It started with Flying Fish.
Twelve years ago, come April, Mark Van Horn introduced his Cajun-style bistro to Montgomery County, one of the first bars in his local, consumer-based stretch of the suburbs to celebrate the micro-brewed culture.
In particular, he was partial from day one to tapping the New Jersey-based brewery’s craft beers, focused on supporting the increasingly-popular craft beer movement with the same level of determination he had towards maintaining his day-to-day operations.
Van Horn’s French Quarter Bistro was an adventurous concept at first for downtown Royersford. But, situated along the unassuming 200 block of Main Street, the Louisiana-inspired spot’s menu was a fresh new choice for diners to explore the local culinary landscape, as was the beverage lineup. The introduction of a neighborhood haunt hoisting an extensive program of craft beer was—and always is—like music to any bar-goer’s ears.
Over the course of a decade, the boisterous Cajun joint embarked on various facelifts, with its latest update having debuted in late fall 2012. The two-concept-space, with an entryway per each, features a dimly-lit, white tableclothed dining room on right, which comes dressed with rich wooden floors, a deep black-and-maroon mood, and an easy-going demeanor. Rounding out this more formal dining option are appropriate, jovial accents that help maintain the whimsical atmosphere, keeping with the N’awlins theme.
Slip over to the left portion of the bistro (through the back-end of the dining room if you wish), and you’ll spy the vibrant barroom surrounding an attractive, granite-topped 30-seat bar, featuring twelve revolving craft taps, and a 70-plus bottle list. The ever-changing draft list is a sure-to-please mix of up-and-comers and local old-faithfuls, including releases from Neshaminy Creek Brewing and Round Guys Brewing Company, to Tröegs, Sly Fox and Weyerbacher. The expansive bottle list follows suit and is regularly updated, offering everyday drinking picks like Great Lakes Dortmunder, Founders Devil Dancer and Dogfish Head 90 Minute, to more sophisticated choices like the Duchesse De Bourgogne, Russian River Redemption and Supplication, and Chimay Grande Reserve.
Consider channeling your inner French Quarter cravings during your visit to the beer-centric restaurant, as you explore Van Horn’s culinary voodoo unfolding on the dinner menu. All the authentic, proper fixins are present—from deep-fried crawfish tails and jambalaya mac & cheese, to alligator sausage over rice, blackened catfish with stewed tomatoes, and shrimp po’boys. As if having a stop to devour fine-tuned Cajun and Creole dishes in Philadelphia’s suburbs isn’t appealing enough, he doesn’t stop there. Mark continues his creative mojo in the kitchen by drawing up Southern-inspired specials that couple classic comfort food with traditional New Orleans grub into individual, appealing dishes (surf and turf burgers, Stromboli pot pie, etc.). A meal-ending perk is the dessert menu, with a majority of the options crafted in-house. The vodka crème brûlée is first-rate, and the Bananas Foster’s bread pudding arrives on our tabletop warm-and-gooey, summoning you back bite after bite.
Whether your palate is in need of a New Orleans getaway, or you’re exploring the northwest suburb of Philadelphia and need a new watering hole, Mark Van Horn’s French Quarter Bistro is making a notable craft beer splash in the suburbs—no pretentiousness included. The service is attentive and the kitchen is constantly and consistently serving upstanding renditions of your favorite Creole cuisine. Start with a pint and a plate of fried pickles drizzled with Creole mustard, and we promise you—you’ll be hooked. French Quarter Bistro is located at 215 Main Street, Royersford, PA 19468.