By David Jones
On a recent Thursday night we decided to venture to the new Thorndale Craft House for dinner and a brew. I had heard mixed reviews from several friends, but I got a BOGO coupon so I decided to give it a try.
We had been to this location several times over the past 30 years as it transitioned through owners and it never seems to last very long. I remember many years ago this building being the club house for the Ingleside Golf course when I was a young golf caddy in 1961. Going to this location always brings back fond memories.
Our waiter was a nice young man even if he was a little too personal and aggressive with trying to sell certain dishes. I didn’t like the fact that we had to wait till our salads were delivered to get our silverware and napkins. With water and beer condensation on the table it would have been nice to have a napkin to keep the table dry.
Another small issue was having to ask for bread. The only item on the table for the first 15 minutes were the bread plates, yet we only got bread with our meal after asking for it.
Each entrée comes with a choice of a house salad or a cesaer salad. Lin and I both got the house salad and it had a very nice array of greens, with a light vinegrette and it was very good.
When it comes to the main course, Thorndale Craft House has a lot of work to do. Lin’s Pork Shank was extremely salty and did not come with the accompaniments listed on the menu. We’ve had this happen many times, but protocol says you should mention this before the order is placed.
The problem with the Thorndale Craft House is they did the exact same thing to me. I ordered the duck to come with braised asparagus and roasted potatoes. It came with squash and mashed potatoes and it didn’t stop there. The waiter brought me chicken!
When I pointed this out to him he said he thought it was chicken too and when he told the chef he was told that it was indeed duck. After I sent it back the waiter came out and said the chef apologized that I was right and that he mixed it up when he took it from the freezer. Less than 10 minutes later I was eating duck and it was tough and totally lacking for flavor.
How about the beer you might ask? After all this is a place that specializes in beer. True to their ads they have a wonderful selection of beer on tap as well as in cans and bottles. I went with Yards Love Stout. It was very good.
My waiter, however, brought the glass out holding it with his fingers pointing down and the glass suspended below. This means his hands were all over the rim of the glass where I have to put my mouth. This is totally unacceptable and very unsanitary.
The second beer I got was Great Lakes Alberta Clipper Porter. It had a little more bite, but was also pretty good. The young lady who delivered this glass held it properly around the bottom and I was greatly relieved.
All-in-all the Thorndale Craft House is a very pleasant environment and the staff are very nice. The selection of beer is good and the prices are just what I would expect.
Some of the wait staff need serious training updates and the kitchen needs even more attention. Our 2 entrees and 2 beers, with 50% off on the second entrée came to a total of $47. If I went back I would eat in the bar and order my own drinks directly from the bartender. I would also stay with the bar food and away from the more ambitious entrees.
Hopefully, the Thorndale Craft House is new enough that they can work out these kinks because I would really like to see them succeed and stay at this place for a long time.
A native of Chester County and a 1968 graduate of Octorara Area High School, David Jones earned a Masters Degree in Medical Ethics from from Villanova University. Mr. Jones served as CEO of both Mayview and Wernersville State Hospitals and later worked directly with then Governor Rendell to modernize and right-size Pennsylvania’s entire state hospital system. Jones and his wife Lynn make their home in Parkesburg and dine out frequently across Chester County and the Delaware Valley.