Because Ann Kolenick graduated from the University of South Carolina and owns a restaurant with her husband along North Carolina’s Outer Banks, it makes perfect sense that she wants those who visit the Gables at Chadds Ford to experience a true welcome feeling.
“I’d like people to be comfortable,” Kolenick says. “We believe in Southern hospitality. Our staff is very friendly, and we want the place to be nice and warm.”
The Gables provides diners with a unique experience, thanks to the building’s considerable history. In the 1800s, it was a dairy barn. It later became a dairy bar and general store, before beginning its life as a restaurant. Kolenick took over four-and-a-half years ago and has helped make the Gables an inviting year-round stop.
The menu has a diverse charm that features “American food with French influences,” she says. That allows for plenty of culinary latitude, and the Gables takes advantage of it by mixing Kolenick’s Southern background with the area’s farmland personality. You’ll find shrimp and grits on the menu at all times of the day, and mushrooms are plentiful—a nod to southern Chester County’s signature crop.
The menu’s versatility is especially evident at lunch, when patrons have the opportunity to sample a collection of items made with fresh, seasonal ingredients that have the Gables’ special flair. Soup lovers will be happy with either the mushroom option or the roasted butternut squash and pumpkin concoction, both of which celebrate local flavors in delicate presentations.
There are more than enough salad possibilities, beginning with the romaine and kale versions. But the real heavyweight is the Gables’ signature medley, which includes candied walnuts, Honey Crisp apples, and Black River Blue Cheese. A light white balsamic vinaigrette pulls it all together. All salads can be augmented with chicken, shrimp, salmon or chicken salad.
The Gables presents a variety of sandwiches to pair with the soup/salad items or to enjoy alone. Any good Chester County restaurant offers a portobello dish, and the Gables doesn’t disappoint with a wrap that includes arugula lettuce and goat cheese. The crab-cake sandwich on a brioche bun is a nice twist on the Gables’ dinner entrée item, while those looking for a sandwich with some heft will enjoy the smoked brisket. Salmon sliders combine the fun of a small plate with a tasty seafood option. For those who want to assemble a special treat, the Gables offers a “Pick Two” combination that provides half portions of selected soups and salads with sandwich favorites.
“It’s very popular,” Kolenick says of the “Pick Two.” “It’s our best seller and allows people to try a little bit of everything. It only costs $10 and gets to the table quickly.”
Leading the way on the entrée card is the Gables’ signature Shrimp and Grits, which adds mushrooms and bacon for some extra punch. The fish of the day is a crowd-pleaser, while the Whiskey Ginger Shrimp Fettuccini is a succulent blend of pasta, vegetables and bold seasonings, with some chorizo tossed in for a little kick. Want to head down the middle? Try the Gables’ burgers—beef and turkey—or the fish-and-chips.
No matter what you try, you won’t be disappointed. That’s how it is at the Gables. Whether you enjoy the robust lunch menu, the signature happy hour that features drink specials and the barrel-aged Papa Dino manhattan, or the Gables’ great special-event rooms and outdoor spaces, you are bound to have a one-of-a-kind experience. These are just some of the ways that the Gables at Chadds Ford makes its patrons feel so comfortable.
“I want people to feel like guests in my home,” Kolenick says.
The Gables at Chadds Ford offers American fare with French influences and some Southern flair in a rustic country setting. Patrons can enjoy fresh, seasonal cuisine for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. Happy-hour specials help make unwinding after work particularly easy, and the experienced staff can make any special event one to remember.
The Gables at Chadds Ford
423 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford
(610) 388-7700, www.thegablesatchaddsford.com