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Historic Restaurant/Building for bday dinner

snowy11480 Apr 17, 2008 08:00 AM

I'm trying to plan a birthday dinner outing for my husband. He loves historical buildings! I was hoping to locate a restaurant (hopefully a very old one) to take him to that is in a very historical building or actually historic itself. I read about the City Tavern in Philadelphia (1773) but then heard the building wasn't original?

Any suggestions within a couple hours of Downingtown PA will be great. I'm willing to make a day trip of this if its to a new area we haven't been to before. Thanks!!!

  1. e
    elisatl Apr 17, 2008 12:58 PM


    I would strongly suggest the Dilworthtown Inn in West Chester. I have always enjoyed the food and the building has been in operation since 1780.

    3 Replies
    1. re: elisatl
      Buckethead Apr 17, 2008 01:06 PM

      My one and only meal at the Dilworthtown sucked, but I must confess that the building was neat. Does it have to be an historic building, or just a nice old one?

      1. re: Buckethead
        elisatl Apr 17, 2008 01:20 PM

        I'm sorry to hear about bad experiences at Dilworthtown Inn. I go there about twice a year, usually for a birthday or other special occasion, and always enjoy the food and find the service generally good, but as with any restaurant, experiences vary by person.

        I did think of another option, however. I have not tried the Inn at Saint Peters Village (was hoping to go for my own husband's upcoming birthday but they were booked for a private function), but both the food and the building look wonderful.


        1. re: Buckethead
          snowy11480 Apr 21, 2008 10:32 AM

          Historic please!

      2. k
        ken from conshy Apr 17, 2008 02:12 PM

        Two possibilities
        Blue Bell Inn - Skipback (rt. 73) Pike & Penlynn Pike Blue Bell The building is old but recently modernized etc.
        Wiliiam Penn Inn Dekalb (rt. 202) Pike & Norristwon rd. lower gwenedd opposite Montgomery County Community College This would be better for there sunday brunch buffet as the food is laid out through the restaurant allowing time to view the building.

        1. l
          Latzo81 Apr 17, 2008 04:26 PM

          Congress Hall in Cape May it is a Hotel and has a few bars and restaurants in it and it is in Cape May the whole city is historic

          1. m
            mombaker247 Apr 17, 2008 05:22 PM

            On the Delaware River their are many Center Bridge Inn in New Hope, The Inn at Phillips Mill in New Hope, Hotel du Village in New Hope, Stockton Inn in Stockton New Jersey You can eat and stay in all of the above and they are all romantic and historical.

            1. d
              drcmk Apr 17, 2008 07:47 PM


              The King George II Inn in Bristol. Food is very good, romantic view of the Delaware River. Building dates to 1681.

              1. ShootingShark Apr 17, 2008 08:27 PM

                My vote would be for "The Gables" in Chadds Ford. I've been going there since they first opened and have never been disappointed. Following are a few excerpts from the "History" link on their website at: www.thegablesatchaddsford.com

                "The Gables at Chadds Ford is situated on land that was originally part of a 138 acre land grant from William Penn to Brinton King. Around 1745, a pre-Revolutionary style house was built on the property. This was one of the first homes to be built in Pennsbury Township..."

                "The house was renovated in the late 1800s by George C. King, son of Brinton King. He adopted the popular Victorian style by adding wrap around porches and twenty three gables. Two of the four original chimneys from the pre-Revolutionary style home are still visible. In March of 2002, the house was placed on the National Historic Register..."

                "In 1997, Jack McFadden purchased and renovated the historic house and barn into what is now known as The Gables at Chadds Ford. The restaurant features the original frame, steel-framed doors and windows, and Benheim restoration glass. The banquet room is accented with a stunning wall of French windows and is crowned with an antique chandelier. The name for the restaurant was derived from the large number of gables..."

                Btw, there's a great courtyard area out back that's perfect for dining al fresco.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ShootingShark
                  dhmom Apr 18, 2008 08:10 AM

                  Jasper's in Downingtown (BYOB) is in an old Victorian home, on Business 30. Nice ambiance, great food and sevice.


                2. s
                  snowy11480 Apr 21, 2008 10:18 AM

                  So many great suggestions. I'm in the process of looking them up and researching and will definitely let you all know where we end up dining!

                  I've heard mixed reviews of Dilworthtown Inn too. I think it requires a jacket/tie - ?

                  Two other places I wanted opinions about are: The City Tavern in Philadelphia and The Marshalton Inn in West Chester, PA. Has anyone had a dining experience at either location or both? I believe both are located in historic buildings and looked to be good options. Thanks so much!!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: snowy11480
                    saturninus Apr 21, 2008 10:19 AM

                    You don't want to go to City Tavern - tourist trap.

                    1. re: saturninus
                      snowy11480 Apr 21, 2008 10:31 AM

                      Ha, I figured as much -- thanks for the heads up!

