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Help! Looking for info on an old restaurant in West Point, PA

printess Aug 19, 2013 06:45 PM

My very first paycheck (1987) was spent on buying my family dinner at a restaurant in West Point called MacPhee's. It was a wonderful restaurant, the menu was as high class as I'd ever seen, and the place holds lots of good memories for me. My favorite meal was stuffed mushrooms app, and chicken Kiev. Both had sauces that tasted so good that I can still remember them. Problem is I have never tasted anything like either since, and MacPhee's has long since closed.
I thought I had read an article in the local paper about the chef opening a place in Cedar, but we stopped at the place and nothing on the menu was like the old MacPhee's.
Does, anyone remember this place?, know the chef? If you have had these dishes, do you have any idea what was in those sauces that made them so special?
Obviously I am obsessed, and have since become a serious foodie! Hoping someone can help with any info, would love to taste that taste again!

  1. Bacchus101 Aug 20, 2013 05:58 AM

    I am sure that 1714 will qualify as "old". The Wm Penn Inn is 10 mins east on Summeytown Pike from West Point to Lower Gynedd. We prefer the Club and Tavern rooms as opposed to the main dining room which we find a bit over-the-top. The food is basic quality standard fare with some interesting specials and variation on the old standard theme. I have never been to MacPhee's so I can not offer a direct comparison. My guess is you will find the Inn offers you good food and service in a very pleasant "old" establishment with medium to high prices. It has been doing what it does successfully for a very long time, as you can see.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Bacchus101
      cwdonald Aug 20, 2013 07:06 AM

      I worked in the area from 1992-2001, but only knew the place West Point Tavern and Pizza Time Saloon. Here is a postcard from MacPhee's.


      1. re: cwdonald
        Bacchus101 Aug 20, 2013 08:07 AM

        Got it now! Only been there once years ago with a Merck client. It was near railroad tracks. Not sure I recall anything at all about the place or the food. The Commonwealth Club at the Wm Penn was the usual destination with clients when at Merck West Point.

        1. re: Bacchus101
          MainLiner Aug 20, 2013 08:14 AM

          Has ANYONE ever eaten at the Commonwealth Club on their own dime? Or is that exclusively for Expense Account customers?

          1. re: MainLiner
            Bacchus101 Aug 21, 2013 04:39 AM

            When it was a Club, which it is no longer, we thought the prices were item for item about the same as the main dinning room but then of course there was a small annual membership fee. It has been years now since the Club and membership aspect has been eliminated, although the area is often referred to as the Club. My last lunch at the Wm Penn, not in the club, was months ago; it seemed to be ladies-who-lunch, business people and a retirement community get-about bus load of residents. I believe the direct answer to your question is yes. However, I understand your point.

      2. re: Bacchus101
        printess Aug 20, 2013 05:58 PM

        Thanks for the responses! And thank you so much for the images. I loved those stained glass windows, we loved sitting by them and enjoying the light shining through.
        I have been lucky enough for the last couple of years to be invited for New Years Eve dinner at William Penn Inn. The food is always good, the company even better!
        Bacchus, yes it was right past the railroad tracks on garfield and west point pike.
        Still hoping someone can share any info about the food. I've been lucky enough to eat at many fine establishments but nothing comes close to that sauce. I don't know if it was an herb that was used or what exactly made that flavor, but I will keep searching!

        1. re: printess
          Bacchus101 Aug 21, 2013 04:52 AM

          I think CW mentioned most of the West Point options. I can not help you in your search for "the sauce". The very next town east (5mins) North Wales has one of the best suburban bakeries in the Philadelphia area, Alice. A bit off your subject but mentioned just in case you are in need of high quality bread or baked goods.

          1. re: Bacchus101
            printess Aug 21, 2013 11:28 AM

            I think you might have misunderstood. i know what restaurant I was talking about it is MacPhee's. My question was if anyone had any info about what happened to the chef their. I appreciate all of your responses.
            I grew up in North Wales and am very familiar with Alice. Their chocolate croissant is to die for. We stopped for lunch recently and had the probably the best quiche I have ever had. For the lansdale farmer's market they carried croissant monkey bread that had dried cherries and chocolate chunks. Really good.

