Broasted chicken and neighborhood charm are just the start at the historic Seven Valleys bar
If you find yourself at The Valley Tavern in Seven Valleys, you’ve got a story to tell.
It’s about six miles as the crow flies from the Maryland border, and it’s the kind of place where you can smoke a cigarette with your burger and order a piece of Buffalo Bill’s Maple Pepper Beef Jerky with every pitcher of your favorite light beer.
If you have a motorcycle, ride it; you’ll feel right at home. But don’t expect anything but awkward gazes if you strut in wearing a sweater. Regardless of your appearance, though, the regulars will chum up to you.
Today, The Valley Tavern, known for its broasted chicken (Wednesday and Thursday’s all-you-can-eat dinner special), celebrates its 10th anniversary – a decade of slinging beers to the locals and serving up hot plates of classic comfort food. This is an old-school American tavern, equipped with a dartboard, pool table, jukebox and “Walker, Texas Ranger” reruns playing on the main TV.
In light of the momentous occasion, owner Meg Fullerton reflects on the work she and her husband, Terry, have put into the place. “We’ve brought in regular entertainment, improved the quality of food and added a bunch of new dishes. It’s a work in progress and you can’t lay down on it.” Terry and Meg Fullerton have spent the past 10 years re-branding and building The Valley Tavern back up from the state in which its original owners left it.
As I walked into the bar side of the tavern, I was a little intimidated – overdressed and toting a leather computer bag. (If you ask anyone there, it might as well have been a purse.) Now, I grew up in this kind of joint – I learned to shoot pool and drink whiskey at a corner bar just like this. If I were home, this place would feel like walking into Cheers.
And just like my little hometown bar, everyone needs to know who you are and what you’re up to.
The night I was there (and, probably, every night) it seemed like everyone there knew each other – what they did, what they drank, how much they drank and about what time they go to bed every night.
To get down to business, I ordered 10 bourbon wings, the crab fries and that famous broasted chicken. The wings were done just right, sopping with sauce but crispy. In retrospect, I maybe should have been a little more creative with the wings – there are 20 different wing sauces on the menu, after all, and it’s not every day you see General Tso or Salted Caramel chicken wings.
The fries were smothered in hot cheesy liquid and peppered with real crabmeat – not “Krab.” The crab fries were my favorite part of my visit. Nothing healthy about ’em; just good old tavern food.
As for that famed broasted chicken… I’ve asked around and other sources report that “broasted chicken” is actually fried chicken made in a pressure cooker. The broasted chicken at The Valley Tavern was indeed similar to fried chicken, served piping hot and in a basket. This might just be your mama’s recipe; but it’s damn good.
True, The Valley Tavern is as classic of a blue-collar bar as they come, but if you’ve got a hankering for some crab fries (and you should), but don’t want that sort of atmosphere, adjacent to the barroom is a more family-friendly restaurant area that plenty comfortable.
But if you’re going to make the trip, I’d recommend ponying up to a stool and getting to know the locals. It’s how Meg and Terry would want you to do it. And it’s how Seven Valleys residents have done it for exactly 10 years.
• 1 Cherry St, Seven Valleys
• Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-12 a.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 a.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-12 a.m.