736 South Main Street
Winston Salem, NC 27101
Interior View (click on photos to enlarge)
Pumpkin Muffins & Butter
Honey Mustard & Pecan Chicken Salad Croissant & Hand Cut Fries
Grilled Portabella Reuben with German Potato Salad
This is a review of a restaurant called The Tavern located in a historic part of Winston Salem, North Carolina called Old Salem. The house that the restaurant is in was built in 1816. The restaurant is family operated and features dishes inspired by Moravians living in Salem during the 19th century. This is such a wonderful and unique restaurant that you must visit, if you are ever in Winston Salem! The waitstaff wears Moravian outfits and the atmosphere is delightful. It would be a truly candlelit dinner at night since candles are all that light the rooms at night. I highly recommend making reservations since this is a very popular restaurant and being located in a tourist area makes it that much more busy. We arrived around noon yesterday, which was a Saturday, and the wait time was about fifteen to twenty minutes. There are a few seats in the reception area to sit on while you wait, but most of the seats are located on the front porch. So if you don't want to sit out in the heat or cold depending on that day's weather, call ahead! I didn't mind the wait since I was enjoying the unique atmosphere which I had not experienced since being in Williamsburg, Virginia many years ago. It appears that the original layout of the rooms has not been changed, so you may be eating in what was once a bedroom, dining room, living room, etc. There is also a covered outdoor eating area with picnic tables in the rear. We ate upstairs in the right front room which was probably a bedroom back in 1816 and it looks like it still has the original fireplace. There isn't a lot of light coming through the windows due to the shade from the large, old trees that line Main Street. The trees cool the sidewalks, so our walk around Main Street wasn't as hot which was nice since it was around 90 degrees that day. If you would like to order an alcoholic drink while you wait, there is a bar in the left front room on the ground floor. Click here to see the extensive bar menu.
One of the receptionists took us upstairs to our table after a twenty minute wait. Later, the friendly waiter introduced himself and took our order. About four minutes later he brought out our drinks and the basket which had three little pumpkin muffins in it with some butter. He told us that they ran out of the yeast rolls and would bring some out as soon as they had made more. The muffins were very good, but I was anxious to try the yeast rolls. They came out without butter even though he said he would bring us more. That's my only complaint about the waiter, the rest of the service was very good. The yeast rolls were good even without butter and they were nice and warm. Twenty two minutes later our food arrived. This is certainly not a restaurant you want to go to if you are in a hurry. This is a slow yet relaxing dining experience, so keep that in mind. It's so relaxing you may want to take a nap afterwards.
I ordered the Honey Mustard & Pecan Chicken Salad and chose Hand Cut Fries as my side item. The side item choices listed on their website are: Sweet Potato Fries, Hand Cut Fries, Chips, Country Style Potato Salad, Cucumber, Tomato & Red Onion Potato Salad and Side Salad. They must have updated the menu because I don't remember seeing a couple of those on the menu yesterday. I remember them offering Sweet Potato Fries which were very popular, I saw them on lots of customer's plates, the Hand Cut Fries, and the German Potato Salad that my husband ordered. The sandwich was heavenly and had a bit of sweetness to it. This is crave worthy for sure! Just thinking about it is making me hungry. It had a very generous portion of chicken and I was full after just eating half of it, but I managed to finish it off because it was so good. They describe it as chicken breast, candied pecans, whole grain honey mustard on a toasted croissant with lettuce and tomato. It was perfect and the croissant was very fresh. I'm picky about my croissants, so I was very happy that it was up to my standards. I would definitely order this again though there are so many other items on the menu I want to try first. The fries weren't all that great, some of them were dried out so I'll order something different next time. The seasoning on them was very good though.
Hubby ordered the Grilled Portabella Ruben with a side of German Potato Salad. It's described as swiss cheese, german mustard, Russian dressing and house made sauerkraut. I had to laugh when he declared "there's no meat on this sandwich". Yep, he made the mistake of ordering a vegetarian meal. He's been doing that a lot lately which is funny because when I first met him, he told me (an ex-vegetarian) that he would never eat anything vegetarian. They do have another version of the ruben which has corned beef on it. I assure you he will not make that mistake next time. I told him to order the brats but he didn't listen. There isn't a lot of light in the rooms to see the menu, so you may want to look online to decide what you will order prior to visiting, especially if you will be dining after sunset! He really enjoyed his sandwich even though it was without meat. The German Potato Salad was different than he expected and he wasn't fond of it and plans to order something else next time. The food was served on slate even though the table was set with round, metal plates which were taken away before our meals came out.
The waiter spoke of a very tempting list of items for dessert, but we were too full to order anything. Maybe in the winter we will order it to go after our meal. I get the impression the dessert menu changes often and I noticed they list some of them on a chalkboard on the front porch. The soups look good too, but they were out of the kale soup Hubby was thinking of ordering. In addition, the appetizers look very tempting and I plan to order one of the cheese or meat plates, if we go for their dinner service. Click here to read the Lunch Menu and click here for their Dinner Menu, mind you I don't think it's the updated version.
Prices for lunch range from $8.75-10.50 and for dinner $13-26. Their sanitation score is currently 98% which is excellent. Parallel parking is available on Main street and is free. I highly recommend you visit this restaurant as soon as you can, it's terrific! If you live in the area, you have no excuse not to and if you are traveling through on your way to Charlotte, Raleigh, South Carolina, Virginia or Tennessee, you must stop for a lunch break there! If you are visiting Winston Salem, put this restaurant on the top of your list. Which reminds me, it has a nice tourist feel with many of the customers being tourists. Most of the people in North Carolina are very friendly, but tourists seem to be even more willing to chat with strangers in a touristy area.
Finally, if you can make time, take a walk down the street and visit the lovely shops. There are some Old Salem educational buildings that you need a ticket to visit, but the shops are open to all. It's a really pretty walk with shade and a bit of a breeze. If you walk to the other end of Main Street, you will be reminded it's in fact 2015, not 1816, since the Wachovia Tower will be waving at you with it's hard to miss unusual, round, bullet shaped roof.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews for the Raleigh, Triangle area (search engine is over on the right side) and my latest ones for the Winston Salem, Triad area are linked below:
Amigos Mexican Grill - King, NC
Atelier on Trade Bakery & Café - Winston Salem, NC
Chef Samir Shaltout - Greensboro, NC
Dairi-O - King, NC
Hakka Chow - Winston Salem, NC
Jolo Winery - Pilot Mountain, NC
Le Kebab - Charlotte, NC
Little Italy - King, NC
Mary's Gourmet Diner - Winston Salem, NC
Mooney's Mediterranean Cafe - Winston Salem, NC
Mizu Japanese Cuisine - Winston Salem, NC
Thai Cafe - King, NC
The Marshall Free House - Greensboro, NC
The Porch Kitchen & Cantina - Winston, NC
Village Tavern - Winston Salem, NC
I have several more restaurant reviews in the works, so be sure to stop by again soon. We just moved to the Winston Salem area from the Raleigh area, so my list of reviews is just starting for the Piedmont. What are your favorite restaurants in the Piedmont Triad area?
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