PHOENIXVILLE - With a menu described as "seasonal American with French influences," the latest restaurant to open their doors along the 200 block of Bridge Street is Majolica.
Pronounced "mah-joe-lee-ca," the bistro has been open for the past 10 days at 258 Bridge Street. The building, infamously known as the former Phoenix Tavern, was sold in 2003 and had been under renovations until this past November.
Co-owner and head chef Andrew Deery said their entrees will be prepared with the freshest of ingredients, and those that are in season.
"We won't be using tomatoes in the winter," said Deery. "We'll be cooking with fresh ingredients every day."
Trained in French culinary techniques, Deery said he's looking to distinguish the restaurant from traditional French cooking.
"Our sauces will be lighter than usual French sauces," he said. "There'll be less cream and butter in them. Our portions are small, which will encourage multi-course meals."
Majolica is the first venture for Deery and co-owner Sarah Johnson, who are both Phoenixville natives. They each graduated from Phoenixville High School - Deery in 1989, Johnson in 1994. The couple met while both were employed at the Kimberton Inn.
"I was a line cook and she was a server," said Deery. "We've been continuously employed in the hospitality area and it was a few years ago when we decided to pursue this. Phoenixville is an opportune place to open a restaurant of this nature."
Deery said he credits building owner Ed Goodavage and Barry Cassidy of the Main Street Program-Community Development Corp. (CDC) for making Majolica a possibility.
"I approached Barry Cassidy months ago about opening a restaurant in Phoenixville," he said. "Barry introduced me to Ed, and it was Ed who did all of the renovations to the building. Both men have been instrument in making this whole thing happen."
The atmosphere inside Majolica consists of contemporary green shaded walls adorned with local artwork. Eleven copper-topped tables set for four rest upon polished wooden floors, and the restaurant is lit with several rows of track lighting.
During dinner, Deery said the lights are usually lowered and jazz music is piped in.
As for Majolica's specialties, Deery, along with sous' chef Scott Ewing, spoke of the chicken liver mousse, toasted brioche and roasted apples ($7) as a popular appetizer, while entrees include the wild salmon, braised scallion with horse radish ice cream ($17). Prior to dessert, there is a cheese selection, honeycomb walnuts and red grapes ($12). Rounding out the menu includes desserts such as bittersweet chocolate souffle, tarragon anglaise ($7). The appetizers range from $7 to $12; the main courses are $17 to $22; and desserts are $5 to $7.
The name Majolica, said Deery, comes from the couple's desire to pay homage to Phoenixville and the highly collectible pieces of earthenware pottery made by Griffin Smith & Hall from 1880 to 1890.
Since their opening, Deery said, business has been good.
"We've gotten a lot of customers through word-of-mouth," he said. "People have been coming in before and after seeing a movie at the theater. Everyone's been complimentary and pleased with our product. We've opened the doors, and people have been trying us out."
Majolica is located at 258 Bridge Street, Phoenixville. Their phone number is 610-917-0962. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations start at 6 p.m. on the half-hour during the week; and on Fridays and Saturdays, two seatings from 6 to 6:30 and 8 to 8:30.