The Greenfield Restaurant: Getting younger with age

Photographer: Steve Kale / Fly Magazine

Thanks to a thorough remodeling job, The Greenfield Restaurant has moved from Colonial to contemporary


The Greenfield Restaurant isn’t what it once was – and that’s for the better.

For one, there’s nothing “Olde” about it. And it’s not an “Inn.” No longer the Olde Greenfield Inn, the Greenfield Restaurant just had a complete facelift, bringing it into the 21st century in sophisticated style.

“We haven’t been the Olde Greenfield for years, but some people still call it that,” says Kristen Hottenstein, who grew up in the restaurant started by her parents, Ray and Sue Hottenstein. “This renovation should help to change that.”

And despite the longtime name, it actually never was an inn. The 1780s farmhouse with its historic greystone might have looked like a bed and breakfast and more than a few tourists stopped by looking for a room at the inn. But all they could offer was a table or a seat at the bar, with fresh-from-the-farm food and hand-crafted cocktails – no place to sleep.

“Taking the inn out of it has helped to end that confusion,” adds Hottenstein.

The Green Field Restaurant in Lancaster, PA

Now, the Greenfield Restaurant wants to get a few things straight. That place your parents and grandparents took you for fancy special occasion dinners is something new and different, even if it kind of looks the same from the outside.

Inside, well, that’s a whole new story. With a complete overhaul that pretty much erased the Colonial look the Greenfield Restaurant once had, the place is looking downright trendy.

The handsome grandfather clock still chimes on the hour. But above it, brand new lighting has an otherworldly look, with swirls of circular orbs and sparkling lights. The walls have been repainted in neutral grey and mushroom tones, giving the space an earthy feel. The big, heavy wooden entrance door has been reincarnated with a new life as a massive farmhouse table in the lounge area.

Above it, there are five designer lights hanging from the rough-hewn ceiling. There’s a new reservation desk as soon as you enter, and the sky-high ceiling seems more thrilling somehow (even though it was always there.)

The new design of the Greenfield manages to put emphasis on some of the really cool historic features, like the exposed stone and brick walls. The beamed ceilings seem more striking, with a rustic elegance. That’s offset by high-back black leather chairs and silver accents, giving it a clean, crisp look that plays off the historic bones of the place.

The dining room used to be considered “charming,” which is kind of the opposite of trendy. The old-fashioned wooden chairs are gone, and so is the floral pattern carpet. Sleek, modern chairs and contemporary patterned carpet in a mossy green grey make the dining room anything but country Colonial.

There’s a great juxtaposition of old and new at the Greenfield Restaurant. Your grandparents would hardly recognize it.

“It’s important to always move with the times. We wanted to revamp our image and not be stuck in the past,” says Ray Hottenstein.

If there’s one place where the Greenfield doesn’t want to stray, it’s with the food. Chef Rafe Hottenstein is committed to sticking with the tradition of farm-fresh, local ingredients and simple preparation. When you have a great cut of meat or the freshest seafood, you don’t need to cover it up with cloying sauces. You want to let the food stand on its own – with a restrained chef’s hand.

The Green Field Restaurant in Lancaster, PA

“I like to use ingredients that go together, sometimes based on traditional combinations,” says Rafe, who has been the chef at the Greenfield for two years after a stint as a chef in San Francisco.

As Rafe points out, there’s a reason pork chops are traditionally served with applesauce, and chicken cries out for mushrooms. They just go together, and everyone knows it.

Not content to follow that heritage to a tee, Rafe kicks it up a notch. The New Generation Frenched Pork Chops are served with caramelized apples instead of applesauce, along with herbed German-style spaetzle, cabbage and mustard jus. The pan-seared European chicken has earthy forest mushrooms, along with grilled squash, fingerling potatoes and a wonderfully unexpected flavor from pistachio pesto.

The pan-seared giant diver scallops are enormous, and Rafe points out that they are dry and untreated, fresh from the sea. He serves them with black forbidden rice and spring peas, accented with sausage from The Turkey Lady at Lancaster Central Market, fried to a perfect crispness.

“We get pretty much all of our ingredients from local sources,” says Rafe.

Why wouldn’t you, when you have some of the world’s best produce, meats, cheeses and poultry right here? The Maryland Eastern Shore, with fresh fish and blue crab is just due south.

Among the Greenfield “partners” are the above-mentioned Turkey Lady (aka Sue), who provides fresh turkey, turkey sausage and everything else turkey. Then there’s Shenk’s Poultry, Kegel’s Produce, Tulip Tree Hill Farm in Holtwood, Groff’s Farm in Bird-in-Hand and Old Homestead Farm in Ronks. Stoner’s Homegrown Vegetables supplies fresh homegrown produce.

Lindendale Farm in Ronks has one of Lancaster’s best-known selections of goat cheese – a key ingredient in the Farmer’s Market salad, which features a seasonal selection of fresh roasted vegetables and tender greens. When it comes to cheeses, there is no better fromager than Bill Houder of Gap. From fresh mozzarella to aged cheddar, the man knows his cheeses.

The Green Field Restaurant in Lancaster, PA

The Greenfield Restaurant may have long been famous for its lump crab cakes, char-grilled filet mignon and fresh Scottish salmon – which have come to be known as a sort of gourmet comfort food. But Rafe is more than happy to step outside that comfort zone with short rib egg rolls, fresh beet salad with pancetta and pistachios, chicken liver mousse with apple puree, warm olive paté with Manchego cheese, short rib cottage pie, duck confit pappardelle with lemon cream and Hawaiian tuna tataki served on a bed of seaweed.

The Greenfield has wine and beer dinners, along with jazz nights that give some of the area’s leading ladies of jazz a cool venue in which to perform, with such notables as Jodi Stapler, Songsmith, Kerensa Gray and Lisa Evans.

There are daily lunch and tavern specials, and tavern choices like sliders, calamari and a local cheese plate. The bar has featured cocktails like mojitos and martinis, and the underground wine cellar is fully stocked with Fume Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Cabernet and more. Sunday brunch features dishes like Belgian waffles with fresh berries and eggs Benedict with hollandaise.

The Greenfield Restaurant was once the Cymer family farmhouse, but that was a long time ago. It was probably a long time ago when you had your graduation dinner with the relatives. It’s amazing how a place can get younger as time goes by.


• 595 Greenfield Road, Lancaster
• 393-0668
• Monday, 5-10 p.m.; Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.


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Posted in Dining Scene, Eat – Lancaster

Laura Knowles is a freelance writer and photographer for Fly Magazine. She is obsessed with writing about food, art, music and theatre, in an effort to pretend to be a chef, artist, musician and actress. Her goal in life is to be on Jeopardy, as long as there is no math category.

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