34th Annual Gourmet Gala


Date: Sunday, May 6

Time: 4-7 p.m. (Bidding on Silent Auction items, 4-6:30 p.m.)

Location: Excelsior, 125 E. King St., Lancaster

Tickets: $90 for members of the Historic Preservation Trust; $100 for non-members; $30 discount for those 30 years old and under. Block of 10 tickets for members available at $850; block of 10 tickets for non-members available at $950.

Information & tickets: 717-291-5861, director@hptrust.org or hptrust.org.


Manbel Devco III LP – Shoppes at Belmont; Post & Schell, P.C.

Advanced Landscapes; Beers + Hoffman Architects + Interior Design; Benjamin Roberts Office Interior; Conestoga View Nursing & Rehabilitation; Ephrata National Bank; Eve Environmental; Galebach’s Floor Finishing, Inc.; High Real Estate Group; J&J Heating & Cooling; Jeff LeFevre, Realtor; Lancaster County Solid Waste Management; Land Transfer Co.; Musselman Lumber; One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning; Orrstown Bank and Orrstown Financial Advisors; PPL; Pure Water Technology; Redcay Development Companies; Rhoads Energy; RLPS Architects; Susquehanna Style; The Groves Retirement Home; Trout, Ebersole & Groff, LLP; Two Dudes Painting Company

Media Sponsor: Lancaster County magazine

The Setting

Excelsior has timeless charm, alluring architecture and a rich history, all of which captivate the attention of its guests. It is the perfect combination of preservation and conservation, which is why the Historic Preservation Trust chose to once again host its annual Gourmet Gala there.

“It was just such a perfect fit for us,” says Christi Johnson, who serves as the organization’s treasurer, of last year’s venue choice. “Since it went so well, we thought why change it, when it worked so perfectly.” She hopes that Excelsior’s encore performance will entice more people to attend the Gourmet Gala. “We want more of the community to have the opportunity to come and see this historic building and everything that’s been redone there. It’s truly fabulous!”

Excelsior is a premier events venue located in downtown Lancaster. The 35,500 square foot complex is comprised of several properties that were built by brewer and businessman John A. Sprenger between 1852 and 1873. The properties consist of the four-story Excelsior building, the multi-story Sprenger Building (complete with brewer’s catacombs), the connecting terrace and the foundation left from Sprenger’s original home, now serving as a garden courtyard.

Sprenger Brewery shut down its operation in 1951. Westenberger, Maley & Myers furniture store took ownership of the property shortly after but closed its doors in 1977, leaving the site abandoned for almost four decades.

During the spring of 2015, a restorative plan and savvy business strategy were approved to have Excelsior fully funded for development and restoration. Owners John and Kelly Dantinne opened the one-of-a-kind venue to the public in 2016.

Excelsior is able to comfortably accommodate approximately 500 guests for a number of occasions. The venue provides up to seven spaces, allowing guests to venture throughout. Individuals can explore the Garden Courtyard, Catacombs, open-air Terrace, Empire Room and Grande Salon.

Visitors will be amazed by the venue’s offering of both indoor and outdoor spaces; it also has two open-air green spaces. Described as “Sophisticated Urban Elegance,” Excelsior, which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a magnificent landmark that offers an elevated experience and a refreshing atmosphere for those who visit. Excelsiorlancaster.com and on Facebook.

The Cause

The Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County celebrates the preservation of Lancaster County’s architectural history. Founded in 1966, the Trust has been directly involved in preserving more than three dozen landmarks that are of great importance to the history of the county, including the Trust’s headquarters, the Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House (1787), where Andrew Ellicott tutored Meriwether Lewis on navigational skills prior to the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

Keeping these treasures alive, the Trust helps to develop ways to salvage the old structures, whether that means restoring entire buildings or dismantling materials to repurpose and reconstruct it elsewhere.

Some of the properties the Trust has helped to save over the years include the home of Thaddeus Stevens, the neighboring Lydia Hamilton Smith House, the Watt & Shand building and Lancaster Central Market.

