Taking over the former Franco Ristorante location on Phoenixville’s Bridge Street barely a year ago, Rivertown Taps has already found a fanbase in a big way. Our readers made it clear that it’s more than just a beer joint. It was the overwhelming winner for Best Appetizers and Best New Restaurant in our 2023 Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Awards.
But it’s also a pretty cool beer joint, with a wall of self-serve taps—36 inside, with six outside in nice weather. The wall also features wine, cider and mead, plus a nonalcoholic selection of kombucha from nearby Baba’s Brew. A card swipe allows guests to pour the desired amount, and each tap has a display screen with the beverage name, description, alcohol content and brewery or winery. “The self-pour revolution began on the West Coast,” says owner and chef Lewis Leiterman, a winner on the Food Network show Guy’s Grocery Games. “I liked the idea of combining the social aspect of beer lovers sharing conversation at the wall while also having access to my locally procured menu.”
Leiterman partnered with fiancée Tess Strayer and her parents to bring the interactive concept to downtown Phoenixville. While gutting the 19th-century building, they discovered and repurposed much of the original timber on the tap wall. They also exposed two beautiful brick walls and constructed a rustic 15-seat bar with a seating area perfect for viewing the goings-on in the kitchen.
Rivertown Taps’ menu is seasonal and focused, with innovative presentations that go above and beyond what you’d expect. The list of preferred regional purveyors includes Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative and Indian Ridge Provisions in Telford and the local Valerio Coffee Roasters. And frankly, it’s refreshing to find a menu in a brew-centric eatery that shies away from pizza and flatbreads.
For starters, we tried the Delaware clingstone peach with fresh burrata and the grilled royal trumpet mushrooms glazed in a house-made sweet-and-sour barbecue sauce—two small plates that would certainly go over well with our vegetarian friends. We were also impressed with the “super colossal” chipotle shrimp and the surprisingly light beer-battered cheddar-cheese Mexican street curds, the latter served over charred sweet corn and thin slices of jalapeño.
Among the three handhelds on the menu, we tackled the deliciously sloppy Peachy Porker—slow-roasted pulled pork, bacon and sharp cheddar with bourbon-and-peach jam and Carolina slaw on a brioche bun. They also offer a popular stacked burger—but don’t bother asking for tomato if it isn’t in season. “We don’t have freezer storage here,” says Leiterman “I’m that serious about being seasonal.”
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