Reporting Jay Lloyd
I’m a sucker for roast turkey and gravy. So, when someone suggests Great American Pub for a buddy lunch, I’m in. Walk in the door at Wayne on the Main Line and there’s a fresh roasted turkey breast and a crave inducing brisket, sitting on a board, waiting to be carved. In the past 2 months, I’ve been to all 3, Wayne, Conshohocken and Phoenixville. They are consistent and feature good bars, beers and comfy food variety. The outdoor covered swing seat/tables at Phoenixville are class.
Outdoor decks are part of the vibe at Joe’s Crab Shacks. Around here they serve up their catch in King of Prussia, Deptford, NJ and on the riverfront in Wilmington. As the name implies they are heavy on shell fish – lobster, Dungeness crab, snow and king crab. The focus is on steam pots with a southern accent and what we Yankees might call a, “Clam Bake”. Indulge in shrimp, mussels and corn on the cob. Wash it all down with a selection of popular U.S. and Mexican beers. It’s a fun setting that rings of Gulf coast shellfish shacks. Just one note: Food trade media reported last week that the restaurants may go up for sale. Best guess is they’ll be around for awhile.
I make a meal out of a Gumbo bowl here and tingle the palate with an in-house brewed light . Iron Hill boasts 8 centrally located suburban eateries on both the Pennsylvania and Jersey sides of the Delaware. The brew-pub chain tables a well balanced menu that concentrates on familiar flavor favorites. Think meatloaf, seafood or chicken pot pie, salmon and steaks, along with a few trendy lines like my favorite, Gumbo. For shares, there’s a variety of commendable pizza. Nice outdoor patio spots for a couples lunch or dinner.
As the name implies, the five buck Margaritas at Happy Hour are a draw but the nachos and salsa can keep you nibbling till dinner. It seems that this Mexican style chain that’s landed in Langhorne, Lansdale and Upper Providence is in a constant countdown to Cinco de Mayo with events, brews and tequila creations. The colorful dining rooms, theme decorated outdoor decks and sculptures make Margaritas a fun watering hole and eatery. A pint of Negra Modelo and a trio of fajitas keeps me more than happy. The only thing missing is a strolling Mariachi band.
I recently discovered Champps while hunting for a spot to grab a beer, a bit of lunch and watch a Temple – Navy football game. Outside, the patio promised open air seating when spring arrives. It’s here and a garlicky shrimp dish with penne and marinara keeps dragging me back. Suburban Champps (Yes, two P’s) are serving up pub grub and creatively touched familiar flavors at King of Prussia, outside Collegeville and in Marlton, NJ. If you’re there for the sports on a bar telly, you can still start with some pre-game sips and a nosh on the patio, then park an elbow on the mahogany and eyeballs on the big screens.
There aren’t many complaints about the food at the Tiki Bars outside of Boyertown and at the base of Spring Mountain in Montgomery County because outdoor fun and food seekers cook it themselves. The popular, tropical themed Tiki Bars are among the rare spots in the country that sell you the raw fixin’s and provide the large outdoor grills, the tools and the condiments to do-it-yourself. Pick steaks, shrimp, salmon, clams, sausage and put it all together in tailgate style at unique wooded settings. Lively spots for Happy Hours, buddy groups and couples.