ZELIENOPLE TAVERN ADAPTS to MODERN DAY WHILE KEEPING its SMALL-TOWN CHARM
John Cougar Mellencamp in the song, “Small Town,” articulates that there may be more opportunities in the big city, but the opportunities to find love and friendship are unmatched in small towns. There is something special about growing up in a small town. Take a moment and look back at your childhood. Do you remember riding bikes, playing in the woods, building sled riding tracks, and playing with your friends? Small towns teach you a sense of community, to help each other, and to pick and build each other up. Growing up in a small-town build and shapes your moral compass and sets the framework for the rest of your life. A lot of venture out of a small town to pursue their dreams, and some come back to settle down. What you also learn in a small town is the importance of tradition.
Zelienople, Pennsylvania is a town with rich tradition. It used to be an older town where everything closed by 6pm. Fast forward to present day and it is a town that is becoming more modern, hip, and bustling with nightlight while keeping its small-town values. Carrying on this rich tradition and nestled in the heart of Zelienople’s business district is Kaufman Tavern.
Built in 1902 and originally operated as a hotel, it was then sold to E.F. Kauman in 1924. The spacious structure grew to include four dining rooms, a coffee shop, a banquet room, and lounge. Present day Kaufman Tavern continues this legacy by providing an inviting atmosphere for family and friends to enjoy tasty food and drinks in an exquisite yet relaxed atmosphere.
The cuisine – The appetizers are upscale, however provide solid portion sizes and are reasonably priced. Try their regionally famous smoked wings (captioned). They are meaty and smoked to perfection with sauce choices such as traditional buffalo, dry rub, barbecue, blazenberry, black and gold, and creamy ranch Jalapeno. If you are feeling seafood, try their seared scallops, crispy calamari, or lobster and wild mushroom risotto.
Keep it simple but with a twist! Try the Sweet and Smokey Burger which consist of a house ground steak burger, prosciutto, barbecue pork, smoked cheddar, and onion straws. If you are looking for a seafood entrée the Shrimp and Grits features the coveted food of the South, grits, and accompanied by shrimp, Tasso ham, andouille, sunny side egg, and browned butter. Talk about delicious! The New Zealand Rack of Lamb uses a house Greek rub, olive & mushroom risotto, charred Brussel sprouts, Ju lie, and feta. If you are feeling a nice cut of steak, the Expresso Rubbed Filet Mignon will hit the spot.
My final take
Kaufman Tavern is truly a hidden gem for a multitude or reasons. It has been around since the early 1920s, has evolved and innovated withstanding the test of time, and it is in the bustling business district of Zelienople, PA where you can enjoy other recreational activities after dinner. It is a classy place; however, it is casual enough where you do not have to dress formally, and they make you feel at home. The size of the establishment provides plenty is space, so you do not feel cramped. You will be pleasantly surprised at how unique this place is and will be planning your next visit before you know it!