The Trust also maintains a Watch List, which is overseen by the Preservation Action Committee. It pinpoints 10 properties in the county that are in danger of disappearing either by demolition to make way for new development or by neglect.

The properties on the 2017 Watch List – located in Lititz, Lancaster, Paradise, Neffsville, and East Donegal, Fulton, East Lampeter and Manor townships – show promise for adaptive reuse. In fact, two properties from previous Watch Lists have been renovated and now function as an office and a restaurant.

“Lancaster has such rich architectural history and, once that’s gone, there’s nothing you can do about it,” Christi notes. “So, it’s really important to educate people and protect what we do have to keep it such a unique and beautiful area.”

Being active within the various communities of Lancaster County is one of the many ways the Trust creates awareness of its mission. Other means of creating awareness include working with the townships and boroughs, communicating through the Trust’s updated website and other social media outlets, and attending and hosting events.

“The Gourmet Gala is our largest fundraiser,” Christi explains. “It’s held every year, and it’s just a wonderful way to celebrate historical buildings and bring the community together while also helping us to continue our cause. Our most important objective is continuing our mission of preservation and restoration throughout the county.”

Hoping to persuade the younger generation to support its mission, the Trust will once again be offering a discount for those 30 and under. Christi says the Trust extended the $30 discount last year and hopes it will encourage younger downtown residents to attend the event this year. Hptrust.org


The Vendors

Altana: Experience Lancaster’s ultimate urban escape at Altana’s rooftop lounge. Dine on delicious dishes, indulge in breath-taking views and sip on refreshing libations. On the gala menu: Seasonal specialty. 26 E. King St., Lancaster. 717-690-2347 or 26eastlancaster.com/altana.

Annie Bailey’s Irish Public House: Modeled after a Victorian Dublin-style pub, Annie Bailey’s offers a wide-ranging menu that includes signature Irish dishes as well as American favorites. The beer selection – craft, imports and domestics – is also extensive. On the gala menu: Chef’s special. 28-30 E. King St., Lancaster. 717-393-4000 or anniebaileys.com.

Bistro Barberet & Bakery: Relish classic French cuisine created by award-winning Chef Cedric Barberet and his team. Explore your sweet tooth with an array of pastry creations and classic desserts. On the gala menu: A selection of French pastries. 26 E. King St., Lancaster. 717-690-2354 or 26eastlancaster.com/barberet.

Cabalar Meat Co.: This family-operated butcher and grocer offers locally sourced beef, pork, poultry and produce. Cabalar utilizes the “whole animal” philosophy, practices sustainable farming and creates quality house-made products. On the gala menu: Chef’s selection. 325 N. Queen St., Lancaster. 717-208-7344 or cabalarmeatco.com.

Callaloo Trinidadian Kitchen: Enjoy the flavors of Trinidad and Tobago at this Caribbean eatery, which also serves up dishes with French, Indian, African and Asian influences. On the gala menu: Trinidadian specialties. 351 N. Mulberry St., Lancaster. 717-824-3964 or callalootrinidadiankitchen.com.

Cameron Estate Inn & Restaurant: Discover a unique lodging and dining experience at this historic inn that features 15 acres of lawns, gardens, babbling streams and woodland. It’s award-winning, fine-dining restaurant specializes in cuisine made with fresh and local ingredients. On the gala menu: Smoked beef brisket with tomato-onion jam, mini crab cakes and flavored water. 1855 Mansion Ln., Mount Joy. 717-492-0111 or cameronestateinn.com.

Cracked Pepper Catering: Owners Joe and Christine Hess (no relation) capture the unique flavors and styles that go into planning a special event. With a talented team of chefs, Cracked Pepper Catering has “inspiring cuisine you’ll love.” On the gala menu: Pulled pork on a potato pancake and chickpea salad. 341 E. Liberty St., Lancaster. 717-682-2504 or crackedpepperlancaster.com.

