New Hope Heats Up
This small Pennsylvania town has a big food scene.
Story by Jill Gleeson
It’s summer in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Located a quick 45-minute drive from the bright lights of the big city Philadelphia, this tiny town of less than 2,500 shares its sister’s swampy August weather. But even when the heat and humidity soar, visitors still flock to New Hope. They just slow down a bit, booking alfresco tables at waterside restaurants like The Landing and Martine’s Riverhouse Restaurant where the cooling breeze off the Delaware encourages patrons to linger longer.
The site of an influential artist colony around the turn of the century, New Hope today is lined with galleries and boasts the Bucks County Playhouse, where stars like Robert Redford have trod the boards. But what New Hope may be becoming best known for is culinary craft. Declared a “foodie destination” last year by Zagat, the town is bursting with eateries both cutting edge (the inspired Ferry Market) and tried-and-true (both Martine’s and The Landing, which each dish up fine seasonal American food, are around four decades old.)
According to Michael Amery, proprietor of the AAA Four-Diamond property The Inn at Bowman’s Hill, the town’s gastronomic goodness is “a result of a rich cultural vibe in New Hope, past and present. One of our favorite spots is less than a half mile down the road at Bowman’s Tavern. They serve American cuisine with amazing live music seven days a week. It’s such a hidden gem in our area and our guests love dining with the locals.”
Amery knows good food; his chef prepares beautifully-crafted breakfasts for guests that include goose, duck or chicken eggs culled from the inn’s own free-range birds and flavored with homegrown herbs. The eggs Benedict, a favorite, are cooked to perfection, with a hollandaise sauce that’s neither gluey or runny. The Inn’s biggest culinary hit, however, is its signature English breakfast, a filling repast that references Amery’s British childhood.
Meanwhile, Bowman’s Tavern benefits from management’s commitment to serving regionally-sourced ingredients from purveyors that include Hershey’s Lancaster Beef, produced on the famed chocolate magnates’ family farm. Dinners at the tavern are a refined affair, with dishes like seared scallops, perfectly cooked and glinting with white truffle oil, on the menu. But don’t be afraid to order the pub grub: the tavern’s Philly steak sandwiches are almost good enough to make you forget about Southside legends Pat and Geno’s.
Speaking of cities, New Hope is just 90 minutes from the Big Apple and three hours from D.C. Baltimore’s a little more than a two-hour drive away. Meghan Bartolone, general manager of Ferry Market, believes the town’s prime location helps account for its gastronomic riches. “New Hope is a destination on the East Coast because of its historical beginnings, bucolic surroundings, and proximity to some of the country’s busiest cities. New Hope manages to feel
like a small town, but with the selection and excitement of a large city…Because of this, many exemplary culinary minds flock here to share their talents, thus making it a must-visit area for foodies and tourists alike. There is something for everyone, and Ferry Market is proud to offer delights from around the world! We are elated to be the new kids in an already delicious town!”
Every culinary destination worth its salt has a food hall; Ferry Market helped ratchet up New Hope’s already-considerable cookery profile when it debuted in 2016. Located on Main Street, the venture is blessedly free from chain restaurants. Instead, many of the dozen vendors are recognizable names from the local food scene—for example, the owners of New Hope favorite Blue Moose Restaurant are offering soups, salads and sandwiches at Moose on the Loose at the Ferry Market. More exotic fare is available, too, including Hawaiian cuisine at Boku and Pan Latin from Lima Fusion.
New Hope’s new offerings don’t stop there. Other recent additions to the restaurant lineup include Salt House, a gastropub that opened last summer in a 267-year-old stone building, and Moo, a hip burger and shake joint dedicated to using locally-sourced ingredients. New spots blend with the little town’s traditional offerings to create a culinary palate extraordinary enough it’s drawing foodies from some of the country’s most cosmopolitan cities.