A New Chapter

A New Chapter

A New Chapter

We’ll get the ball rolling but what we really want are your stories. The Tavern opened in 1931. There are thousands of memories spanning nine decades. Here’s ours:

Our Tavern Story

Matt and I drove up to New Wilmington with our three kids to look at our potential new house in a little country town we had never heard of about an hour north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My dad grew up in nearby Grove City, and told us we should check out the Tavern on an anniversary drive we had taken back in 2018. Well, it was closed but we managed to get there on a snowy night in November a year later. Everyone was very friendly and the burgers were great but what we remembered most was the warmth, not just physical, that we felt.

We knew back then that The Tavern on the Square was the heart and soul of New Wilmington’s business district. When it closed during Covid, we did a fair amount of griping. ‘There’s no where to eat in this town!’ was a common utterance as we drove home from ballet or swimming. New Wilmington shares a bucolic setting with the renowned liberal arts school, Westminster College. We saw parking lots full on game days and wondered where everyone was going to eat afterwards.

Finally, Matt turned to me and said, ‘Are we gonna be the kind of people who complain about things, or change them? What are we teaching our kids?’

He got me. Not too long after that, we were walking through the abandoned 1849 building with the previous owner, one of the determined people who lead the successful campaign to secure the town’s first ever liquor license.

Don’t worry, we bought the building AND the license.

Who We Are

Matt is a 5th generation Californian. I’m a 3rd generation Pennsylvanian but that might be less glamorous. What I was, was a kid who wanted to learn about food. After graduating from Chatham University, I became an apprentice on an organic farm in Charleston, South Carolina. I made deliveries to iconic restaurants like celebrity Chef Sean Brock’s McCrady’s and Husk. I had no idea what the chefs did with the produce I dropped off and I was hungry to learn more.

A chef friend pointed me west. Napa was the place to go to learn how to cook in the states.

I had blinders on. Learn. Don’t get sent home. Napa Valley Cooking School is a rigorous fast-track professional program. We learned under a veteran world-class Executive Chef Barbara Alexander. We had one year to take it all in. But, there was this guy…

Matt came from a foodie family. He’d been working with his uncle, a general contractor after graduating from San Francisco State. Weekend mornings at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market helped inspire him to take the leap north to Napa Valley Cooking School, where there was this girl…

I ended up not getting sent home. I graduated. Matt got an apprenticeship at a Michelin Star restaurant and wound up in wine-making and eventually beer-making at Trumer Pils in Berkeley, CA where he rose to Head Brewer. I was hired on as an instructor at the cooking school where I got to teach (and keep learning) professional culinary for several more years. I also taught recreational cooking for our Food & Wine Enthusiast program. It was as great as it sounds.

Then we got married, had Betsy and quickly realized we could not afford the Bay Area. We thought my home town of Sewickley, Pennsylvania might be more accommodating to a single income family so we packed up and headed east.

Matt went back to contracting and started Noble Improvement Building Services, a company that specializes in residential bathroom and kitchen remodels. I started the noble home, a food and lifestyle website.

We had two more kids, Jack and then Merritt. And then we headed north.

What We’re Gonna Do

We’ve lived in New Wilmington for two years and we’re sold. We love it. We want to be a part of the renaissance that we are seeing in this special place. So we’re going to showcase local growers on our menu. We hope to give our neighbors somewhere new to share a beer and a meal. We want to continue to provide Westminster alum and students a welcoming setting to make more memories. We hope to give tourists a great spot to relax and and see Amish carts go by right in town. And finally, we’re going to give ourselves somewhere to eat in New Wilmington!

Thank you for joining us.

With Gratitude,

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