Longwood reopens renovated Terrace Restaurant

Longwood Gardens has always been a treat for the eyes, and now Longwood aims to be a treat for the palate as well.

The botanical garden on Route 1 fully reopened its Terrace Restaurant last month, but held a special reception Wednesday for the press.

Work on the $2 million project began in January with just parts of the restaurant being closed at any one time so people could still use other areas for dining.

The restaurant now has themed rooms, the rustic Lodge with a fireplace, the Gallery with art work from the continuing education classes at Longwood, the Founders Room, a more formal dining area called the 1906 room and the central cafeteria.

Along with the face lift, however, comes a change in the caterer, Restaurant Associates. This is the second time Restaurant Associates has been at Longwood. The company also provides foodservice at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Winterthur Museum & Country Estate.

Longwood Director Paul Redman said the update was long overdue, but that the change is already bringing music to his ears.

“It’s been a great experience in partnering with RA” Redman said. “In the last two months that they’ve been here at Longwood I have received so many compliments about the quality of the food, the quality of the service which is very nice for someone sitting in my position. You always want to hear the good things.”

Ed Sirhal, president of Restaurant Associates, said the menu has been revamped from the cafeteria to the restaurant.

“We’ve really focused on fresh, seasonal, locally grown ingredients,” Sirhal said. “Our goal is to make the food program, the dining program as good as the garden itself, to reflect that level of excellence.”

In addition to the facility renovation and the updated menu, the restaurant is also providing another service for Longwood.

“We have a philosophy that anything that is organic or has carbon never leaves the property,” Redman said.

All food waste from the dining facility is composted on site as are most of the utensils, plates and cups from the cafeteria, he said.

Another area of recycling is that stools that go around a large table in one of the new rooms, the Lodge, have seats made from recycled seat belts, according to Communications manager Patricia Evans.

Lighting is also energy efficient with T5 lamps and metal halide fixtures consuming less energy and having longer life than incandescent lamps.

The full-service dining room, 1906, is named in honor of the year Pierre du Pont purchased the original property that he developed into Longwood Gardens. The completely redesigned fine dining restaurant offers fresh fare and beautiful décor for a sophisticated dining experience. The new menu highlights fruits, vegetable and meats, bringing the freshest ingredients to our guests and features local specialties like the Longwood Gardens Mushroom Soup and the Shellbark Hollow Farms goat cheese omelet.

The new café opens at 10 a.m. with breakfast muffins and pastries, and also offers a full lunch. Each station has a reference to nature:  Pressed for Thyme has quick pick items; Harvest Cuisine has daily-rotating main courses and sides; Field of Greens allows guests to choose their ingredients for a freshly tossed salad; and Four Seasons of Flavor includes pizza and flatbreads as well as specialty sandwiches.  A selection of soups, kids’ meals and desserts are also available.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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