Historic Revere Tavern (Lancaster County- Paradise, PA)

I’ve been to the historic Revere Tavern many times over the years dating back to when I was a child. However, I had been there only once since I started food blogging, and my review of it was based on a holiday buffet a few years ago. While the food was excellent, such a review does not do this establishment (in operation for nearly 280 years in one form or another) any justice. That is why I am scrapping the previous iteration and am going to present this. Such a decision was made based on the perfection of the evening. I will soon be coming up on 300 restaurant reviews and I can say without any shred of doubt that my visit on Valentine’s Day evening was one of the finest dining experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

Originally, Justin and I were supposed to be going to Lancaster the week after. When plans changed and we realized we were going to be spending Valentine’s Day in the area, I immediately booked a table. Knowing what a busy night this is for most restaurants, I made one request: that we could be seated near a fireplace if possible. The Revere Tavern has six or seven of them, all in working order, but still I did not know if it would actually come to fruition. Sure enough, we were sat in the first room directly in front of the fireplace. Even though I was aware of this restaurant’s charm and romantic ambiance, I was speechless. Justin, who had never been there, was also in shock. We literally had the best seat in the house, directly facing the fireplace.

It was at that moment I felt that even if the food was merely passable, it still would have been an incredible evening. But we did not have to worry about that. From one moment to the next, everything was spellbindingly amazing. The Revere Tavern offered Valentine-themed drink specials, a special food menu, and their full regular menu including the prime rib which is normally only served on weekends. Justin started with a Blue Diamond, one of the specials, which consisted of Verdi Spumante, Blue Curacao, and pineapple juice. It had the right balance of dry and sweet, and the blue color wonderfully off-set all of the red everywhere. I went with a gin martini, straight up, which also was fantastic. I ordered a second later on while he moved on to his usual Budweiser.

For appetizers, we selected the crab cake and the bacon-wrapped scallops, the latter of which was also on the specials menu. The crab cake was a large portion, divided in two and drizzled with a lemon aioli. The cake itself was entirely lump crab meat with hardly any breading. It delightfully fell apart as I tried to move it from the platter to my plate. It had a freshness that you cannot normally get in the middle of farm country. The other appetizer was also top-notch. The bacon was crisp, the scallops tender, and it too had a drizzle of some kind of sauce reminiscent of a ponzu. The fire roared as we inhaled all of this delicious food.

I had barely looked at the menu when our waitress told us the prime rib was available. On that note, I promptly set it down because I now knew what I was ordering. The portion was massive, practically hanging off the plate. The menu said 14-16 ounces, but it seemed larger. The meat to fat ratio was right on, the edges had a black pepper rub, and it was cooked to my exact request of medium-rare. This was the best prime rib I’ve ever had. I’m sorry that I couldn’t finish it, because I was just too full. It came with a side of ultra-creamy piped mashed potato and sautéed broccolini. For his entrée, Justin ordered the almond-encrusted chicken which he said was outstanding. I personally enjoyed the honey Dijon cream sauce that accompanied his. Both of our meals came with a nice garden salad.

We could not conceive of having another bite to eat but it was Valentine’s Day after all. So we took it upon ourselves to have the brownie sundae which was overly large and left us at capacity. A warmed brownie was topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel and chocolate sauces, and walnuts. It was served with a chocolate covered strawberry, which I assume was included because of the theme of the evening. We also added two Calypso coffees, which included rum and Kahlua. These certainly got the job done by way of strength. I could taste that rum in every sip. They also came with a stick of rock-candy-like sugar, which was a really cool way of stirring in some sweetness without having to add a whole packet. As dessert was finished, I stared into the fire wishing the night did not have to end.

To mention the service, it was par excellence. I am almost certain I had our waitress when I was a child. She looked familiar. She was great, bringing kindness and attentiveness to our table without being overbearing. She did not push drinks, had a sense of humor, and was nice enough to take our picture by the fireplace after we finished eating. There was never any rush and she asked us if we wanted to put appetizers in before our meal order so we could take our time. I wish I knew her name to thank her publicly. Actually, I would like to thank the Revere Tavern as a whole for providing a dining experience that I could liken to “putting on a show”. Starting with accommodating my reservation request of being seated near a fireplace to bringing one course after another of fine food and drinks by a flawless staff, it could not have been done any better. For that, I have no choice but to give them 5 out of 5 stars , which is the first of such rating I’ve ever given in Pennsylvania. This magical evening will be in my memories forever. I hope everyone else there that night had an equal experience!

Review originally posted on my food blog.

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Terrific review! The privilege of sharing a great dining experience in an historic inn is so very rare. Not many Americans have that opportunity.

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I agree with your wording: this was a privilege. I don’t think I have ever felt so fortunate after a dining experience in my life. I may never have another one like it anywhere.

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And I have to add that the pricing at Revere Tavern is exceptional, given the quality and setting. Cocktail prices phenomenal. All of that mentioned above came to only $125. Would have been over $200 in NJ!

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Nice review Greg. I’m glad you guys had a great time!

Ps, I know you’re aware of the sd/pH prime rib but Charley’s in LB has $19 prime rib night on monday. Hopefully I can get there soon and report back.

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I will say, that my review of Revere exploded on social media. I tagged them when I posted it, and sure enough, they shared it…then the Best Western behind them shared it…then the manager…then the executive chef…and even a few servers!

