Husband-and-wife team Josh and Erin Taggart never imagined they’d be opening their farm-to-table restaurant in the middle of a pandemic. But open they did, after transforming the interior of a former Mexican restaurant in downtown West Chester into a rustic, barn-like setting. Mae’s is named after Josh’s grandmother—and the couple’s daughter. “We wanted to keep the feel unpretentious and family-friendly, while offering something for just about everyone,” says Erin.
Josh’s culinary lineage includes stints at Philadelphia’s Rae, Buddakan and Lacroix, and locally at the Dilworthtown Inn and Duling Kurtz. Mae’s is currently nurturing local collaborations with SIW Vegetables, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, West Chester Growers Market and Indian Ridge Provisions for its meats and produce, getting its artisan breads and buns from its neighbor, La Baguette Magique.
Dinner highlights include housemade gnocchi and braised leeks in a chorizo-and-little-neck-clam ragu, arancini with fermented garlic honey, and short ribs braised in red wine and accompanied by sweet potato puree and buttered Brussel sprouts with a pour of chimichurri. Punctuate your meal with pastry chef Erin’s apple cobbler, peanut butter brownie trifle or a knockout pumpkin bread pudding.
Breakfast and brunch offerings, a kids’ menu, creative salads, lunchtime sandwiches, an excellent Mae’s burger, and winter soups like creamy pumpkin bisque give diners plenty of options. And there are no pesky corkage fees at this BYOB. Pandemically stressed? Try a heat-and-eat family dinner.
39 W. Gay St., West Chester, maeswc.com. —Ed Williams