Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sidney at Willoughby Run — Gettysburg, PA — A Restaurant Recommendation

When my siblings and I visit my parents in southern Pennsylvania, we tend to have the tradition of going out to eat at least once at my parents' favorite restaurant, Cafe D'Italia, located on the square of downtown Chambersburg. It's a delightful little place that offers real Italian cooking by a young chef who loves what he does.

This past visit, however, Cafe D'Italia was closed for renovations. My sisters and I wanted to take my parents out to celebrate their anniversary, and so we were a little bit stumped. What was close by but worthy enough to honor my parents for their anniversary dinner?

After some research, my eldest sister came up with a solution: Sidney at Willoughby Run in Gettysburg, PA. The reviews seemed to be pretty good, and so we took the plunge.

After living in Chicago and Boston more than half my life, I have to admit, I've become pretty accustomed to having my pick of super-great restaurants. I no longer fear reheated frozen vegetables on my dinner plate at the local "nice" restaurant. But when I'm back in my small hometown in ol' PA, it's pretty hard to find a place that doesn't serve just that.

So that is what I was honestly expecting when we drove up to Sidney's. It was located on a golf course, so that right there meant weddings. And when we walked in, the decor was nice, but it still had that "hotel" feel to it. You know, large rooms with "elegantly" patterned, wall-to-wall carpet. And wainscoting. And draperies. Which was all translating to "canned gravy+slices of dry roast beef" in my head.

And I was wrong. Dead wrong.

Let me just put it this way: I was shocked—SHOCKED—at not only the homey hospitality that was exuded by the staff of Sidney's but also by what the chef was cranking out of the kitchen. Every single dish we tried was delicious, beautifully presented, and accompanied by the sincerest charm of our server. I was so engrossed, in fact, that I actually forgot to take pictures!

I take that back. I did snag a shot of my parents toasting each other with the champagne that our server graciously provided to help them celebrate:

An anniversary toast, provided by Sidney at Willoughby Run in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

And I did get a shot of the glorious dessert we all shared, a creation composed of sour cherry sorbet, baby panna cottas, cilantro flowers, torn and dried cake crumbles, and crisp, piped meringues.

The sour cherry composed dessert at Sidney at Willoughby Run in Gettysburg, PA

It was a spectacular end to a spectacular evening, an anniversary celebration that we all were looking forward to, and none of us expected to be so special. 

Will we all be going back? Heck, yeah. Cafe D'Italia has got some competition finally, I believe. Anniversary or not, I think we'll find an excuse to go back to Sidney's. It's chef and it's staff have done what every restaurant dreams of doing: they completely won over our hearts.

Keep it up, Sidney. We expect to see you next time.

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