                    2. re: snowy11480
                      elayne5 Apr 21, 2008 10:28 AM

                      Couple other ideas:

                      Kimberton Inn
                      Inn at Chester Springs

                      1. re: elayne5
                        obx_nancy Apr 21, 2008 02:13 PM

                        The Inn at Chester Spring is an old holiday inn. I think you mean the Yellow Springs Inn which I don't think is open.

                        What about the Ship Inn?

                        1. re: obx_nancy
                          elayne5 Apr 22, 2008 08:05 AM

                          You're right, Inn at Yellow Springs! They still list dining hours on their website:

                    3. p
                      percyn Apr 21, 2008 12:36 PM

                      I have had decent meals at Dilworthtown Inn, but for better value, I often go to Duling Kurtz House in Exton - http://www.dulingkurtz.com/about.html . Seems like the land records go back to 1817 and the building was constructed in 1830. They also offer rooms to stay in.

                      Another alternative is The General Warren Inn, in Malvern - http://www.generalwarren.com/history/... dating to 1745

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: percyn
                        keby Apr 22, 2008 03:49 AM

                        Duling-Kurtz House is supposed to still be great, haven't been lately though. But, if you want traditional classic food, in a very historic setting it's probably what you're looking for.
                        Marshallton Inn has improved with the newer chef but still a heavy rich meal.
                        If you want a quick casual meal, try Chadds Ford Tavern. More old style pub/bar yet still good food. No fantastic culinary experience, but I still love it

                      2. s
                        snowy11480 Jan 20, 2009 07:33 AM

                        Okay, I'm so embaressed - i thought i had replied about where we ended up eating - LAST MAY! YIKES - but maybe i replied to the wrong post? anyway, we ate dinner at the Marshalton Inn in West Chester - actually in the historic little village of Marshalton. Such a cute town!! and the ambiance of the restaurant was awesome!! We ordered the highly praised mac n cheese that folks rave about - and it was all we expected and more. SO delicious:) unfortunately, we were greatly disappointed with out entree - which we chose the fondue dinner for two. Honestly, and i feel bad to criticize, but it was a joke - portion wise! the cheese dip was very smooth, flavorful, and tasty, the bread for dipping was just as good. but we got a couple of the following (seriously, a couple): fingerling potatoes, beef tips, pickles, and then a raw egg. one, to crack into the cheese once we were finished. we were done with this portion of our meal in about 2 minutes?? then for dessert husband had the tiramisu which he said was great! i guess we just ordered the wrong entree. sadly, we left disappointed and still hungry! i do feel we should give it a second try since the dessert and mac n cheese were good. but at their prices, we've been hesitant to venture back. Anyone else have an experience there they would like to share?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: snowy11480
                          michyphilly Jan 20, 2009 05:26 PM

                          My husband loves old historic buildings too! The problem we have is getting a great meal at any of them. I find the food often uninspired and often downright bad. i would love to find a romantic historic place with a great chef.

                          1. re: michyphilly
                            snowy11480 Jan 21, 2009 06:42 AM

                            Ditto!! we have the SAME problem. There are many great historic places/buildings that happen to have a restaurant. But we want some great food too! its tough to find. Our next place locally that we'll give a try is the Wiliiam Penn Inn as suggested above. Its beautiful so lets just hope their food is worth it. we've only tried ONE place that was a historic building that had incredible food and its in gettysburg!! But well worth the trip! Its the Dobbin House Tavern. We loved everything we had, the ambiance was awesome, and overall was money well spent for a nice evening out with great food. their website is www.dobbinhouse.com if you want to check it out. and for this area, well just have to keep looking! and trying!

                            1. re: snowy11480
                              michyphilly Jan 21, 2009 05:01 PM

                              Thanks for the info. Ive never been to Gettysburg but I may day trip it out there one day. We went to the General Warren Inn for a holiday treat. Zagats gave it a great review and we were looking forward to it. Don't waste your money. The beef wellington we ordered was overcooked and my husbands choice of sole was dry. Oh and they rave about their oldschool tableside made ceaser salad. It was just OK,nothing to write home about. We left without desert because we knew nothing that great was coming out of the kitchen. I don't want to give up on the historic thing but Im not having any luck finding a place!

                              1. re: michyphilly
                                snowy11480 Jan 27, 2009 10:39 AM

                                Yea, i've heard many mixed reviews about the general warren inn... and looks like your experience was nothing except a big disappointment, unfortunately. I'll make sure you don't ever waste our time there. and if we end up checking out the william penn inn, i'll let you know. on a more casual note, next to the marshalton inn there is the four dogs tavern - in an old barn i think - that we are thinking of trying sometime soon. more affordable and more casual, still an older historic spot i believe. have you been there? worth it or no? if not, i'll update you if/when we go there as well. and if you find anything in the meantime, let me know too:)

                                as for dobbin house, we've done lunch and dinner there - both were great. lunch is served downstairs in the springhouse tavern - all candlelit, ambiance is awesome! and even their lunch tastes great! so even if you can only go for lunch, its worth it. don't miss out!

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