Devon Seafood + Steak: This upscale restaurant offers simply prepared fresh fish, premium steaks, imaginative seafood dishes, an impressive wine list, and handcrafted cocktails in a chic-casual atmosphere. On the gala menu: Chef’s choice. 27 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey. 717-508-5460 or devonseafood.com.

Dutch Haven Shoo-Fly Pie Bakery: If you’ve driven along Route 30 in Ronks, then you’ve seen Dutch Haven’s distinctive windmill. The bakery has been selling and shipping shoofly pies for more than 70 years. On the gala menu: Shoofly pie. 2857-A Lincoln Hwy. East, Ronks. 717-687-0111 or dutchhaven.com.

Federal Taphouse Lancaster: The taphouse is known for its beer selection – 100 craft beers on tap from as near as Lancaster County to as far away as Scandinavia – and coal-fired oven in which pizza, burgers and seafood are prepared. On the gala menu: Specialty of the house. 201 N. Queen St., Lancaster. 717-490-6932 or federaltaphouselanc.com.

Geneva Bakery Café: The full-service bakery creates made-to-order cakes, pies, cookies and pastries (baked daily). They also serve freshly brewed Gerhart Coffees and savory dishes, such as quiche, frittatas, soups and more. On the gala menu: Cake truffles and more. 6030 Lemon St., East Petersburg. 717-569-5919 or genevabakerycafe.com.

Gypsy Kitchen: Ed and Ellen Diller operate this catering company out of Lancaster Theological Seminary’s Dietz Hall Refectory. In addition, they also offer lunch (Mon.-Fri.) and dinner (Fri. & Sat.), eat-in or take-out. The menu also offers vegan and gluten-free items. On the gala menu: Lamb charbroiled sliders with Linden Dale chevre. 555 W. James St., Lancaster. 717-824-2714 or eatgypsykitchen.com.

Harvest at The Hotel Hershey: Experience fresh seasonal fare and a variety of beverages – including micro-brews, cocktails and American wines – at Harvest. Dine on American cuisine inspired by local and regional ingredients. On the gala menu: Chef’s special. 100 Hotel Rd., Hershey. 717-534-8800 or thehotelhershey.com/dining/harvest.php.

John Wright Restaurant: This riverside restaurant is the perfect setting for an intimate date night, family celebration or just getting lost in the view. Enjoy fresh, seasonal, locally produced foods and a spectacular view of the Susquehanna River. On the gala menu: Mexican cored salmon & smoked pork shank. 234 N. Front St., Wrightsville. 717-252-0416 or jwrpa.com.

La Petite Patisserie: The boutique bakery bakes everything on-site using the finest ingredients. Located on Gallery Row in downtown Lancaster, the bakery offers a rotating variety of pastries, including an extensive selection of French macarons. On the gala menu: Macarons, Russian tea cakes and mini cupcakes. 136 N. Prince St., Lancaster. 717-424-1631 or petitedessert.com.

Lonely Monk Coffees: Offering “fine coffees for a fair world,” Lonely Monk Coffees has a unique micro-roasting process that creates a fresh and expressive cup of coffee. The company’s coffees are exceptional in quality and purchased in a way that fairly values the coffee grower. On the gala menu: A selection of coffee. 279 Black Oak Dr., Lancaster. 717-201-0267 or lonelymonkcoffees.com.

Nissley Vineyards: Lancaster County’s premier winery for four decades, Nissley continues to add accolades to its long list of awards, both nationally and internationally. The winery hosts vibrant events and produces exceptional wine. On the gala menu: A selection of Nissley Estate-bottled wines. 140 Vintage Dr., Bainbridge. 717-426-3514 or nissleywine.com.

Penn Square Grille: Located in the former Watt & Shand Department Store, the Grille offers a variety of delicious classics whether it’s for a business meeting, dinner for two, or a meal for the entire family. On the gala menu: Chef’s special. 2 E. King St., Lancaster. 717-207-4033 or pennsquaregrille.com.

