LaBan gives recently reopened Hawthornes a two bell review

Hawthornes had a comeback this year, reopening in January after a fire forced the restaurant to close back in February 2014.


Now that they’ve been up and running for a few months, Craig LaBan of The Inquirer stopped in to review the reopened establishment.

Hawthornes, best known for their brunch and beer offerings, had a rough time in 2014, but things seem to be looking up for the restaurant, which also launched a beer delivery program called Quick Sip earlier this year.

LaBan gave Hawthornes a two bell review, praising some of the restaurant’s brunch offerings, but also saying that the menu, at times, can “lack finesse.”

Here’s what LaBan had to say:

Nearly a year after a devastating fire, Hawthornes has risen like a phoenix fueled by brunch and beer to reclaim its place as one of Bella Vista’s favorite hangouts, a unique Philly mash-up of retail bottle shop (with 800-plus choices in the fridge) and neighborhood restaurant focused on affordable comfort food twists. While the kitchen can lack finesse (brunch is still its best moment), the scratch cooking has heart, the service is warm and outgoing, and the cheery corner space (with its cozy fireplace nook) has recaptured the magnetic appeal that made it a hit to begin with.

While they do offer a dinner menu, LaBan seems to think that their brunch offerings are still the highlight. He mentions how some of the over-the-top dishes, like French toast with funnel cake, “walks a delicate line between witty cool-kid cuisine and unsportsmanlike use of carbs.”

However, LaBan does give praise to many of the more classic dishes on the menu, saying:

The fact is Hawthornes does not really need many novelty tricks because it has a solid grasp on the basics – especially any dishes where the kitchen’s “egg whisperer,” chef de cuisine Juan Fernandez, shows his textbook technique. The Hawthornes signature omelet brought tender short-rib meat, sweet caramelized onions and cheddar wrapped in a blanket of fluffy yellow eggs without a speck of brown color. Perfectly poached eggs were essential to their take on the hearty Pennsylvania Dutch classic, chicken and waffles, with a malted flavor adding just the right touch of sweetness to the batter, and brined boneless chicken thighs crisply fried inside their well-seasoned crust. I only wish you didn’t have to ask for a side of pure Vermont maple syrup here (a $2 upcharge over the standard maple blend).

He notes that dishes like the Hawthornes omelet, Bananas Foster waffle and chicken and waffles are brunch highlights, while the mac-‘n’-cheese with pork belly and chipotle and Hawthornes burger are among the standout dinner dishes.

Have you stopped in Hawthornes since they reopened in January?