You drive by it when you drive to Philly or the PHL airport, but you never see it, probably because the building has always been there. Its name is the clue: Stone House Restaurant and Sports Bar, housed in the 1792 stone building on the north side of Rt. 30, right as you hit Gap. It’s worth a look—and a visit.
Owners Toni and Trudi Naaman opened the popular, more traditional Cellar Pub (another apt name) in the downstairs half of the building in 2013, but later took over the rest of the structure, renovating the upstairs into a full-blown restaurant with seating for about 100 inside and 200 on the massive new patio, and creating an additional rental events space on the third floor.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. If you want to be really healthy, chase the apple down with a glass of beer….
Where the pub is snug, the restaurant is open; where the pub is cooler and darker, the restaurant is warmer and brighter. But now the Stone House seems to have hit its stride, half a year after it opened its doors in June 2015.
“We have a lot of people who used to be regulars downstairs that now come up here and bring friends,” says Trudi. “One guy said, ‘I feel like I’m in my home.’”
The Stone House is the best of multiple worlds: Italian and American restaurant, lively sports bar and family establishment, casual eatery and formal events venue… it’s even a place where you can listen to voices both trained (bands) and untrained (karaoke). It fills a niche in a local area that’s mostly populated with unapologetic diners and upscale restaurants.
“We’re in the middle,” says Toni. “If you have family, or not, if you have a boyfriend, a few friends, whatever, you can enjoy your time here.”
Says former Cellar Pub bartender and current manager Theresa Hardy, “Sometimes a band will bring a certain crowd, and then the restaurant brings another crowd, but everyone seems to mesh well.”
Patrons can move between the pub and the restaurant, too—a staff member will gladly carry your drink up or down the back stairs for you.
The mood of the restaurant is decidedly rustic and a far cry from the way the space previously looked when it was Four Brothers Diner. The Naamans cut, built, and finished many of the tables themselves, stylish live-edged slabs of glossy golden wood. The exposed wooden beams and stone walls give the place a cozy, lodgey feeling, but the big-screen TVs and mirrors keep it from feeling claustrophobic or old-timey.
Then there’s that sun-drenched patio, with its own bar, which will (again) be packed with people come spring.
Toni and chef Abramo D’Isidoro have been working together at various venues in Lancaster and the surrounding counties for more than 20 years.
“Abramo knows the flavors,” says Trudi. “You can go to culinary school, but if you can’t taste the flavors and know what’s going to go together, it doesn’t matter.”
Thanks to D’Isidoro, quality control is to the next level: he tastes every dish he makes before sending it out. And he’s constantly coming up with new daily specials.“He can make a pizza with anything,” says Trudi. “Go buy him any weird fruit or vegetable and just leave it there—you don’t have to give it to him—and he’ll make something with it.”
The Stone House buys fresh vegetables and other ingredients daily and makes virtually everything right there in the kitchen, including gluten free pasta and pizza options every day. If you want to try the house favorites, start with the boom boom shrimp in its chili Thai sauce, even more fun to eat than it is to say.
Then enjoy either the pescatore pizza or pasta, or, if seafood will kill you, the half-pound “best burger in town” (according to Toni). Wash it down with one of six Ole Smoky moonshine cocktails exclusively developed for the restaurant.
“The only thing that’s not homemade is the alcohol!” jokes Trudi.
There’s live music every Saturday, plus karaoke on Fridays and open mic on Tuesdays, but the next big event at The Stone House falls on Saturday, Jan. 23, when Victory Brewing Company is coming from 7-9 p.m. with free tasting samples (and no cover), accompanied by live music from the Usual Suspects.
The Stone House Restaurant and Sports Bar
Address: 5267 Lincoln Hwy, Gap
Website: Try their Facebook page
Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-12 a.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Amenities: handicapped accessible, credit cards accepted, nonsmoking in building (smoking on patio), alcohol served, takeout, catering