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Springhouse Tavern

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  • cava8 May 11, 2014 04:43 PM
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Have just returned from an abysmal Mother's Day experience at this awful restaurant. First, they pulled the old "overpriced holiday menu" joke in place of their normal menu. Never even offered water or replacement of used utensils, lukewarm cafeteria style food..... How does this place continue to survive ? I guess it's because the average clientele doesn't have a computer. There are so many better choices in the area. Our recommendation, avoid at all costs. The owners don't have a clue.

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  1. The interior was redone several years ago. I have eaten there several times since then and it was standard suburban inn food.. under seasoned and not exciting. The suburbs in that area is under served when it comes to restaurants given the population grown which explains why this place still is in business. However, frankly anyone who complains about dining out on Valentines Day or Mothers Day only have themselves to blame. They are the busiest days in a restaurant year, and frankly never are able to deliver a superior performance. Next time eat at home!

    1 Reply
    1. re: cwdonald

      Ok so it is pay more because of the holiday and also accept poor quality food and service for the same reason? That is giving them too easy an out! "Next time eat at home", is a bit condescending and not up to the norm one might expect from Chowhound.

    2. The fact that it was a holiday, is no excuse for how bad this, or any other restaurant, is/was.It was not that busy. Subpar food and failure to properly execute is simply indicative of how poorly run this place is.

      7 Replies
      1. re: cava8

        Sorry you had a bad experience, but I have had passable experiences at this restaurant not on holidays. Perhaps you should rethink going out on holidays.

        1. re: cwdonald

          Heh. Good point cw! There are work arounds. I was foolish enough to try the back way to Doylestown by that one lane bridge and it is still a war zone. I was going slow to avoid pot hole damage and got passed by a Papa John's delivery car. I took 202 back like a sensible person.
          Had a lovely treat at Waffles and Sweets but I think we hit a sweet spot. Later we strolled past and there was a big line. Dunno how many pastry and ice cream places Doylestown needs but the fresh waffles were selling like hot cakes!

          1. re: cwdonald

            "You should rethink going out on holidays". That's a little judgmental, CW.

            After years and years of cooking for this holiday or that holiday, even if it was only to contribute to a joint family effort, I can't tell you how wonderful it was to have absolutely no responsibility for Easter. No cooking, no cleaning, no volunteering to help with the dishes -- just relaxed conversation with my family and a more than adequate buffet. And we did the same thing for for Mothers Day. It wasn't at Springhouse, though : )

            1. re: PattiCakes

              Respectfully disagree. I would argue that 95 percent of all restaurants are unable to deliver a good experience when dealing with the large crowds on popular holidays like Easter, Mothers Day, Valentines Day, and New Years Eve. I believe that the only restaurants that can are the smaller ones that are basically running at the same capacity most of the time (think Bibou on a weekend.. ). Restaurants are complex organizations that when stressed with a large number of covers exponentially increase their errors, and some handle the errors with grace, but many do not.

              That said, my own personal expectation when going out for a holiday meal are low, and given the choice I would not eat out on those days. I am in no way defending poor performance by restaurants on holidays, I just expect it. Hence my suggestion reconsider eating out...

              1. re: cwdonald

                I agree. This is why I try to avoid going grocery shopping on the day before thanksgiving too. But I laugh at myself when I always seem to end up shopping on that day. I don't like midnight releases of blockbuster movies but sometimes go in self defense.
                I generally stay home on black friday. I understand the buzz and excitement of the crowd though. The one exception I made was the first day the new wegman's opened at montgomery mall. John and I and another friend showed up right at dinner time to hit the food bars. That was fun and exciting but John noticed a lot of fellow shoppers complaining bitterly about the huge crowd. What did they expect? The excitement in the air was palpable on that day and it made the experience heady. Oh wait that might have been the beer. Anyway, my point is that if you insist on going on these days at least lower your expectations a notch or twelve.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  I concur, and so did my mom. Mom let it be known in the early 60's that the Mother's Day crunch for the limited menu of grossly-inflated mediocre fare blopped out cafeteria style "for Mom on her special day" was of NO interest whatsoever, regardless of how upscale the establishment. It was all a feeding frenzy and for what?
                  Instead, we did Mother's Day dinner out at her venue of choice the Saturday evening before, let her sleep in on Sunday, awakened her with a more-than-potent Bloody Mary (or two), let her watch afternoon movies in her pajamas (with another Bloody Mary) before running out for a Rizzo's pizza with "the works," lobster Cantonese or a jaw-breaking corned beef special for dinner.
                  THAT was her favorite way to celebrate Mother's Day, and we always did.
                  CP

                  1. re: cwdonald

                    I am coming from a slightly different perspective. Bear with me. My son is fortunate enough to belong to a wonderful country club. They had been an old-school club for many years, but the membership was aging out & the club was looking for ways to bring in a younger crowd. They have done that by by offering much more affordable membership packages for younger members, and by trying to make the club as family friendly as possible. Part of the "family friendly" initiative is to host buffet brunches at Easter, Mothers Day & etc. While not gourmet, the food is very very good, the offerings wide-ranging enough to appeal to all ages (eg. a special table with kid-friendly food), and the service is top-notch. My suspicion is that it is by no means inexpensive, and my son tips waitstaff well because he understands what it is like to give up a portion of your holiday to work for others. For Mothers Day we had my son & his wife, their 4 children (8, down to 2 1/2), his in-laws, my husband and me. We had a lovely, stress-free brunch, the children were well-dressed and well-behaved, the staff was absolutely wonderful, each mother left with a beautiful plant that had been part of the lobby display, and we had no cooking, no clean up and no stress. We got to enjoy our time with each other rather than having to spend time on meal-related chores. After years of having to pull things together for holidays and not really being able to enjoy myself, this was heaven. I am blessed.

