After nearly two years idling in the station, The Pullman Restaurant & Bar has finally arrived on the Main line! Located at 39 Morris Avenue on the site of the former Tango Restaurant along the south side tracks of the Bryn Mawr train station, the newly renovated 7,000-square-foot space has been transformed into a new restaurant and supper club.
“The concept is a nod to the iconic Pullman dining cars of the 1940s, offering guests a quintessential railcar dining and drinking experience, but with a contemporary twist,” explained Roni and Jennifer Hammer of Two Dames Dining Group, the mother/daughter partners and visionaries behind the concept in a statement.
“Our goal was to transport guests back to the heyday of luxury vintage travel,” said Jenny Hammer. “From the striking Pullman Bar and Lounge, plush velvet banquettes and gorgeous chandeliers, we hope our guests will be wowed by the elegant ambiance as well as the delicious New American menu by Executive Chef Corey Baver, which features a ‘creative approach to the classics.’”
Inside the 145-seat restaurant, there’s an assortment of cozy spaces and “nooks” that are perfect for intimate dining, parties and social gatherings. The restaurant has a music lounge where guests can sip on artisanal cocktails and craft beers, dine on ‘small plates’ and listen to live music. The 21-seat Main Bar has vaulted ceilings and custom millwork. The double-sided floor-to-ceiling bar structure is the prominent focal point, in view from all other dining rooms. Fabricated with wood, metal and integral ambient lighting, its overarching canopies showcase floating wine and liquor bottles. In the spring, the 50-seat al fresco ‘10/14’ Bar on the Rails will be open for cocktails and dining.
To capture the ambiance of a luxury railway carriage, the Hammers partnered with Ardmore’s Orion Builders and Balongue Design Group from Villanova. “The color palette takes its cues from the iconic railcars,” noted designer Barbara Balongue. “Sleek metallic and crystal finishes juxtapose against rich mahogany wall paneling and doors, brass and crystal chandeliers, stone tops and luxurious upholstery. And intricate black and white floor tile patterns ground the lush furnishings.”
Japanese, French, Italian and Spanish influences abound throughout the menu with items such as Oysters Rockefeller (Pernod, spinach, lardons) $19; Foie Gras (pan-seared, apple puree, grapefruit chardonnay sauce, brioche) $26; and Roma style Escargot $18. “We want our guests to have a fantastic time whenever they come aboard,” said Baver. “We’re excited to have Main Line diners join us for what I’m certain will be a delicious and memorable ride.” Highlights of the contemporary New American menu include: Lobster Bites (Maine lobster chunks, tempura, mustard sauce) $19; Lamb Polpetta (Swiss chard, yogurt) $15; Sausage Ragu (amatriciana pork ragu, il vesuvio pasta) $23; Florida Yellowtail Snapper (Mediterranean olives, tomato, capers) $36; a 16 oz. bone-in Cowboy Steak $52; Airline Chicken (breast, pan-seared, potato puree, snow pea greens, rosemary jus) $24; Sturgeon Caviar (egg, onion, caper puree, crème fraiche, potato pancakes) $115; and a variety of local produce-driven sides.
For the Hammers, it’s not the first time the mother-daughter duo has been involved in a high-profile restaurant venture. The two are also longtime business partners at Snook’s Bayside Restaurant & Grand Tiki Bar, a waterfront venue in Key Largo, Florida. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Roni and Jennifer decided to return to Bryn Mawr after a 28-year stint in Key Largo to take on this new restaurant project, which was largely motivated by Jennifer’s sense of nostalgia. She said she and her friends frequented the restaurant when it was the Central Bar & Grille back in the early 1990s. “Just about everyone we know has visited and created wonderful memories of all the previous restaurants that occupied this historic Main Line ‘Freight House,’” she said. “These memories strongly motivated us to obtain the property and bring it back with a reverence.”
“The renovation did take much longer than expected due to huge rehab challenges as well as supply chain difficulties, but we’re certain that it was well worth the wait and we hope our guests appreciate everything that we did to bring this venture to life,” said Roni. “We’re really happy with the way everything turned out, and we’re super excited to showcase Chef Corey Baver’s delectable cuisine.”
The Pullman Restaurant & Bar is open for dinner Tuesdays through Sundays, with live music offered Thursdays through Saturdays, and “social hour,” their take on happy hour, happens Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m. Lunch is offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 3 p.m.