Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fine food with a 'Publick' ambience

The Publick House Tavern & Inn was built on Main Street in Chester way back in 1810, and while it's now time to commemorate the building's bicentennial, there are plenty of other reasons to celebrate the place.

"We're going to have a plan for 2010," says general manager Abraham Ghebreal.

The Publick House recently opened a new banquet hall, and there are plans to open the upstairs inn portion of the building, which has been undergoing a three-year renovation.

"We try to advertise more for the banquet room, which can serve weddings and other special events," Ghebreal says.

"When the Inn opens, we're going to have deals, like one-night sleep-over deals with kids and families and a dinner, because we want people to come from different towns to Chester," he says.

"We try to bring the soul and the life of Chester back, especially to Main Street, where there are a lot of closings," he says.

A major reason the restaurant does so well is because of the food served in its multistory, brick-layer interior.

"Mostly, the people compliment us about the menu and the idea," Ghebreal says, "People believe in us, and I think this is why the business does well, especially in an economy like this."

The menu is a combination of old-fashioned American, including steaks, crab cakes, and burgers, and old-style Italian, with pasta dishes including penne with chicken, which has artichokes and sundried tomatoes on it. Even the pizza is much beloved here.

"It's old-style pizza, and people love it," Ghebreal says, "It's a personal pizza."

Also on the Italian portion of the menu is grilled chicken risotto porcini, which has arborio rice with porcini mushrooms topped with grilled chicken, and fusilli Siciliana — eggplant and tomato topped with melted mozzarella.

"The Italian influence is very hard to find here," Ghebreal says, "It's a mix of Naples style and Milanese."

On the American side are some great meals, too, such as the Publick House Angus burger served with house fries, and the Maryland crab cake, which is two jumbo crab cakes served with lemon butter, vegetables and the starch of the day.

Also on the first floor is the tavern portion of The Publick House, which offers a well-stocked bar.

"It's a full bar, it has all the hard liquors, and we have mostly California wine because I believe in California wine more than anyone else," Ghebreal says, "Our wine list is not expensive, so people can come buy it for an affordable price."

In addition to the building, one of the things Ghebreal loves most about working here is the town of Chester: "It's fun, and the way we communicate with the public, is nice. People like us here."

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