If you follow my blog every week, you may remember reading in last week’s blog about visiting Intel’s Pennside Drive-In as a back-up plan.
Last week’s Plan A was the Stonersville Hotel, but after making the drive along Route 562 in Exeter Township, we had to keep moving because the entire parking lot was filled. And being in Stonersville, a village of a few dozen, there isn’t exactly an abundance of places to park.
So this week we went early, arriving around 5 p.m. for dinner in order to beat the crowd and get a seat.
The building may look big from the outside, but the restaurant takes up just two rooms – one for the bar, and one for the cozy dining room and its 12 tables.
A full parking lot is probably a good indicator that those tables are full.
The walls of the dining room were covered in original paintings, antique dinnerware and photographs. Above the doorway to the bar is a wooden, handmade Stonersville Hotel sign.
With a historic restaurant, diners expect old-fashioned comfort food. Stonersville’s menu is much more than that, though. Sure, there’s a variety of steaks and seafood options, but there’s also flatbread pizzas (including an intriguing lemon pizza), crab quesadilla, wings and wraps.
Our waitress tried to talk us into one of the restaurant’s never-frozen appetizers, like hot crab dip, breaded zucchini or fresh bruschetta. We saw an order of the bruschetta arrive at a nearby table – it looked tempting but was way too much to be split by two people.
Instead, we each started our meals with an order of soup. I went with the baked tomato and mushroom soup, one of two that are available daily on the menu.
The soup came topped with mozzarella cheese and was served in a crock ala French onion soup. It was a hearty and creamy soup with a few mushrooms – not enough to get them in every bite, but enough to get the flavor.
I thought it was excellent, one of the better and more original tomato soups that I have tried. The mozzarella was what really put it over the top for me. Tomato and mozzarella are such a superb combination, and especially so in this.
Julie’s soup came off the weekend specials. It was a peach and ginger gazpacho topped with slivered almonds. Chilled soups are always among our favorites – it’s like eating dessert first. The “soup” was smoother than a smoothie or milkshake, but just as sweet. And the hint of ginger was just enough to add flavor without taking over the whole dish. It was a pleasant surprise to find something like this at an old country inn.
For my entree, I went with some old-school comfort food and the shepherd’s pie.
When it arrived – and it arrived quick, just five minutes after our soup – it was already clear that some of it was going home in a box. The large casserole dish was packed with ground beef, corn, carrots and peas, and the whole thing was topped with a mountain of mashed potatoes.
The meat and vegetable mix was thickened with just a hint of gravy. I thought there was just the right amount of gravy to keep everything together without becoming overbearing as it may have been with gravy ladled on top.
As good as it was, I could only finish about two-thirds of it.
Just as I had too much food for one meal, Julie also couldn’t finish off her shrimp and crab pasta.
Served in a pesto cream sauce, the dish was one of three pasta choices on the menu. The crab was shredded up in the sauce and tossed with the spaghetti with a half-dozen shrimp on top.
The sauce was extremely rich, but enjoyable. It was one of the more expensive items on the menu, but Julie thought it was well-worth the splurge.
With us each having to take a box home with us, there was just no room left for dessert. It’s a good thing we weren’t looking forward to dessert, too, because our waitress told us that the only options were ice cream and a chocolate peanut butter cake.
In fact, there were also multiple menu items that were not available either because our timing was poor. The Stonersville Hotel is going to be closed between now and August 16 for vacation.
So instead of dessert, we paid our $45 bill and headed home, full and very satisfied having finally paid our first visit to Stonersville.
Food: Very Good
Ambiance: Very Good
5701 Boyertown Pk
Birdsboro, PA 19508