        2. re: Bacchus101
          dberg1313 Aug 26, 2013 07:54 AM

          OK, I'm SO OLD that our wedding reception was held at the Tremont Hotel...I remember going around to various restaurents to plan the reception with my mother and future MIL and hearing them say "...I taste the box!" about the mashed potatoes. Come on, I was only 19. I also remember MacPhee's; it was my version of a "fancy" place in those days. That was before I ate at Lespinasse though!

        3. b
          barryg Aug 21, 2013 05:57 AM

          My recommendation is to just hold onto the memories. Food memories like this rarely hold up when confronted with the real thing, in my experience. Sometimes comfort food is the exception.

          1 Reply
          1. re: barryg
            printess Aug 21, 2013 11:29 AM

            I appreciate your suggestion, it is probably what I will have to do!

          2. m
            MainLiner Aug 21, 2013 07:31 AM

            Not far from that area, but in Blue Bell, does anyone remember the old Tiffany Saloon? On 202 I think. They had a huge salad bar with fresh baked breads and apple butter... Also they dry aged their own steaks in a shed out back of the parking lot. Looking back, it was a great value. It seems to have passed through multiple sports-bar type chains since then.

            7 Replies
            1. re: MainLiner
              cwdonald Aug 21, 2013 08:08 AM

              I remember Tiffany's very well (very good salad bar). The spot is still an active restaurant, and is a PJ Whelihan's.

              1. re: MainLiner
                sal_acid Aug 21, 2013 08:31 AM

                Yes indeed. I remember the place. It was great back in the 70s/80s. Not much else out there then.

                1. re: MainLiner
                  crazyspice Aug 21, 2013 10:19 AM

                  Tiffany was our go to spot for a fun night out! Loved the salad bar and I always ordered the teriyaki sirloin.

                  1. re: crazyspice
                    MainLiner Aug 21, 2013 10:32 AM

                    I always ordered that too, until I tasted just a plain steak.. When I think back to the 8-9 bucks I spent on dry-aged beef vs. what is costs now (and how so few 1st-Tier steakhouses serve it) I wish I could go back in time. PLUS they would serve me (at 17) when I was going to Montco Community College and took the occasional date there for an impressive lunch.

                    1. re: MainLiner
                      crazyspice Aug 21, 2013 12:59 PM

                      I was pretty young back then too. Today, I am the Queen of the WeberQ and grill up killer steaks. If someone put the teriyaki sirloin in front of me now, I would not eat it. LOL

                      1. re: crazyspice
                        MainLiner Aug 21, 2013 01:11 PM

                        I still do a teriyaki London broil now and again. Even a Sirloin can use a marinade for variety. If I DO go out and buy a steak, I want it to be Prime AND dry-aged... Then again, I can't buy the MEAT for the same price Tiffany's would charge to age it, cook it to perfection AND clean up afterwards !!

                        1. re: MainLiner
                          crazyspice Aug 21, 2013 01:29 PM

                          Good point about that! And I agree about the meat purchase criteria.

                2. g
                  givemecarbs Aug 21, 2013 10:58 AM

                  Let's go way back to when it was the West Point Inn. Anyone ever go there? My parents were friends with the owners and I remember my mom driving there with me for lunch when she was in an uptight mood. We walked in and the dark lighting and antique furniture immediately relaxed us both. What a great vibe!
                  Later another friend managed or owned the place and the cook was sick. My mom got stuck cooking and I got dragged along as back up. Luckily it was a slow weeknight crowd and we handled it just fine. The kitchen was huge!
                  I went back years later when it was Pizza Tyme and we sat near the windows by the road. Way too well lit. But walking deeper in to find the bathroom the place still had some of it's charm. Of course when it was West Point Inn there was West Point Park nearby! I was terrified of the Wild Mouse coaster.

