Stone Grille & Taphouse
Location: 204 St. Charles Way, York Township
Jess' pick: Chicken Oscar with Smoked Gouda Mac 'n' Cheese, $16.95; Peanut Butter Cheesecake, $6.95
Hours: Kitchen hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Restaurant/lounge hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Price range: $3.95, cup of Stone Grille Lager Cheese Soup; $46.95, 50 jumbo wings
Alcohol: Yes, full bar
Accepts: Cash and credit
Kid's menu: Yes
Details: Call 717-741-1159, visit stonegrille andtaphouse.com or search Stone Grille & Taphouse on Facebook
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Behind the scenes at Stone Grille & Taphouse, the freezer is nearly empty.
That's because about 98 percent of menu items are freshly made, owner Danette Small-Shultz said.
It's a big change for the restaurant, which was Tailgaters for 16 years under Small-Shultz and her husband's ownership. Last year it switched to focus on craft brews and a family-friendly environment.
"The clientele has changed drastically," Small-Shultz said.
On a recent Saturday night when I visited, families with kids were dining alongside couples on date nights.
That's what happens when a menu like Stone Grille's strikes a balance – 30 beers, many of which were seasonal, were listed on tap; also listed were six kids entrees for $5.95 each, including a side and drink.
Twice a year, Small-Shultz said they'll revise the menu. They'll look at what did well and what flopped the year before, and then make changes to reflect seasonal tastes.
Around May, that means more seafood, such as scallops and lobster fritters, on the spring/summer menu. Around October, expect more comfort foods like braised ribs and seafood pot pie for fall/winter.
On a cold winter night when I arrived, the atmosphere in Stone Grille was warm, from the stone backdrop at the hostess station to the TVs throughout the restaurant. Table, booth and bar seating was available.
The Chicken Oscar I ordered arrived with spears of asparagus crossed over chicken breast and lump crab cake, all topped with a Meyer Lemon Hollandaise, for $16.95. The entree came with one side; I picked the Smoked Gouda Mac 'n' Cheese, which was creamy and – true to its name – smoky in flavor.
Other customer favorites on the current menu are prime rib, crab cakes and the lobster mac and cheese, Small-Shultz said.
The steaks are popular, she said, because of the meat's quality – certified Angus beef.
Also on the menu are salads like the Poached Pear ($9.95), sandwiches like the Key West Cuban ($8.95) and appetizers like the Philly Cheesesteak Poutine ($7.95) – plus wood stone oven pizzas ranging from Tuscan to Thai Chicken (both $11.95).
Stone Grille's desserts are just as worthy of the spotlight as its entrees. I ended the night with Peanut Butter Cheesecake (all desserts are $6.95). The rich slice included chunks of peanut butter cups served on an Oreo cookie crust and topped with a chocolate drizzle.
The cheesecake and Chocolate Stout Brownie stay on the menu year-round, but the other items – Tiramisu, Pumpkin Creme Brulee and Baked Apple Crisp are seasonal, Small-Shultz said. All are among the items made in Stone Grille's own kitchen.
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