Then last night, I received this:

Hi Greg,
I’m Kelly your server from Revere Tavern on Valentines Day.
Your kind words about the restaurant and your experience was truly heartwarming. Just wanted to thank you both for allowing me the pleasure to make your evening a memorable one.
Hope to see you again! Once again it was a joy serving you both.

Such moments are why I love food blogging. These connections are really important. Judging by all the reactions, management and staff at the Revere Tavern seem truly prideful of their work.

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Terrific!

The Himalayan place I just reviewed also sent me a message thanking me and saying they were honored. They also shared the link with their followers.

It seems PA restaurants/owners are more inclined to send thank-you’s and share positive reviews. Most of the time I write about NJ, and very rarely do I ever receive either. That’s certainly not why I write, but it definitely makes one feel good.

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This was sent to me by the owner of Revere a couple of days ago. It is a print-out of my review which they are going to mount somewhere in their restaurant. I am very honored. This is as good as it gets for a food-writer of my caliber (doing this for a hobby, not professionally).

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Nice job Greg! That is quite an accomplishment! Kudos. Keep up the good work with your honesty and food knowledge.

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Thank you!

I’ll be heading back to Lancaster tomorrow for a few days courtesy of the Revere Tavern. A few days after I shared my review, the owner contacted me saying they would like to put us up for a couple of nights. I am really blown away by their generosity.

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My latest blog post about Revere. What a time we had!

This is one of those posts where I know exactly what I want to say but have to figure out just how to say it. Sometimes an experience can be that awesome. If I did not give the Revere Tavern a 5-star rating in February, I would have done so on this most recent trip in April. Following that review, and the subsequent social media explosion, I was thanked by the owner (Tina) and several staff members for the write-up. I had mentioned in another post that I do not review restaurants for that reason, but it is always great to get feedback, and always appreciated when the business shares my writing with their followers. The Revere Tavern has a heck of a following, as likes and shares poured in. I really was awestruck. It was then that Tina reached out saying to let her know next time we were coming to Lancaster, because she wanted us to stay at their hotel (the Revere Best Western Plus). Both the restaurant and hotel have been in their family for over 50 years.

NY Strip

We gladly took her up on this generous offer, and finished a two-night stay there earlier this week. She also had a gift bag for us which included a blow-up of the review I wrote. It was on this trip that I finally got to meet Tina and also catch up with some of the staff members written about in the review. Justin and I dined there on Monday night. Kelly, our original server, was not working that night but still came by to say hello, which was really nice of her. We had Angela this time around and she was superb as well. The staff continues to be simply impeccable. I enjoyed a perfectly cooked NY strip steak while Justin had Chicken Chesapeake. Our appetizers were the fried mozzarella (freshly made and fried to a crisp) and spinach-artichoke dip, which came steaming hot and loaded with cheese. Any progress I made recently at the gym was deterred on this night. I washed it down with some martinis and Justin tried the house special pineapple sangria.

We had missed Tina on Monday, who was working earlier in the day. We decided we would eat at Revere the second night too, in the bar area which is part of the building’s original construction. Combine some good drinks with a nearly 300 year old building, and this history nerd is in heaven. It was a wonderful experience chatting with Tina and getting to know each other (on and off for nearly four hours). We saw Angela again (who had several bar/restaurant recommendations for us and said she would take us on a dive bar tour of Lancaster!) and then met Hunter, the bartender. He is only 20, but has the skill and personality of a veteran. He mentioned he had made our drinks that night and thanked me for noting them in the review because, “Most people only talk about the food”. To me, drinks are just as important.

Hunter’s martini.

It was enjoyable getting to know him too. Like me, he is a lover of history and wants to be a teacher, so we share that commonality. Hunter makes an excellent dry martini and was ever-ready with suggestions for Justin who was being adventurous aside from his usual Budweiser. It was margarita night, so we couldn’t help but try those too. We picked on some old bay wings and chicken tacos, also great, and talked the night away with Tina, Hunter, Angela, and a couple from south Jersey who was seated near us.

Fried Mozzarella and Spinach-Artichoke dip.

It seemed like it now was after-hours when I got to sample some of Revere’s new bar ingredients, and we experimented with possible new cocktails. Hunter definitely has a bright future ahead of him. It was during all of this, especially after asking for any funny stories Tina had from many years of working there, that I realized the Revere Tavern was no longer just a restaurant—we had become friends . It is funny how that works sometimes, how chance it is when certain people come into contact with each other. This restaurant, already special, was now firmly cemented in our hearts as the place to go when in Lancaster.

To the entire staff at Revere Tavern, you are excellent and I thank you. To anyone reading this post who is traveling to Lancaster, make sure you get over there. Whether you want fine cuisine in the dining room or light food and drinks in the bar, you cannot go wrong. Hope to see you again soon!

Taken from my blog.

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This place sounds amazing. The food and drinks look good and it sounds like the people are professional, yet warm and welcoming.

It 's only about 90 mins west of me, so I have definitely put it on my list of places to try this spring\summer.

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Please visit! Tell then Greg sent you and ask to be seated near one of the fireplaces. They are awesome. Every member of the staff was so friendly, from the owner, the servers, bartenders, even the chef in the back! They truly care about their staff and the product they are putting out to customers. Never had a bad meal or experience here.

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I will definitely drop your name! I bookmarked this thread so I can refresh my memory on everybody’s names before I dine there. I’m not sure how I missed it all these years.

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