By Karen Tetor
When two talented young couples plant culinary passion, urban savvy, and business ingenuity into a chophouse, a legendary restaurant takes root. The Frogtown Chophouse takes the front stage of a former exclusive hunting club dating back to 1808. Flaunting a tony makeover and a showcase of tasting awards, this Swiftwater restaurant struts an edgy attitude with the stone, leather, and wood ambience befitting its heritage — all with affordable pricing.
Co-owners Eric Noone and Lyman Winner and their wives, Christina and Ann, call themselves “Table Touchers.” Interaction with guests is paramount. “We want to know what our guests are responding to,” says Lyman, the Executive Chef who loves the flattery for his braised ribs, renowned crab-cakes, and buttery Barramundi. “Our guests love our consistency,” says Eric. “They rave about their great experience that begins the minute they walk in to the minute they leave.”
“I infuse all of my own syrups — rosemary, mint, and maple,” quips Eric, whose stage experience flourishes behind the bar. “I stuff my own olives, and even make my own maraschino cherries.” The drink menu, with its eclectic martinis, draws a fan base. One of the biggest hits is the Mapletini, Eric’s Manhattan restaurant and bar experience has sharpened his acumen for trendy tastes, including craft beers designed for bottle shares and a choice of sixteen wines by the glass. “Customers love the exclusivity of the beers,” says Eric.
“It’s really important for the guests to manage the menu easily,” insists Lyman, who has simply, artfully, and clearly composed the visual prelude to each gastronomical opus.
“My concept is a very American chophouse with lots of options. Guests choose from complete entrees or part a la carte, and some people come in to share small plates,” says Lyman. But everyone loves the grilling. “We grill not only steaks and seafood, but even some salads, including a Caesar and a wedge.”
Take a seat at the bar or in the restaurant. The same menu awaits you in both rooms.
Light night: Cozy up in the bar and sip a dirty blue martini or Belgian style black saison. Order up an array of small plates. Try the crab and cream cheese spring rolls, signature flat bread pizza of the week, and crab imperial potato skins.
Not sandwiches: If you can by-pass the Fish n’ Chips or Quesadilla, head for the Lobster Wrap, a homage to the New England lobster roll. A Lemon Drop Martini is perfect with this six ounces of claw meat nestled in a crispy tortilla shell. Or, have a sandwich! (Maybe topped with crispy red onions).
Steaks n’ Chops: Once you’ve picked the meat for Lyman to sizzle on the grill, dive into the “Enhancements” to stuff, top or add to your choice. Lobster? Crab? Shrimp? And what seasoning suits your fancy? Cajun? Burgundy rub? Peppercorn Crust? A Pepe Nero sharable beer is the perfect drink for all!
Entrée! Lyman’s crab cakes have won more awards than Meryl Streep. But his personal favorite is the braised short rib. With a sip of Eric’s signature Old Fashioned Cocktail and nudge of your fork, the meat just falls apart.
Side Shows: Forget about “vegetable of the day.” You choose from 14 sides–from caramelized red onion mashed potatoes to grilled broccolini. Yes, you can make a full meal of just sides (and Rose’s Lemonade)!
The Frogtown Chophouse is located off Route 611, one mile from Mt. Airy Casino and 3 miles from The Crossings Outlets at 472 Upper Swiftwater Road in Swiftwater. For more information, visit thefrogtownchophouse.com or call (570) 895-4460. Reservations are suggested.