This petite takeout spot run by longtime organic farmer Daryl Katz is one of the few places in Chester County that serves an all-organic menu catering to gluten- and dairy-free diners—accompanied by endless shots of wheat grass. Healthy Being aims to buy local always, with cheeses from Elizabeth Stoudt (of the famous Stoudt’s Brewery family), plus tomatoes, roasted coffee and more from nearby sources. Satisfy your sandwich craving with options like the Veggie Hero, a collard leaf filled with hummus, onions, fresh cucumber, yogurt, cheese, tomatoes, sprouts and drizzled ginger-sesame dressing.
309 Gordon Drive, Lionville; (610) 363-6932, healthybeingscafe.com.
The fare at i-Pasta is pure Italian comfort. Owners Pietro and Antonella Belfiore hail from Northern Italy. The two fell in love with downtown West Chester, which reminds them of the quaint small towns in Europe. Antonella assembles her reasonably priced menu items in a kitchen filled with pasta makers and a lone freezer, ensuring the freshest experience. Choose from nine house-made pastas and 12 from-scratch sauces (options like walnut cream, Gorgonzola radicchio and Salento). It’s BYO, so bring some wine to sip while savoring food that arrives at a slower pace (just as you’d experience in Italy). Your patience will be rewarded with bold Old World flavors.
134 E. Gay St., West Chester; (484) 887-0760, i-pasta.net.
Muse’s primary strength lies in the husband-and-wife ownership tandem of Michael and Shannon Hall, from the craftsmanship evident in Michael’s dishes to Shannon’s attentive supervision of the dining room. Thanks to a practical, simplistic setup, the main focus is on the farm-to-table fare, including grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, house-made pastas and seasonal veggies. Seasonal creations patrons typically fawn over include pulled-pork mac ’n’ cheese, eggplant Napoleon and the goat-cheese tart.
306 Market St., Oxford; (610) 998-1308, museoxford.com.
This secluded, reservations-only dining experience is ideal for any romantic interlude or special celebration. Nestled at the end of a sheltered dirt lane just off bustling Route 30, Paul and Sabrina Lutz invite guests into their eye-catching mansion for a traditional Italian feast Thursday-Saturday (a single 6:30 p.m. seating). A native of Tuscany, Sabrina prepares a truly authentic meal using seasonal ingredients—most sourced from her own garden. The menu changes every two weeks, with rustic selections like fresh bruschetta, bresaola rolls and all-natural lasagna (with a melt-in-your-mouth besciamella sauce) arriving one after the other. When available, the involtini di carne ripiena will make anyone a cauliflower fan.
130 S. Lloyd Ave., Downingtown; (484) 401-5554, orangeryatglenisle.com.
The fact that it’s in a basement doesn’t deter patrons from descending into this Italian-countryside-themed restaurant. A suburban sister to the cherished Conshy joint, Pepperoncini Sotto offers affordable Italian dishes concocted from scratch. The tortelloni sfatto (served with tender, slow-braised pork shoulder) and the lobster ravioli (covered in a blissful basil-cream sauce) will keep you coming back. Those looking for something more casual can hit the bar and sip their way through an extensive wine list packed with some of the best vintages from Italy and California.
184 Bridge St., Phoenixville; (484) 924-8429, pepperoncinirestaurant.com/sotto.
In walkable downtown Kennett Square, a borough known nationwide for its fungi, some special credit is due Portabello’s. Chef Brett Hulbert took over the space in late 2011, broadening the menu and introducing a true mushroom-lover’s experience. This charming BYO reflects the happy marriage of innovation and traditionalism, serving one-of-a-kind dishes that celebrate the bounty found right in its backyard. Highlights include the mushroom bisque and any entrée featuring the chef’s Sicilian gravy (yep, it’s that impressive).
115 W. State St., Kennett Square; (610) 925-4984, portabellosofkennettsquare.com.
This Phoenixville bakery and coffee shop specializes in artisan breads. It’s also the off-site workshop of Camphill Soltane, part of the Soltane Works vocational program. Whole-grain sourdough bread is Soltane’s labor of love, and their classic French baguette is something great to try on a first visit. There’s plenty more, including scones, hand-rolled croissants, even organic, gluten-free coconut macaroons. Don’t pass on a steamy, single-cup drip of Stumptown, arguably the West Coast’s finest coffee.
138 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (610) 933-1819.
A native of England, chef Tim Smith brings a traditionalist’s flair to this handsome pub. With the help of his kitchen comrade, sous chef Kristin McCouch, Smith has conceived a menu that celebrates sustainability, incorporating everything from ramps and fiddleheads to locally sourced artisan meats and cheeses. The vast spectrum of craft beers is the work of owner Sean McGettigan. With 12 beer taps, in addition to bottles list, there’s always a new brew to sample. Try the Thai Red Curry, as an entrée or with wings or mussels.
207 W. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown; (484) 593-0560, stationtaproom.com.
Former bonds trader Dean Carlson took over this 355-acre oasis in 2011. He had no prior farming experience—only a passion for sustainable agriculture. A year later, he unveiled his on-site farm market in a restored 18th-century barn. It features an ever-changing inventory, from farm-fresh eggs, in-season produce and Rival Bros. coffee, to hot dogs, house-cured bacon and charcuterie. The in-house butcher shop prepares specialty cuts like oxtail and chicken liver. A small café serves all-local beef burgers, cheesesteaks, roasted chicken, mac ’n’ cheese and more out of a barn window. There’s also a multipurpose, state-of-the-art kitchen, where notable local chefs gather ingredients from the market and test recipes. And the mind-blowing views of the pastures are priceless.
150 Wyebrook Road, Honey Brook; (610) 942-7481, wyebrookfarm.com.
For more, visit thetowndish.com.