WPI as a "blue haired ladies place" where I would expect to find my grandparents. Mind you, I'm a couple of days away from being eligible for Medicare as I'm writing this!!! I just find their food, and their service, to be something that I experienced about 20-30 years ago. The ONLY reason I EVER go there is to satisfy my wife's desire to , I think, eat at a place that reminds her of the restaurants her parents took her to as a child!

        4 Replies
        1. re: bucksguy14


          Interesting take on WPI. That is certainly my impression of the Blue Bell Inn and Joseph Ambler Inn. Typically I see people of all ages at WPI.

            1. re: Mag454

              Somehow it seems that any restaurant in Montgomery County that includes the word "Inn" or "Inne" in it's name fits a particular model for ambiance and fare.

              Expect a 100+ year old manor house broken into one large and several smaller rooms (and a big bar, maybe a piano bar, but maybe a DJ.) The bar will be a popular happy-hour spot for chatty regulars (and middle aged women will dance with each other to Bill Joel tunes after a few.)

              Standards will be Prime Rib, Salmon of some sort, Veal Oscar, 1/2 a roasted chicken, Filet Mignon with Bearnaise etc... Expect a house or Caesar salad, warm rolls and butter and steamed mixed veggies to come with the entree'.

              Since this was where many of us had Easter / Confirmation / whatever meals with our families, they ae nostalgic if not culinary adventures.

              1. re: phillyjazz

                BINGO! This is exactly the way it is. Some of the Inns in Bucks County are better but this is a danger there as well. What you left out is that you will then, at the end of putting your mouth to sleep with bland food, have to take a large sum of money from your wallet and say to yourself "why did I spend all that money on this meal?" but by then it's too late. Alas, the very reason for my rants about suburban vs. city food!

          1. The WPI is one of the few places I remember having mom and dad thump me up the front stairs riding backwards in my stroller in the early 50's. This was long before the current ramp was installed. I recall going there in the 70's with my parents for the $6.95 (!) Thursday night buffet with unlimited raw oysters, jumbo shrimp and prime rib. It has been my Thanksgiving HQ for the past 20 years, having said good-bye to mom, then to dad. Now, it is only my 81-year-old aunt and her more energetic 92-year-old best friend who join me.
            I must say that the nostalgia factor is paramount but the Exec chef must also be considered. I recall an unwavering standard of high quality for eons until Chef Doman took over. Things slipped a bit - like soggy vegetables, unheated rolls and pheasant being taken off the menu. Chef Bell has revived the former attention to detail that I found lacking. But I still miss the pheasant.

            No question that I prefer it to the Blue Bell Inn where my last experience of over-broiled lobster tails and pastry that tasted more like refrigerator than a Napoleon turned me away for good. Joseph Ambler is up there, but without the nostalgia factor.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chefpaulo

              Near Lansdale, I would have to excuse the Mainland Inn. It's been a while, but I had unforgettable Duck and Spaetzle there once. The have the same architectural cliche's, but seemed a bit more ambitious in the kitchen.

            2. I live 5 minutes from the WPI and I have gone there several times for the pre-fixe meals, but I agree it is the same thing over and over for years now. I also do think of it as more of a "senior" type place. I will not go during the non-pre-fixe times because I dont think the quality is worth the price. I ate one time at the Joe Ambler Inn at Thanksgiving but was not impressed either. I will have to try it again since everyone says it is better than WPI and years ago I ate 1 time at Blue Bell Inn and thought it was absolutely terrible. I love where I live but the restaurants in the Montgomeryville/Lansdale area are not to great. Luckily I am an excellent cook.

              5 Replies
              1. re: LowerGwyneddGirl

                As a former employee of a large pharmaceutical company down the road, I attended many a holiday luncheon, and retirement event at the WPI. They do several things ok, including their crab cakes. They cater to corporation, family celebrations, and other events. It is hardly a destination to eat.

                I concur with the statement about the Joseph Ambler. It has gotten a wee bit better than it was years ago, but it is not going to a place for the culinary adventuresome. They have been doing some nice events bringing in wineries and doing tastings and wine dinners.

                That said, the better place to eat in the area is up the road a bit, and that's the Mainland Inn, Diverse menu, including venison, sweetbreads and duck.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  Not to mention great service and a nice wine list!!

                  1. re: bucksguy14

                    I think the thrust of the original post was that WPI does an excellent job at banquet/catering not gourmet food.

                    1. re: Karen K


                      You'd be right about that. However, like most posts on this site, it "morphed" into what's good, and what's not so good (or bad) in the area.

                  2. re: cwdonald

                    I have to agree with cwdonald. A fantastic location for an employee Christmas luncheon or for a wedding reception. The food is very good, served properly, and on time and hot. More than I can say for a few other places like the Century House, where I ordered some crab thing that was sooo (spicy) hot, I literally couldn't eat it, and I don't really consider myself a wimp about that.