By Justin McAneny, Daily Local News Staff Writer
Do you walk around the borough and struggle to pick from one of the more than 50 eateries? Do you get overwhelmed trying to figure out what it is you really want to eat for lunch or dinner? Are there arguments between friends and family over where to go?
Stop wondering and stop arguing. West Chester borough officials are going to help you try close to half of the eateries in the borough — focusing more on restaurants (like Side Bar and Three Little Pigs) than take-out spots (think pizza joints).
West Chester is offering the borough’s first-ever restaurant week. A whole week dedicated to helping you try out about 25 of the borough’s dining establishment from April 18 to April 24. And you won’t have to walk too far once you get into town. The restaurants are all within walking distance of each other.
The idea of Restaurant Week isn’t a new one, only new to here. They’ve been
held in various cities across the country for years. It was an idea that Malcolm Johnstone, executive director of the West Chester Business Improvement District, thought would work in the borough. West Chester is a somewhat urban environment and is also home to ample restaurants, all within walking distance. Those two things are a recipe for success.
The idea is to have people browse, Johnstone said. When thinking of new ideas to promote West Chester, Johnstone said, “We needed to do something with the restaurants.”
Talking with Dave McGrogan, part owner of the Kildare’s chain with one in the borough, Doc McGrogan’s Oyster House in the borough and the recently opened Más, also in the borough, the idea of a restaurant week came up, Johnstone said.
And they decided to go with it.
Johnstone would like to see people not only from the borough, but also the surrounding areas, come walk around the borough and try the different menus offered during the week at places they haven’t tried before.
Restaurants will be offering fixed-price menus with various options and courses, offering things that aren’t normal menu items. “The chefs are putting their best foot forward and you can’t go wrong,” Johnstone said.
Restaurants in the borough like the idea too, especially newer restaurants like Side Bar on Gay Street. “Hopefully it will bring people into the borough,” said Side Bar partner/owner Adam Wetzel.
Wetzel said it’s a chance for the chef to showcase his talents and keep things affordable. “We’re trying new stuff out,” Some of it might even end up on the menu, things like pepperoni and cheese bread pudding with seared scallops, Long Trail coffee stout short ribs with chimichurri sauce and sweet potato chipotle salad and habenero sugar cookie ice cream sandwiches.
Side Bar will offer a three-course menu with two choices for each course and will cost $25. “It’s really good food for really good prices,” Wetzel said, emphasizing the deal. “You’re getting really good food for $25.”
Just a short walk around the corner from Side Bar, on High Street between Market and Chestnut streets, you’ll find Three Little Pigs —another Restaurant Week participant.
Three Little Pigs has been open for 14 years and owned for the last two by Sheila Frech.
“I like the idea (of Restaurant Week),” Frech said. “It’s a great idea because we’re not as well known because we’re on a side street.”
Three Little Pigs will be offering the same type of menu as Side Bar with items that include roasted chicken pot pie with a green salad, grilled salmon over spring greens with cucumber salad and many other options “so people know we don’t just do chicken salad sandwiches,” Frech said.
Visit Downtownwestchester.com for a full list of participating restaurants and menus.