The Phantom Diner Reviews The 1762 at the Warwick Hotel: A Long History and a Creative New Menu
By The Phantom Diner
Many, even most, Central Pennsylvania natives and locals likely know about and maybe dined at the Warwick Hotel, a.k.a. “The Wick,” in Hummelstown. It’s been around for a while.
The historic building, originally a residence, dates to the 1800s. It’s basically been a hotel and/or restaurant since. It’s changed hands and names numerous times, and now has done so again.
This fall, it re-debuted under new ownership and a new name, The 1762 Kitchen & Cocktails. For now, on social media, the new owners call it The 1762 at the Warwick Hotel. The date honors the founding of Hummelstown (first named Fredrickstown) in 1762.
It’s essentially still The Wick inside. You can feel the history in the entranceway. There’s still the large u-shape bar down the hall with lots of bar seats and some high-top tables. There are still a couple of dining rooms, with hardwood flooring and simple décor.
Also, the menu is still large. The bar’s still well stocked. And there are wines by the glass or bottle. But foodwise – in terms of preparation, presentation, and pricing – the range is much broader.
You can spend a little or you can spend a lot. For example: chicken tacos with “street corn,” $14; pan-roasted Wagyu filet mignon, $65.
You can go simple. Make a meal out of a steak salad with greens, onions, and sourdough croutons for $23. Or go with lamb Wellington, seared lamb loin with arugula, radicchio, mushroom duxelles, and cider gastrique (sweet and sour sauce) for $42.
Point being, there are options. The high-end offerings are no doubt due to chef John Roeder, who was hired by new owners David and Kylie Deimler. Roeder previously worked at Josephine’s in Lancaster and with renowned French chef George Perrier, who ran Le Bec-Fin, a five-star Philadelphia restaurant that closed in 2013.
In the 1990s, Esquire magazine and a Conde Nast readers’ poll both named Le Bec-Fin the best restaurant in America.
But back to 1762’s menu. There are soups and salads, small plates, tacos, burgers, sandwiches and large-plate entrees, house-made sauces, and pasta. Many of the dishes are creative.
Small plates include goat cheese agnolotti, sesame seared tuna with a fried sticky rice cake and fried Thai calamari. A dining companion and I shared the latter. It’s served with sprouts, cilantro, scallions, and cabbage, and is much like a calamari salad, tangy, salty, and tasty.
There are also mussels, Asian pork belly spring rolls and there’s squid ink pasta raviolo with truffle, egg yolk and poached lobster ($22). Most small plates are priced $15 to $18.
Handhelds – such as Wagyu burger, bison burger, Wagyu cheese steak, Italian sub on a toasted baguette, fried oyster Po’ Boy, and a lobster salad sandwich on brioche toast – come with hand-cut fries and range from $18 to $25.
Entrees are mostly in the $30 to $40-plus range. There is a tempting variety. It includes lump crab cake with a shrimp and scallop mousse, grilled tomahawk pork chop with eggplant caponata, mushroom house-made gnocchi, coriander-crusted swordfish, and smoked, pan-seared scallops with risotto.
I opted for pan-roasted duck breast crusted with mustard seed and served with gnocchi, chard, and lardons (cubed pork fat). It’s a noteworthy dish in presentation and taste. Not your normal pub food.
My dining partner had steak tacos (there also are fish tacos) and loved the “street corn,” which is sauced up, grilled on the cob, and cut into pieces you can hold with one hand. We also shared a Caesar salad that came with white anchovies, which was just okay.
There’s a lot going on at The 1762, on the menu and in the restaurant. So far, it seems to be a hit. I was there on a Thursday evening and the place was packed. As a result, service dragged. Our salad came with our meal. But servers were cordial and accommodating.
There is clearly a huge effort being applied to make this an upgraded go-to spot. Kudos to the Deimler’s, who are no strangers to the business. They opened Babe’s Grill House & Lounge in Palmyra nearly a decade ago.
It takes more than a little moxie to buy, open, own and operate any restaurant ever. More so since the COVID pandemic and it’s lingering effects on staffing and product delivery issues.
But history and familiarity are part of the bones of the Warwick Hotel. It has stood the test of time. So, no matter what you call the restaurant or tavern that abides in its space, I suspect it will prevail.
THE 1762 KITCHEN & COCKTAILS: 12 W. Main St., Hummelstown; street parking; as of this writing, open Thursday through Monday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; no website yet; reservations recommended; 717-256-9200.