The Pub at Wegmans Malvern store was nearly full on the weekday evening we stopped for dinner. The host led us to one of the high tables lining the bar since the regular tables were taken. Comfortable upholstered chairs with backs complemented the sturdy black faux wood tables set with a knife and fork wrapped in thick disposable white napkins. A corner banquette gave an air of privacy to the group seated there.
We had a bit of a wait for a server to appear, which allowed us time to study the list of beers on draft and bottle and wines by the glass or bottle. We noticed a self-serve wine station in the adjoining market that allows patrons to purchase a Wine Card, then select a freshly poured glass from the bottles displayed. The food menu listed the calorie count for most items, with the optional Finishing Sauces listed individually.
The server seemed rushed when she stopped to take our full order. We had another unusually long wait for our drinks to be delivered by another server. The background noise level increased, but the occasional searing sound from the grill in the open cooking area still caught our attention. The glass of Cupcake Pinot Noir ($6) and pint of Victory St. Boisterous lager ($4) were even more enjoyable after the anticipation.
Our choice of appetizers from the “Snacks, Sharings & Pairings” list were delivered by a third server. Australian Lamb Chops ($7) were tender but not cooked to the medium rare that we requested. The two lollipop chops had a distinct grilled flavor and color of medium well. A generous mound of eggplant caponata in the center of the plate was a stew of vegetables with a hint of sour tang that made our tongues tingle.
The Fried Calamari ($6) were very small rings and bodies in a crispy herbed coating. Spicy pickled yellow pepper rings, marinated tomatoes and olives were an interesting mix with the squid. A side of creamy, lemon-tinged dipping sauce went well with the mix.
Our main course was served as we finished the appetizers. A Cheeseburger ($8.50) was a real hit, although it was cooked to medium well. We ordered it medium rare since Wegman’s uses irradiated beef that can be eaten without concern for illness from undercooking. Light layers of cheese and Thousand Island dressing, a Romaine leaf and a hearty tomato slice complemented the eight-ounce burger on a fresh white roll. Grilled squash, zucchini and red pepper were served on the side with a pickle slice.
A personal sized San Marzano Margherita Naan Pizza ($6.50) was also delicious. Flatbread crust was topped with the prized chopped tomatoes with a hint of orange flavor, fresh mozzarella and basil strips. We wondered about the sweet potato fries we had ordered. We asked to have them with the main dishes rather than as an appetizer, so we assumed we had caused some confusion. Our second server apologized and said that she would bring them.
We were nearly finished with our meal when the Sweet Potato Waffle Fries ($3.50) were served. The crisp, orange fries had the wonderful sweetness of their namesake, but a bit too much oil for our taste. A side dish of honey mustard dipping sauce was almost too much flavor for the crisps.
We viewed the dessert tray presented to the neighboring table. Generous slices of Ultimate White Cake ($3), Ultimate Chocolate Cake ($3), Cheesecake ($4), Apple Pie ($3) and a few seasonal additions looked tempting, but we decided to pass on dessert.
As we paid our bill, we overheard neighboring tables discussing the “no tipping” policy, as we had. We went with our fellow patrons and left no tip, assured by the advertisements that the servers were well compensated.
The Pub at Wegmans
600 Commerce Drive, Malvern
Hours: Mon – Thurs, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri, Sat, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Cost: Appetizers, soups, $3.50 to $8; sandwiches, pizzas, $6 - $11; entrees, $8 – $16.50
Credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover
Alcohol: Full Bar
Special Features: Vegetarian options, free WiFi, no tipping, craft beer