About a mile from the Quakertown exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Spinnerstown Hotel sprawls across a corner of country roads. The rural village setting seems particularly appropriate for this family restaurant, which features dining on an outside deck.
If you're in the neighborhood, burgers and sandwiches on that deck would be a fine way to celebrate a summer day. This is not a place you'll find haute cuisine expect, instead, a step up from diner fare.
The restaurant was packed on the Friday night I visited, but the service was friendly and attentive, nevertheless. I attributed a high level of noise to close quarters because of disruption from a remodeling project that will add more dining room space.
Despite a history that dates to the mid-19th century, the Spinnerstown Hotel with its white aluminum siding and green shutters looks new, for the most part. Inside, the decor is pleasant enough, but uninspired: Walls are papered with coordinating stripes and patterns in rose, sage and cream, separated by a cream chair rail. Grapevine strung with tiny white lights adds character around doorways, and Tiffany-style lights in different patterns add color to the dining rooms. White tablecloths and ecru lace curtains contribute touches of refinement.
The hotel's menu offers lots of variety: burgers, salads, deli favorites and Philly-style cheese steaks. Entree selections include seafood (breaded or broiled seafood combinations, shrimp, haddock and scallops, for example), steaks (filet mignon, Black Diamond and strip) and pasta and meat selections such as honey-dipped chicken, spaghetti with meat sauce, and chicken and veal parmigiana.
An assortment of the hotel's appetizers seemed a good way to start our meal.
Sweet potato fries were especially tasty: the thin pieces of potato were crunchy outside and tender inside. Cheese sticks offered balanced textural contrast between their crisp coating and their gooey melted centers. Rounding out the selection were meaty and moist Buffalo wings and successful fried calamari, which was thankfully tender, not tough and chewy.
Dinner salads with a lettuce mix, red cabbage and carrot were standard fare; the house-made sweet ranch dressing offered a twist to the standard that was quite enjoyable.
My companion's deviled crab patties featured creamy and piquant centers; the accompanying fried baby whole potatoes were tender and just a bit crisped outside.
Ostrich Oscar a lightly seasoned, grilled filet served on a bed of warm asparagus salad with light tarragon vinaigrette, then finished with crab hollandaise sauce was such a surprising discovery it begged tasting. The grilled meat, cooked as I requested, was tender and well flavored, but the dish as a whole was disappointing. The overcooked asparagus had lost its color and flavor, and the hollandaise, light on crab flavor, seemed to have separated, leaving a film of butter on the plate.
The dessert menu offered interesting sweets such as quadruple chocolate mousse pie (a layer of chocolate mousse topped with white chocolate mousse in a chocolate cookie crust) and ''xango'' (cheesecake and banana in a fried tortilla, served warm with vanilla ice cream and drizzles of chocolate and caramel).
We opted instead for sampling peaches and cream pie (fruit and cream cheese pudding in a deep dish crust) and a variation on that theme, strawberries and cream pie. While both were satisfying, I was disappointed that the fruit in the peach rendition was canned.
Dinner for two, including tax, tip and nonalcoholic beverages, totaled $71.
Susan Gottshall is a freelance restaurant reviewer for Go Guide. Gottshall, who tells it like it is, attempts to remain anonymous during restaurant visits. All meals are paid for by The Morning Call.
Features Editor Linda O'Connell