Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Joe H

Birchrunville Store Cafe, Chef-Owner Francis Trzeciack's Modern French-Italian, Candlelit Treasure at 1403 Hollow Road

Recommended Posts

The Birchrunville Cafe is in the middle of nowhere somewhere in Chester county and, for better or worse, has 28 from Zagat for food. The only light in the dining room at dinner is from candlelight. Has anyone been?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Birchrunville Cafe is in the middle of nowhere-somewhere in Chester county and, for better or worse, has 28 from Zagat for food. The only light in the 40 seat dining room at dinner is from candlelight. Has anyone been?

I'd really like to focus on this-it is absolutely intriguing, necessitating two month waits for Friday and Saturday dinner reservations, extensive adulatory discussion on eGullet from several years ago and a number of Philly blogs that write at length on it. But has anyone on this board been to it? It is, in fact, extremely difficult to find and ostensibly a very real adventure for dinner. BYOB on top of this with occasional prix fixe tasting menus. Somehow I have a feeling that this is a kind of Chilhowie Towne House Grill north, if you will, that is totally unknown by Washingtonians yet only sits 90 minutes or so circuitously north by northeast of the Baltimore beltway.

Has anyone been?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put this on the Philadelphia board and there were no responses; apparently the place is an icon in the far outlying Philly burbs with an ambience that rivals great, candlelight dining rooms of character and personality from elsewhere that we all still remember and write about. This is here, today. My obsession two years ago was the Town house Grille in Chilhowie; this year it is this tiny personal inn of great character and romance halfway between lancaster and philly. We're going for our anniversary-this year's adventure. Has anyone been? I'm intrigued-fascionated by the place. Has anyone been? And, it's byob, too.

Sorry for putting the post here but i'd really like to find someone from the D. C. board who knows it and their opinions. This is their website: http://www.birchrunvillestorecafe.com/

This is just the kind of exceptional out of the way dimly lit farmhouse of character that absolutely stokes me. If its' real. This sounds very real. Anyone been? An apparent adventure in Amish countryside...

Thanks.

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe,

I have not been, but I hope this turns out better than your much anticipated Wegman's Thanksgiving dinner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The menu doesn't inspire much confidence that the food is going to be anything mindblowing. Sounds very safe and straightforward.

I hope I'm wrong, though. Enjoy your anniversary, Joe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The menu doesn't inspire much confidence that the food is going to be anything mindblowing. Sounds very safe and straightforward.

I hope I'm wrong, though. Enjoy your anniversary, Joe.

Thanks, Steve and DPop (and Don for allowing me to put this on the DC board). My wife and I just came back from the Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach, FL (on Anna Maria Island) which is one of the most atmospheric restaurants I've been to in the U. S. http://www.beachbistro.com/ We've been before and next year will build a mini vacation around eating there a couple of times. Incredible atmosphere and "character." Ten years ago Potawmack Farm would have had this title before they put up a building-you used to just sit in an open tent with tiki torches on a hillside overlook the Potomac. The Beach Bistro may be just as special. The Birchrunville Store Cafe intrigues because of what seems to be its unique atmosphere (no tiki torches but I believe the only light comes from candles and it is in the middle of nowhere) along with what I would hope to be very good food. Perhaps not exceptional like the Towne House Grille aims for but worthwhile nonetheless. Amazingly Zagat gives it a 28 for food, the same as Vetri. No, I don't have much faith in Zagat, still it is a curiously high number.

We go in early July and I'll post on here our thoughts. Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Steve and DPop (and Don for allowing me to put this on the DC board). My wife and I just came back from the Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach, FL (on Anna Maria Island) which is one of the most atmospheric restaurants I've been to in the U. S. http://www.beachbistro.com/ We've been before and next year will build a mini vacation around eating there a couple of times. Incredible atmosphere and "character." Ten years ago Potawmack Farm would have had this title before they put up a building-you used to just sit in an open tent with tiki torches on a hillside overlook the Potomac. The Beach Bistro may be just as special. The Birchrunville Store Cafe intrigues because of what seems to be its unique atmosphere (no tiki torches but I believe the only light comes from candles and it is in the middle of nowhere) along with what I would hope to be very good food. Perhaps not exceptional like the Towne House Grille aims for but worthwhile nonetheless. Amazingly Zagat gives it a 28 for food, the same as Vetri. No, I don't have much faith in Zagat, still it is a curiously high number.

