Saturday, March 24, 2007

Historic Restaurant Tour
#2 of 6

Buckeye Tavern
3741 Brookside Road
Macungie, PA
Photo courtesy Stefan Seigel

The Buckeye Tavern serves up downhome meals and spirited drinks in a spectacular 1735 colonial in Macungie, Pennsylvania, just a short drive from the Route 222 exit off I-78.

The building has housed a neighborhood eatery since 1768, when Martin Speigle reportedly purchased the building for just over ten pounds sterling. Over the past 240 years, the building has had 20 owners. The current owner is Craig Leidheiser, a Michigan boy who fell in love with the building during a lunch date in the 1980s.

In 2000 Leidheiser financed a major restoration of the building’s original stone walls. In the process, he added an upstairs banquet room, indoor/outdoor bar, and deck.

The vibe here is one of welcome--think of Cheers in the 1700s. I would've been happy eating at any of their tables, but I was treated to views of unusually wide wide-plank flooring, exposed beams, and the scent of warm potpourri as I was led to the upstairs dining room, seated next to the dumbwaiter. There’s also a downstairs bar where guests enjoy live music on Thursday evenings and domestic draft specials on Friday and Saturday nights. There’s even a gift shop where patrons can buy Buckeye T-shirts, pint glasses, and hats.

I'm a big fan of seafood, so I ordered the broiled seafood platter of shrimp, scallops, and crab-stuffed orange roughy, in lemon garlic butter and white wine. My mouth is watering as I type, remembering how good this dish was. And how filling! The sides here (I ordered rice and broccoli) are generous. I would've been a fool to leave here hungry.

Since I have a young child--Is 9 still considered young? He's growing so fast--I enjoy dining in places that welcome children, and this place has a large selection of kid-friendly dishes. My guy--we were dining without my husband, since he was out of town for work--ordered chicken fingers with dipping sauce.

I wanted to order dessert here, but I was so stuffed from the meal, I couldn't do it. All things being equal, of the six places I toured for my Historic Restaurant article, the Buckeye Tavern ranked in my top two favorites.

The Final Word
Eat here. I loved it.

Mel's Mark: lllll
5 stars out of 5

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