If you’ve never gone out to eat in downtown West Chester (freshmen and commuters take note: by downtown West Chester I mean Market and Gay Street, about four blocks north of WCU’s campus) you are missing out. West Chester has been referred to by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “one of the world’s most perfect small towns”. a statement I happen to agree with.
Part of downtown West Chester’s appeal is its excellent night life: most people will agree that the wide array of social establishments located downtown can provide both casual and constant partiers with entertainment, whenever the need to grab a drink or two (or three?) arises: from “Mexican Mondays” to “Fishbowl Fridays,” there’s always something going on. Heck, Vanilla Ice even performed at Hardware Bar last year (actually Hardware Bar is now closed and I heard Mr. Ice got booed during his performance. still entertaining nonetheless).
Any clown with his older brother’s I.D. can tell you about the bars though. the goal of THIS article is to give the inexperienced diner the rundown on some of downtown West Chester’s phenomenal restaurants
(NOTE: just kidding about the fake I.D. thing, if you try to get into a bar underage you will be arrested, expelled from school, and your life will be ruined.)
Being a fifth year senior, I can say with mixed emotions that I have probably spent enough money to pay for a year’s tuition at the various restaurants and establishments of West Chester during my time here.
I’ve experienced a good amount of what West Chester’s dining establishments have to offer, and lucky for you readers, am ready to share my experiences.
Going on a date? Downtown West Chester offers options that can accommodate most occasions or budgets. I’ll start with the most expensive, and work my way down.
For any “high rollers,” committed couples, or persons interested in seriously impressing their date, I would like to start my list of notable restaurants with Pietro’s Prime Steakhouse and Seafood, located on Market Street.
This place is no McDonald’s – I spent just under $130 on the bill for my date and I, but had one of the best steaks I have ever eaten (House Special- Filet of sirloin, $30). Generous portions and a menu offering both steaks and seafood make Pietro’s the perfect place for a special occasion (I plan on trying the lobster tail next time).
Limoncello, located near the intersection of Walnut and Gay Street, is another excellent option for a date; this restaurant and Pietro’s mentioned above are definitely the two best in town.
Not as expensive as Pietro’s, the moderate spender can get away with a $70-$80 tab for a party of two at Limoncello. I’d recommend the house special; “Veal Limoncello,” – one of the best Italian dishes I have ever eaten; Limoncello offers hearty portions, you won’t leave hungry.
Making reservations in advance is highly recommended. This place is absolutely packed on weekend nights.
The Mediterranean is an interesting restaurant located on West Gay Street. Offering “Mediterranean/Lebanese” food, take your date here if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
I got the “lamb shiskebob”- the food is decent, the restaurant has a great atmosphere, and you and a date can have a nice night for about $50-$60.
Kooma, a sushi restaurant on Gay Street, is also very popular, and is an excellent option for a unique and moderately priced date or to grab dinner with friends.
Kooma offers a variety of good quality sushi (if you like sushi) and taking a date will only run about $40. The portions aren’t the biggest in the world (sushi isn’t very filling), but it is “cool,” different, and has a fun atmosphere.
It is also, to my knowledge, the only place in West Chester that people of age can order Saki, Japanese alcohol that is worth trying if for no other reason than to say you’ve tried it.
Don’t go to The Olive Branch, located on Gay Street, unless you want to pay a lot of money for a little bit of food. The place offers a tapas style of dining, meaning that you order a several small portions to share rather than one large meal.
While “Shrimp Stuffed with Crab Meat” sounds delicious, it was a little disenchanting to get only three shrimp with the order (for $15). The food was decent, but I paid $80 for my date and I, and left starving.
Other more standard options for dining in West Chester include places such as Barnaby’s, Kildare’s, Iron Hill, Landmark, Ram’s Head (formerly Baxter’s), and Ryan’s Pub.
All of these places are relatively cheap ($10-$15 a plate), have decent food, but are nothing too out of the ordinary- unless you are looking for hot wings.
On Sundays, Landmark and Rams Head both offer cheap wing specials (30 cents a wing last time I checked), that are absolutely delicious.
For breakfast, go to the Market Street Grill. This restaurant (strictly breakfast/ lunch.only open till 2 p.m.) is very popular on Saturday and Sunday mornings – you’ll probably see people you know amongst the diners.
Market Street Grill offers all of the essential breakfast options, and has really cool specials sometimes (I once got a Macaroni and Lobster Omelet. it was great).
One last place I would like to mention uptown is Buddy’s Burger. More of a fast food option, Buddy’s Burger offers great chicken sandwiches, burgers, and fries (I’d recommend the Old Bay seasoned fries).
Don’t let “fast food” make you associate this place with Burger King, they grill the burgers and chicken right in front of you- it’s all fresh.
They have different specials every day of the week, and you can get a quick, good meal for about $7 or less.
I hope this summary helped anyone, every restaurant I mentioned above is definitely worth trying (except for the Olive Branch) anything I left out, I either haven’t been to, or wasn’t worth mentioning.
Matt Boyd can be reached at MB634884@wcupa.edu.