Savory Grille

Savory Grille

Surrounded by winding roads and lush foliage, coming to Savory Grille feels like a homecoming, no matter where you’re from.

Perhaps that’s because it once was a home, and the warm ethos of comfort and hospitality are etched into every inch of the restaurant: Owner and Chef Shawn Doyle and his wife, Dorothy, lived on the second floor a decade where they raised their two children. The location was also once the historic Seisholtzville Hotel’s carriage house, and served as a bar with red and chrome stools and a pool table in a past life. In fact, that’s when Shawn and Dorothy descended upon the property, in 1997, when it was just a small room with a liquor license in the country.

“Thank God my husband had a vision,” Dorothy says.

It’s a vision that has guided the restaurant to this point: its 20th anniversary, which will be celebrated this December. 

Located in a particularly bucolic chapter of Macungie, the hustle and bustle of the city falls away as you drive towards the destination. As the city falls away, so does the pace and the pressure—dining at Savory Grille is a leisurely experience that is, as the name suggests, meant to be savored.

There are two dining rooms: the airy Arbor Room, with high wooden ceilings and windows galore, and the main dining room, an intimate and farmhouse-chic dining area with white tablecloths and hand-cut flowers. Nearby, a rustic seven-seat bar serves as a lounge and waiting area for thirsty guests who arrive before their reservation times.

And you should make a reservation: Shawn’s transcendent take on food is no secret. In two words, he describes his food philosophy as “no boundaries.”

“I can take food from South Africa and blend it with Italian or Mediterranean and come up with a cross-fusion cuisine,” Shawn explains. He uses global influences and styles to create full plates that leave nothing to be desired: “I like food with layers—texture, flavor, and color,” he says.

The other component to the menu is Shawn’s restlessness, which he channels into perpetual culinary creation and revitalization. With a menu that sees revisions weekly—if not daily—you’ll probably never eat the same meal at Savory Grille twice.

Dining at this restaurant always begins with an amuse-bouche. When I visited for dinner, it was a delicate spoonful of beautiful swordfish. I wish that it had come in entree size. From the bar, I sipped on the cocktail feature of the evening, Serpent’s Bite, a whiskey-based drink with muddled compressed peaches and orange bitters. It was divine.

Shawn’s transcendent take on food is no secret. In two words, he describes his food philosophy as “no boundaries.”

The bread selection, baked in-house, was the iconic French and tasty seven-grain. Shawn knows that he doesn’t have to bake the bread in house—but then, he doesn’t have to make the pasta by hand or the ice cream either. And yet, he does, he always has, and he always will.

With all of his tweaking and teasing with elements and flavors, one thing Shawn focuses on is keeping flavors clean. That’s one of the reasons why he makes everything from scratch: “I like flavors to stand by themselves, to be unadulterated,” he explains. “Some people play with something so much that they turn it into something it isn’t, but I like to let every food’s true flavors sing.”

This was especially true in my calamari appetizer—a gorgeous bowl full of sautéed calamari, housemade chorizo, and delicate pillows of freshly made ricotta gnocchi—and my duck main course. The duck Shawn uses is local, from Jurgielewicz Duck Farm. “It’s the best-tasting duck I’ve ever gotten my hands on,” he says simply. (One bite confirmed this.) It was fabulously rich and fatty, with an intricate depth that was complemented by a deceivingly savory hash and fresh vegetables. I chewed each bite slowly, hoping the taste would linger a little bit longer, doing whatever I could do to extend
the experience.

Remember when I said you would never eat the same thing twice at Savory Grille? That’s true, with one caveat: the Crème Brûlée. If you only do one thing for yourself this year, I would suggest meditating—but if you do two, the second should be trying this Crème Brûlée. It was, quite simply, the most perfect example of the dessert that I have ever had.

The question most people have upon leaving is why, why oh why, does a chef with the immense talent and possibility of Shawn Doyle stay tucked away in Macungie instead working in a city?

“I’ve spent so much time building this, and this is my home,” Shawn says.

And for a few hours each night, he opens the doors of his home up to the Lehigh Valley and bares his heart on each plate. It has been a delicious twenty years, Shawn. Here’s to the next twenty.

Savory Grille
2934 Seisholtzville Rd

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