            2. You spend so much time on this board, that I guess we can all benefit from your dining out expertise. Thanks

              1. CW, I think that the OP has a point though. You can’t just give a restaurant a pass by saying “well, you shouldn’t expect better on Mother’s Day”

                It’s kinda like blaming the victim here…I haven’t been to Springhouse Tavern in literally over 15 years…my last experience there was “meh” and I’m not really in the immediate vicinity to that place, so my dining dollars go to more interesting fare…

                That being said, I don’t always search reviews for EVERY place that we go out to eat, and a place that’s been around as long as Spring House Tavern, those are the places that you assume are around that long because they’re doing something right…

                The “Institutions” of our area…some of them are worthy of their status some aren’t
                (WPI, in my opinion NOT… Spring Mill Café’ YES)

                Would you give The Spring Mill Café a pass for a sub standard Mother’s Day meal experience? I wouldn’t… so why should we expect anything less than what is at very least the on par with what is the restaurant’s best?

                2 Replies
                1. re: cgarner

                  I was about to agree with your entire post, not that my agreement is that important, until I read the negative on the WPI. These two places should not be mentioned in the same breath or post. The menu at the WPI maintain the old standards, nicely done, and with the new chefs (relatively new) the menu makes nice seasonal changes with very interesting and creative dishes using seasonal fresh and available ingredients.. Obviously you have not experienced this sorry to say. While perhaps a restaurant should not be judged on Mothers Day but my last two visit the Springhouse Tavern has been bad, really bad. They should be responsible for providing a good product regardless of the holiday and actually perhaps even because of the holiday. Ok milk the day with a higher priced menu but please deliver good food and service.

                  1. re: Bacchus101

                    Bacchus, I'm going to defend my statement, I'm not comparing WPI to Spring House Tavern, in my memory they were never really on the same level as one another. WIP has always been (in my opinion/experience) more of a higher end menu/atmosphere

                    The WPI “Gourmet Dinners” (special events they do periodically) are WONDERFUL and always so much fun! Chef brings out all that helped to create the menu, envision the dishes, and execute them so artfully.
                    Many of them are kids who are working there as an apprenticeship and their enthusiasm shows!

                    Their Regular Menu for “ala carte” dining is good… better than a lot of places in the area, and they do have some very good specials.

                    Their Sunday and Thursday buffets are NOT very good. I’ve done the Sunday Brunch thing with my husband because he’s a fan, quite a number of times (he likes the salad bar, the omelette station, and thinks their breakfast sausage is something to die for LOL) even that used to better than it was the last few times we’ve gone.
                    The savory dishes were meh… One of the offerings that I used to really like the sherried crab instead of hollandaise for eggs Benedict was nearly inedible the last two times we went… dessert selections are good but who wants to eat just dessert for Sunday Brunch

                    Thursday seafood buffet… well to be honest, we did that once and said “never again” so I can’t comment on the current state of the seafood buffet (or even if they still do it)
                    Overcooked EVERYTHING, over salted EVERYTHING…

                    It’s been about six months since we’ve gone for dinner. it’s just definitely dropped off (we used to eat there fairly often)

                    We know someone (currently) in the kitchen ... they have cut corners on so many things. Sauces are no longer made on site, they’re all pre-packaged, purchased from whatever supplier, many of the soups are all pre-packed rather than made on site, mashed potatoes aren’t home made anymore, they’re flakes that they doctor up with garlic powder or wasabi or whatever the flavor of the day is.

                    It was all pretty obvious last time we ate there…

                    All to be said, the food is “good” and I’m sure that the sauces etc, being pre-prepared isn’t too far out of the norm even for a restaurant of this level, but it’s not what it used to be and the “staples” of their buffets that people still inexplicably to me clamor to, aren’t worth it.

                2. Obviously, ownership has changed hands since the70s and 80s when it was a family favorite and we were less than a mile away. The crab cakes were more like Crab Kiev and mom and dad always raved about the filet mignon with Bernaise. Thanks for the heads up.
                  CP

                  1. The "new Springhouse" is not the "old Springhouse". The old may never reached gourmet level, but it offered a gracious dining experience and predictable food. They seemed to value their patrons, and often treated them like old friends. It was one of my parents' favorite places - I can still picture my mom relishing her crab imperial, washing it down with a Manhattan. It was the place we chose for both my father's and my mother's funeral luncheons. They treated us well.

                    The new may have a spiffy new deck and a nice bar, but they are certainly not customer focused. We had a terrible experience there when we arranged two events for our 50th HS reunion weekend. We had been promised a specific private room for Friday night cocktails and apps. When we arrived, they shoved us into a tiny space that accommodated only half of our group, forcing us to spill out into the entry way. Sunday brunch was a disaster as well. The put us at tiny tables in the bar area even though there were plenty of tables available in the main dining area. And the buffet area was suspiciously badly lit. Yes, we complained. Yes, we wrote letters. They could have cared less. I will never go back.

                    1. One last thought...... This restaurant is bad, Mother's Day and every day. They are sitting in a prime location with untold potential and year after year they continue to pump out mediocre (at best) food and have an ownership team that clearly couldn't care less. I guess P.T. Barnum said it best. Thanks to all who weighed in.