Root: Lancaster’s all-vegan restaurant and bar features a variety of dishes with a “vegan twist.” The food menu changes every six to eight weeks, and the bar is always stocked with vegan-friendly beer, wine and liquor. On the gala menu: Oyster mushroom with pistachio cream sauce. 223 W. Walnut St., Lancaster. 717-826-9130 or rootoflancaster.com.

Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom: This savory boutique treats its oils and vinegars like fine wines and allows customers to taste before they buy. Stainless-steel Italian fustis help preserve the products’ quality, flavors and healthy antioxidants. On the gala menu: Tasting bar and apricot fresh basil shrub. 36 W. King St., Lancaster. 717-396-1380 or seasonstaproom.com.

Signature Catering on King: As the new exclusive in-house catering group at Excelsior, Signature Catering on King develops creative menus, meals and settings for one-of-a-kind memorable occasions. On the gala menu: Signature specialties. 125 E. King St., Lancaster. 717-468-2585 or signatureonking.com.

Stateside Urbancraft Vodka: Handmade in Philadelphia, Stateside Urbancraft Vodka is a custom-designed vodka production facility that declares its passion as a distillery. On the gala menu: Select vodka and mixers. 1700 N. Hancock St., Philadelphia. 215-425-4200 or statesidevodka.com.

Stoll & Wolfe Distillery: Each bottle of Stoll & Wolfe whiskey represents “collaboration across generations and traditions to preserve the history and future legacy of Pennsylvania Craft Whiskey.” Stoll & Wolfe utilizes distilling traditions dating back to 1753. On the gala menu: Whiskey tastings and specialty cocktails. 35 N. Cedar St., Lititz. 717-799-4499 or stollandwolfe.com.

TÈ (The Inn at Leola Village): Enjoy a convergence of the various regional styles and culinary experiences found throughout Italy in this 5-star, formal Italian restaurant, where the staff works to create an ambiance filled with the warmth, buoyancy and light heartedness of the Italian spirit. On the gala menu: Potato gnocchi bites with goat cheese, pistachio, brown butter, sage and apple, and dessert. 38 Deborah Dr., Leola. 717-556-8715 or teattheinn.com.

The Log Cabin: Built in 1929, the original building was constructed with oak logs from the surrounding Lehoy Forest. It’s known for fine dining in a historic setting and scenic location. The staples the restaurant is known for – its steak and seafood – are the mainstays of the menu. On the gala menu: Braised pork belly, smoked sweet corn aioli and carrot salad. 11 Lehoy Forest Dr., Leola. 717-626-9999 or logcabin1933.com.

The Pressroom Restaurant: Located in the historic Steinman Hardware Building in downtown Lancaster, The Pressroom offers locally sourced dishes and hand-crafted cocktails. Enjoy outdoor seating in the adjoining urban park during warmer months. On the gala menu: Chef’s choice. 26 W. King St., Lancaster. 717-399-5400 or pressroomrestaurant.com.

Thorn Hill Vineyards: Specializing in hand-crafted artisan wines, owners Jack and Amy Thorn create full-bodied, intensely flavored, richly textured wines of structure, depth and balance that reflect the qualities of each vineyard site. On the gala menu: A selection of all California wines. 1945 Fruitville Pike, Lancaster. 717-299-3688 or thornhillvineyards.com.

Union Barrel Works: This warm brew pub, which is located in a century-old building, features uniquely brewed beer, Pennsylvania wines, distilled liquor, delicious food and friendly service all under one roof in Reamstown. On the gala menu: A selection of beer. 6 N. Reamstown Rd., Reamstown. 717-335-7837 or unionbarrelworks.com.

Waltz Vineyards: The winery is the namesake of owners Jan and Kimberly Waltz. Established in 1997, Waltz makes its home on a sixth-generation family farm that boasts world-class vineyard soils. The wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in French oak barrels. On the gala menu: A selection of premium wines. 1599 Old Line Rd., Manheim. 717-664-9463 or waltzvineyards.com.

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