We have returned to the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA every May for the last four years. It may be hard to believe that in all of those trips we have never once had a meal out. There was that first year when we bought some extremely overpriced sandwiches at Longwood Gardens (a mistake never repeated). And then there was the time when we still had our pop up camper, and it started to rain buckets at dinner time. We ordered pizza delivered to the campsite (seriously, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it–beats grilling in a downpour any day). So sandwiches and pizza, but never a proper sit down at any of the area eateries.
Well, there is something about perfect spring weather that always makes me want to laze around at a restaurant and be served a fantastic meal. So after we had enjoyed a beautiful morning canoeing on the Brandywine River, I just couldn’t help myself. We were supposed to be headed home, but instead we headed out to lunch.
Where to go? We consulted one of our favorite resources: the 36 Hours column from the New York Times. 36 Hours in the Brandywine Valley suggested a few lunch options, but we needed a place that wasn’t serving a Mother’s Day brunch and that sounded like we could bring in three kids without crushing the souls of our fellow diners.
Hank’s Place delivered on all fronts.
It is definitely a locals’ joint, and it took us by surprise that there is no waiting list to put your name on…just a front of the house guy who ‘remembers’ party numbers and shouts them out to the crowd on the front porch.
Nevertheless, we sat in under 15 minutes, a minor miracle on a holiday weekend.
Let’s cut to the chase: the service was wonderful, and the food was exceptional. The sign advertises Homestyle Cooking and that is what we got. Max and Theo got their tuna and turkey sandwich standbys. Wes scarfed down the homemade mac and cheese (with help from some adults at the table).
My friend Jessie and I were lucky enough to enjoy the spanakopita, which was quite honestly some of the best I have tasted (and I have traveled in Greece a bit).
Jeremy raved about the tzatziki sauce on his Gyro. I, unfortunately, have to go by word of mouth, since I didn’t get even a bite.
We arrived home later than usual on Sunday due to our spontaneous mid day hunt for the perfect lunch. It was worth it though. I have a feeling Hanks’ Place will become a fixture on our West Chester weekends. Actually, I know it will…because I will be craving that spanakopita until next May.