                  1. c
                    Chefpaulo Aug 21, 2013 01:30 PM

                    As a Gwynedd resident from 1969 until 1994 (and still nearby), I remember all of the above. MacPhee's (Sumneytown and West Point) was a Scottish resto with a great selection of single malts and Celtic brews. They were also the only establishment within a hundred miles that served Haggis. Not that i ever had the stuff but i do recall a great menu at the hands of a great chef.
                    Yes, the Wm. Penn Inn is the oldest in the region and a fond memory of childhood, having earliest memories going up the front steps backward in my stroller. It is a luncheon respite for the Blue Hairs and, as I approach in them chronology, will be dining there again more often. I had many a dinner with dad in the Commonwealth Club (on my own dime) with the only difference from downstairs being you didn't have to look at kids in their reversed caps, team sweatshirt and grubby jeans.
                    Tiffany Saloon was a great place in the 70s and 80s. Halloween was a hoot with all wait staff in costume.
                    For those of us in the area who fondly remember the Mainland Inn, the Hotel Tremont in Lansdale and the original Crane's in Ambler, let us savor our recollections and never wish for facsimiles. They just won't happen.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Chefpaulo
                      givemecarbs Aug 21, 2013 04:18 PM

                      Tremont was fun for halloween too CP. Me and my friend and our dog all won prizes! Woot!

                      1. re: Chefpaulo
                        MainLiner Aug 23, 2013 07:36 AM

                        Never got to the Tremont, though my dad had promised it most of my childhood. Then it closed. I did have one of the best ducks of my life (with red cabbage and spaetzle) at the Mainland. I remarked to the waiter that the onlt version I'd had that was better was at Chef Tell (Erhardt) in Chestnut hill prepared the same way with the same sides. It turned out the chef/owner of the Mainland had trained with Chef Tell.

                        1. re: MainLiner
                          givemecarbs Aug 23, 2013 12:17 PM

                          What a great story Main! Sorry you missed the Tremont. It was unique even down to the delightful prints hanging on the ladies room walls.

                          1. re: givemecarbs
                            dberg1313 Aug 26, 2013 07:57 AM

                            Is it OK to take hijack this? I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant in the Norristown area, it was in a big white house across from a cemetery - Jefferson House? The place had been a residence at one time and the ladies' room on the 2nd floor overlooked the circular front drive. The original fixtures were still there, including the bathtub, filled with goldfish in my day. My dad recalls that in his days servicing gas heaters, the house had a bowling alley (this was around 1946-47).

                            1. re: dberg1313
                              MainLiner Aug 26, 2013 08:01 AM

                              The Jefferson House finally got torn down a few years ago to make way for apartments or condos. It was on 202 just below Suburban Mercy Hospital. It looked kind of like a miniature Monticello. Huge columns, anyway. It was originally a high-end suburban "Inne", but got bought and sold a lot. The last incarnation I recall was a mid-priced Italian red gravy joint. I recall they used to get a lot of weddings because the grounds and building were so spectacular for the pictures.

                              1. re: MainLiner
                                dberg1313 Aug 26, 2013 11:23 AM

                                Yes! that's it! On Rt. 202. When I say, "in my day", I mean about 1970 or 1971. I was given a Dubonnet with lemon and felt so grown-up (they obviously didn't card me, I was about 17).
                                It was a spectacular place, inside and out, back then.

                                1. re: MainLiner
                                  sal_acid Aug 26, 2013 12:14 PM

                                  It was about 1/2 mile from the old Atlantic Thrift.

                                  1. re: sal_acid
                                    MainLiner Aug 26, 2013 01:58 PM

                                    If you're REALLY old, it was "Bargain City" before it became the Atlantic Thrift Center. If I'm not mistaken, there was a "Big Pixie" drive-in caddy-corner that eventually got replaced by Bunky's BBQ.

                                    1. re: MainLiner
                                      sal_acid Aug 27, 2013 06:20 PM

                                      I'm really old then.

                                2. re: dberg1313
                                  Chefpaulo Aug 26, 2013 07:58 PM

                                  It was the Jefferson House. Dad and I had many a dinner there in the 90s. He loved their prime rib and Bernaise sauce. My recollection was that there was a fire and that was the end of it. if restored, I never heard. But a great never-changing icon of unadventurous cuisine of childhood it was.

                                3. re: givemecarbs
                                  dberg1313 Aug 26, 2013 07:59 AM

                                  Only one more Tremont memory: I already posted that our wedding reception was held there, in a downstairs room, and as we came through the main dining room, people were pointing us out "look, a bride!" and I thought, "oh, where?!"

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