Open for Business

Meridith’s makes the move east, and we get a sneak peek on Moving Day.

Not sure where to have lunch today? This week was the opening of popular BYOB Meridith’s, the long-running venture of husband-wife team Meridith and George McLoughlin. Formerly located behind the shopping center that houses Neopolitan Deli, this new incarnation offers better parking (there’s a two-story attached garage) and—cross-your-fingers—a full bar (wine-toting guests are still welcome). Meridith’s began serving dinner on Monday, and lunch service starts today.

If you’re familiar with the space’s former inhabitant, bistro M, you’ll be happy to hear that some things have stayed the same, and that some have been polished up with Meridith flair. For starters, the nondescript entrance adjacent to the garage has been dedicated to outdoor dining (enough for 16) and made more private by creating a new entrance a few steps east (or west, depending upon where you park). Much more inviting with its warm color scheme, eye-catching wall décor, greater privacy and stately wrought iron light fixture that looks like it came right out of a castle, Meridith’s features a new bank of windows that shields diners from the hustle and bustle of guests coming and going. If you remember bistro M, the only focal point here was a simple iron railing. The bank of windows lends a touch of old-world charm, and may even help contain the decibel level (not easy to do with so many hard design elements).

Meridith's new bank of windows overlooking the entranceOne of the dining room’s most striking features is the wrought iron ceiling fixtures, with their antique, bubble-glass encasings that would look equally fabulous in a country manor house—as would the gorgeous, dark wood floors. Good bones are a win-win for creating a cool restaurant vibe, and Meridith and her staff have done a great job of letting those bones do the work. Understated chic worked for bistro M and, here, under its new moniker, this built-in charm still sets a relaxed mood any time of day, as does the earthy but vivid color scheme of mocha and deep blue—formally known as “Lodge” and “Amsterdam,” respectively. And while I can’t put my finger on it exactly, the main dining room feels a lot more spacious—though at last count, seating totaled 57.

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Not quite ready for prime time was a lovely, dark wood table positioned in the center of the main dining room, which will dazzle with a large flower arrangement and gleaming buckets of ice and wine. There is a new but worn copper-topped bar where bistro M owners had a cozy sitting area, and instead of the long farmhouse table that was reserved for large groups, there are several tables for patrons wishing to do a little pre- or post-dinner mingling. And rather than deli cases taking up a whole lotta square footage, there is now additional seating for 55, designated as both private dining and overflow space. 

A nice view with nice lightFor the most part, the menu remains the same. However, Chef Justin Minhak has amped up his lunchtime offerings to include a once-nonexistent list of starters. I didn’t get a chance to try any out but, on paper, they all sound like good, old-fashioned, hearty but healthy, comfort-with-a-twist dishes, perfect for a midday pick-me-up. Some of the highlights include zucchini fries, mussels Niçoise, chicken lollipops, chilled gazpacho, and summer corn chowder. There are some new entrées and salads, and even a veggie burger (which is good for me to know since I’m still working on a slightly vegetarian diet for a Health and Wellness story due in a few weeks—I’m definitely making a lunchtime stop the first opportunity that I get).   

In case you’re wondering, the new address is 575 Lancaster Ave. in Berwyn. Meridith’s catering arm will continue to operate out of the original location. Lunch hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Dinner is every night at 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday brunch is 8 a.m.-3 p.m. To check out the new digs for yourself, make a reservation by calling (610) 251-9600 or visiting meridiths.com.
 

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