Fireside Tavern offers the best of all worlds. Located in Strasburg, the views of picturesque farm fields from the front windows and the tree-shaded patio are stunning. Plus there’s great food and service that’s topped with a warm, casual atmosphere.
“We combine casual dining with impeccable service and outstanding food. This truly is a place where friends gather – we have a lot of ‘regulars’ as well as visitors,” says Stephanie Kirkessner, who partners with her husband, Steve, and David Haines as owners of Fireside Tavern. If the names sound familiar, then you’re a veteran of the local restaurant scene. Steve and Dave formerly partnered in D & S Brasserie. Before that Dave was the owner of Lancaster’s Harmony Inn (now the Belvedere Inn), and Steve was the chef. Although the two left the restaurant business after selling D & S Brasserie, they found they missed being involved in the industry and reunited to open Fireside Tavern in June 2008.
The building itself is a mellow brick Colonial. The restaurant features three dining areas on the main level, each of which features a working fireplace and TVs. “We’ve placed the TVs high enough to allow people who want to watch them to see them, but they’re also at a height that’s great for people who don’t want to watch,” Stephanie explains.
The main dining room to the left of the entrance lobby seats about 200. Garlands of miniature lights give it an inviting feel. A smaller dining area and the tavern are located to the right of the lobby.
The tavern is home to the bar, which is adorned with mugs belonging to its Mug Club members, and unique wooden signs (each with its own story). The tavern also features a seating area by the fireplace, as well as high-top tables for dining. It opens onto an enclosed patio area. “The tavern is our most requested seating area; people love the atmosphere,” Stephanie reports. “Even on a gray winter day, it’s filled with light.”
The menu features an array of appetizers, lite fare options, sandwiches and burgers, soups, salads and entrées. Soups, which are made on the premises, include Davy’s Fireside Chili and the restaurant’s signature Original Tomato Bisque, which according to Stephanie, is the recipe that Steve and Dave created for D & S Brasserie.
Entrée choices range from crab cakes (including a gluten-free option) to steaks, and include such items as Shepherd’s Pie, rack of ribs and Braised Beef. Fireside Tavern’s salmon, which is smoked in-house, is used to create Apricot Salmon (Cajun seasoning/apricot reduction), as well as the Smoked Salmon BLT Salad and a smoked salmon appetizer. Chef’s specials feature seasonal ingredients. Additionally, there are daily specials such as Mexican and Margaritas on Tuesdays and Wings and Yuengs on Sundays.
Menu items are complemented by the tavern’s selection of brews, including 14 draft brews with some local microbrews, bottled craft brews and bottled domestic and imports, and an extensive wine list that includes a few local selections. Last month the restaurant hosted a dinner that paired New Belgium Beer selections with a seasonal inspired menu.
There’s also a selection of tempting desserts that include locally made ice cream and the signature Fireside Dream – a chocolate-fudge-like dessert smothered with chocolate ganache and drizzled with white chocolate.
Fireside tavern will offer its very popular Thanksgiving Day buffet in the ballroom from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stephanie notes that it’s open seating and reservations are required. The menu includes carved items; a soup, fish and cold station that features smoked salmon and steamed shrimp; traditional Thanksgiving favorites such as bread filling, whipped potatoes, sweet potato soufflé and roasted Lancaster County turkey; items sure to appeal to a child’s taste; and a dessert extravaganza featuring seasonal favorites. More information is available on the restaurant’s website.
Fireside Tavern also offers meeting and event space. There are two meeting rooms on the second floor and a large 300-seat ballroom in an adjoining building. Stephanie notes that the smaller rooms are the perfect size for rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, birthday or anniversary parties, and family holiday events.
Fireside Tavern, 1500 Historic Drive, Strasburg. 687-7979 or dsfireside.com. Hours: Sunday & Monday, 4-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Reservations accepted and preferred.