For 42 years, Vickers Restaurant of Exton has set the Philadelphia suburb precedent for white-tablecloth dining, refining slow-food cooking, serving expert-level stiff martinis and providing impeccable service. In all its decades, it hasn’t skipped a beat in celebrating the local, sustainable and seasonal food movement (currently raving about biodynamic and organic veggies from Sankanac CSA of Kimberton), embracing the farm-to-table before those sizzle words were “cool.”
In our recent revisit to the Chester County staple, we couldn’t help but fall head-over-heels for its bar program, which is boasting an appropriate mix of vintage classics, inventive eats and one heck of a happy hour program. Curious what’s in store? Our top five favorites—food and drinks included—roll-called below.
Sassafras Manhattan — As a fanatic of Art in the Age’s pre-Prohibition-inspired ROOT liqueur, we couldn’t be more impressed with Vickers’ throwing it into the classic cocktail mix. Belly up to the bar to experience a modern-day modification: the heavy-on-the-sassafras spirit is merry with heavy hands of rye whiskey and snappy vermouth. Even with only three ingredients, we promise you that the stiff, cocktail cornerstone is experiencing a renaissance—and ROOT is to blame.
Harvest Pear Martini — As the “it” cocktail on Vickers’ festive cocktail list, this bubbly-splashed martini is a surefire way to sip through the early days of fall. Seasonal and spunky, the bar splashes fresh pear purée with Grey Goose, house simple syrup, lemon juice and champagne. The end result? A dangerously delicious, well-balanced concoction that keeps it fancy—and still has fun.
Philly Cheesesteak Spring Rolls — This Exton mainstay is having fun in the kitchen with their riff on the iconic Philly cheesesteak. Two delicate spring rolls are flash-fried to perfection, packed with a hearty mix of thinly sliced filet and caramelized onions. If something so simple like a steak-stuffed ‘wich could be elevated in class—this would be it. Be sure to not skip the finger-food’s dipping mate—sriracha ketchup.
Crab Cake Sliders — Exclusive to Vickers’ bar program, this slider trio terrifically overflows with ultra-fresh chunky crab and arrives smeared with spicy remoulade. They’re simple and sophisticated; they strike the perfect balance of spicy and sweet, with salty and creamy. Warning: they’re recommended “perfect to share” but we can’t help but eat them all ourselves.
Apple Tart Tartin — Those with raging sweet teeth are in for a life-changing treat if they share sugar-laced moment with the house-made apple tart. Built on a paper-thin, ultra-flaky puff pastry crust, starred with tender tart wedges, dashed with subtle cinnamon and accompanied by a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, this light and elegant sweet ending is the epitome of what every dessert should be.
Vickers hosts happy hour from 4:30–6:30 Mondays through Fridays. Specials include half-priced small plates and discounted drinks ($6 wines, $6 martinis, $4 craft beers, $3 off specialty cocktails).
Find Vickers Restaurant at 192 East Welsh Road in Exton; phone: (610) 363-7998. More information available at www.vickersrestaurant.com