City Tavern is one of the coolest places I have ever eaten at. First of all, it’s owned and run by one of my all-time favorite chefs, Walter Staib.
It was AMAZING to meet Chef Staib!!! I even got an autographed cookbook from Chef Staib and pastry chef, Chef Wolkow!
I’ve seen every one of Chef Walter Staib's A Taste of Historyshows. He’s won 5 Emmys, and I saw them on display at the restaurant. Chef Staib is the only chef who has won an Emmy for his cooking show, and he has been at City Tavern for 18 years!
City Tavern is where a lot of the Founding Fathers used to meet, eat, and drink. It was originally built in 1773. It burned down and had to be re-built, and was re-built to the exact specs as the original tavern.
There are 4 foods that he is not allowed by law to make in the restaurant. He can’t churn his own butter, make his own sausage, or ice cream, or brew his own coffee. Coffee has oil on the outside of the beans. When the oil burns off, it can leave a residue and create a fire hazard in the chimney. He also makes the sausage at another location and brings it in.
The space that Chef Wolkow works in, used to be the laundry facility a long time ago, but they turned it into the bread and pastry making area. Chef Wolkow’s favorite dessert is a Raspberry Tart made with hazel nut. We ordered that for our dessert and she’s right, it’s really good. Especially with
vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
Mom ordered Chef Staib’s Veal Sausage with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, and I ordered the braised rabbit and drank the apple cider.
The food at City Tavern is THE BEST! When I say THE BEST, I mean THE BEST. They use fresh EVERYTHING. Chef Staib said, “I don’t like preservatives.”
They get several deliveries a day of fresh food to cook. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or snowing outside, they still get their deliveries.
Even their potatoes are peeled fresh daily for mashed potatoes. They don’t order them peeled. The bread is made fresh daily. They have to make about 25-35 loaves a day of each kind of bread.
They have a small kitchen too. They have to keep a refrigerator outside of the restaurant in the back. If Chef Staib or Chef Wolkow needs something and it happens to be snowing really badly, they put on their winter coat and run
out to the refrigerator to get it.
City Tavern has 10 rooms you can eat in and is always open - except on Christmas day. Everyone that works there knows a lot about the Founding Fathers and our country's history. Nijal gave us a tour of the whole restaurant, and he was like a walking history book. I learned a lot!
There is a room at City Tavern called the Charter Room. Legend has it that The Charter Room is where 53 men sat and decided our countries language. English won out by only 1 vote. German was a close second.
The Long Room is another famous room. It’s where George Washington stopped on his way to his inauguration. It is where he had his pre-inaugural ball.
The Cincinnati room was George Washington’s favorite room. It was named after his favorite general. General Cincinnatus from Rome, Italy. George Washington liked that room because it’s where he would spend time with his friends and no one would bother him in there.
The staff at City Tavern is dressed in colonial clothes. When you walk in, there is a man that plays a real harp, just like in colonial times. It has real potpourri burners burning, and the dining area downstairs is lit by candles. You really feel like you are in Colonial times when you go to City Tavern.
City Tavern has 5 floors. There are no elevators, of course. The servers have to run up and down the 5 flights of stairs to deliver food to each room. It seems like a fun place to work. They said that they sometimes lose each other and have to go look for each other or call each other on their cell
phones because there are so many rooms.
Another fun fact. The word “grill”, in bar and grill, is not a barbecue grill. A grill is like a gate that is over the bar area. If fights would break out in the bars during colonial times, the bartender would pull the grill down and lock it to protect himself, the money and the liquor.
Chef Staib and his staff told us how much fun they have in the summer. They set up the outside area with tables, lights, and tents. People eat outside and have a great time. I want to come back this summer to City Tavern so I can do that too!
If you live in America or you are visiting America, you should go eat at this restaurant. You will learn A LOT, and get some really fresh and tasty food!