We go in early July and I'll post on here our thoughts. Thanks again.

We go on Thursday. The place is absolutely intriguing: on their answering machine right now (610-827-9002) they note that the earliest available Saturday reservation is September 24th. Also, they are cash only and BYOB as well as impossible to find with most navigation systems not helpful in finding them. I found this blog on the web and it is particularly informative about the restaurant: http://adventuresinankara.com/2011/05/03/birchrunville-store-cafe-a-lesson-for-all-chefs/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We go on Thursday. The place is absolutely intriguing: on their answering machine right now (610-827-9002) they note that the earliest available Saturday reservation is September 24th. Also, they are cash only and BYOB as well as impossible to find with most navigation systems not helpful in finding them. I found this blog on the web and it is particularly informative about the restaurant: http://adventuresinankara.com/2011/05/03/birchrunville-store-cafe-a-lesson-for-all-chefs/

It was the eighth or ninth one lane bridge that we drove over when I began to think that all of the hyperbole of how difficult this place was to find wasn't hyperbole. One lane wide roads that passed for two with stone walls and split rail wooden fences lining each, this was a trip through two and three hundred year old structures in countryside sporting wealth and established tradition far from central city Philadelphia. When we finally found our crossroads I didn't think there would be enough room for a horse drawn carriage in either direction let alone for one of the great country restaurants in all of America to sit on a corner.

And it does.

And about as difficult to find, as obscure, as off the beaten path as anywhere I have ever been. I noted above that most of the light is from candlelight in the dining room. I exaggerated: there are nine lightbulbs in track lighting framing the room along with perhaps sixty or seventy candles. Nine tables total with pairs of diners at most. A historic building that dates back two or even three centuries. It's not that there are no white table cloths; rather that the wooden tables that diners sit at are handcarved and framed by a real craftsman as is everything else in this truly individual and singular room of historic character.

We went for our fifteenth anniversary. One hundred and fifty five miles miles in each direction from Reston to the obscure Chester county countryside-it was worth every foot of the drive.

Without a mention of the food, without a mention of the national Beard talent of the chef and his obsessive sourcing of ingredients (we're talking heads on 11-15 count fresh shrimp a half hundred miles from water...) this is a Great restaurant. Intense stock reductions along with deeply flavored broths and sauces we were ecstatic to find the quality of an immensely talented chef in a number of the dishes on our plates. With several thousand corks and a singular bottle of Petrus in the window, restrooms in the adjacent post office which shares a roof as well as a Rubenesque tuxedo neighborhood cat we loved this place .Given the character of the setting of the room as well as what we tasted we hope to return at least once a year as long as we are able.

There must be a setting as well as a table in the D. C. area that compares to the Birchrunville Store Cafe. Unfortunately we haven't found it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[These paragraphs were copied from The Mother Thread as part of larger posts.

Use the Snapback Function (the little icon at the top-right of each entry) to view each post in its entirety.]

Somebody on this thread-besides me-is going to write about the Birchrunville Store Cafe 30-35 miles west of Philly in the storybook 18th Century like rural countryside. I am guessing that the reason that there are no other posts about it is because you can't get in without a couple of months lead for a weekend reservation.

It is also damn near impossible to find. This is not a place that one accidentally stumbles upon. Saddleback on a good, headstrong horse might be a more efficient way of finding it rather than a satellite based navigation system.

For my wife and I it is a big enough deal that we deadheaded from Reston for our anniversary there last year; a reservation I made two months in advance. This year we're going to do Birchrunville on one night and Chef Vola's in A. C. on the next.

Coming full circle, there is an outpost of Armada in A. C. but it is not the same. There is also an outpost of Citronelle in the same hotel but it is not the same either. For Armada go to the original in Philly; in Atlantic City go to the legendary Chef Vola's. And have the patience to start calling weeks, even months in advance to get in.

The Birchrunville Store Cafe is not dissimilar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...