It’s been a year since chef Eric Yost opened the doors to Suburban Restaurant & Beer Garden in Exton’s Eagleview Town Center at 570 Wellington Square.
“I call it a little hidden gem. It’s definitely different than your usual restaurant,” he said.
Yost, who grew up in Chester County, and his team are committed to supporting local, sustainable Pennsylvania farming. He said the inspiration came from his tenure as executive chef and partner at White Dog Café in Philadelphia, which uses of organic produce and pasture fed livestock, all harvested from within 90 miles of the restaurant.
The “Farmers Room” dining room half of the restaurant is memorable for the tabletops made from reclaimed, 100-year-old barn wood, the copper plate ceiling and clear glass bottle chandelier.
Hanging on the walls of the Farmers Room are images of several of the 50+ family farms, and of the farmers themselves, that supply Suburban. Yost points out a portrait of an infamously ornery steer named after a Wu Tang Clan rapper. The beef from “Ghostface Killah” wasn’t as tender and tasty as he had hoped, but luckily that has nothing to do with the frequently changing selection of small and large bites (including vegan and gluten-free options) on the Suburban menu, which currently has such fare as cheese curds, deep-fried deviled eggs, a cheese and meat board, bratwurst with red cabbage and sauerkraut, entree salads, a Breakaway Farm burger with thick cuts of farm bacon, a Cooper’s spicy buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, pork schnitzel, short rib fries and lemon basil creme brulee.
Sometimes what’s on the menu can change with what Yost spots at a weekly growers market that will soon return to the parking lot outside the restaurant on Thursdays. Summer will bring outdoor dining, outdoor movies on Tuesdays and a courtyard for playing Giant Jenga and cornhole.
The more-informal “Beer Garden” bar side is where you can play family games like Uno, Connect Four, Sorry!, Apples to Apples and others, while you wait for your server. “Battleship’s a fun game to play over some suds,” Yost commented.
Speaking of suds, the Beer Garden is where you get the full sense of how Pennsylvania-centric Suburban’s selection of craft beers, wine and liquors really is. Don’t ask for an Absolut martini, because they won’t have Absolut vodka. Instead they serve spirits from the likes of Manatawny Still Works in Pottstown, Stateside Urbancraft Vodka from Philadelphia, Revivalist in Elverson, New Liberty Distillery out of Philadelphia and Eight Oaks Craft Distillers in New Tripoli.
Their beer selection is also unusual for being fiercely loyal to the Keystone State. It currently features brews from Neshaminy Creek (Croydon), Troeg’s (Hershey), Victory (Downingtown), Rivertowne (Pittsburgh), St. Benjamin (Philadelphia), Weyerbacher (Easton), Sly Fox (Pottstown/Phoenixville), Root Down (Phoenixville), Stoudts (Adamstown), Sterling Pig (Media), Saucony Creek (Kutztown), Yards (Philadelphia), Fegley’s Brew Works (Allentown/Bethlehem) and Levante (West Chester). If you like grabbing samples of one-off craft beers, Suburban has growlers available, emblazoned with their hex sign logo.
The Beer Garden features an open mic. night on Tuesdays and live music on Fridays and Saturdays (and sometimes on other nights as well).
Inspired by the diversity of craft brewers in the region, Yost partnered with Corey Ross of Fancy Camper Home Brew Store in Malvern. From 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to midnight Saturdays and noon to 10 p.m. Sundays, adults 21+ can hang out at Suburban Brewing Co., a nanobrewing facility that opened for business in February at 2536 Conestoga Ave., Honey Brook.
“I’ve always been into the beer. We started brewing in my garage. I thought maybe we should do something on our own,” Yost said.
The eight rotating taps at the bar can feature a variety of Suburban beers brewed on the premises, ranging from Stubby Stout, P-Fruit Gose, Left Hand Monkey Wrench pale ale, a Scottish ale named after Groundskeeper Willie from “The Simpsons,” China Cat Kolsch (named for the Grateful Dead song “China Cat Sunflower”), Maybe So Maybe Not Saison, or Conestoga Cream Ale — a favorite among the Honey Brook locals, according to Yost.
“They’re real blue collar out here, and we can sell it for five bucks,” he said of the popularity of the cream ale.
A drawback to being a nanobrewer is keeping pace with thirsty beer enthusiasts. In mid-March, kegs of their Opie Oatmeal Porter, Oh Alright American wheat ale and Here Comes Sunshine Northeast IPA were kicked.
There’s also room for two rotating guests taps, which were recently occupied by the Kragle IPA by Free Will Brewing of Perkasie and a pear cider by Wyndridge Farms of Dallastown.
Pennsylvania wine, plus Pennsylvania spirits for seasonal cocktails or to “build your own mule” are also available.
For fun, test your skills with vintage arcade games like Mat Mania; a Ms. Pac-Man machine that’s also loaded with other vintage games like Galaxian, Space Invaders, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug and more; Pac-Man Pinball; Silver Strike bowling; billiards; air hockey and more.
See more at www.suburbanbg.com.