NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> When Solstice restaurant opens its doors on March 9th at the Village of Newtown, it will be the nation’s first.
“Solstice has been designed with the Newtown guest in mind,” said regional general manager Troy Smith, who joined executive chef Jason Audette, Captivate Hospitality Group account manager Lisa Schwartz and members of the local media on a hard hat tour of the new restaurant space, now taking shape across Eagle Road from Wells Fargo Bank and adjacent to McCaffrey’s Market. “We have come up with a concept that we feel will connect with the community here and give them something that they definitely seek in larger markets like New York and Philadelphia.”
The 5800 square foot lunch and dinner hyper-seasonal restaurant will feature a modern, chic, but approachable atmosphere. “We don’t want to be considered just a celebratory destination,” said Smith. “We want that every day, approachable feel.”
“We’re looking to be a place for everyone to come and feel welcome and at home and have a great drink, a glass of wine and delicious dinner,” added Schwartz.
The restaurant itself will immerse patrons in a warm, vibrant and energy-filled environment where they will sit down to enjoy dishes featuring ingredients at the peak of their freshness.
The front doors will open up to a modern, fresh lounge area and a full service bar with more than 500 bottles of wine available from around the globe, craft beer and featuring the hottest new trend - mocktails (nonalcoholic cocktails).
“So right when you come in you’ll feel the energy. You’ll see the bar. You’ll feel the excitement,” said Smith.
Lighting, artwork and other touches throughout the restaurant, including a trellis with hanging vines and florals, will reflect the changing seasons and enhance the dining experience.
The main dining area will seat up to 145 patrons with views of the restaurants impressive kitchen space. Decorative tile will grace the floor and a layered art piece will dominate the wall.
A pair of sliding glass doors will lead patrons to an outside patio that will eventually be framed by a large tree and with seating for between 75 and 90 guests beneath a 12 to 15 foot tall pergola.
“It’s going to be a great looking patio and nothing like this in Newtown,” said Smith. “It has that kind of life to it.”
At the heart of Solstice is its hyper-seasonal menu, capitalizing on the hot, new trend of sourcing ingredients at the peak of their flavor and freshness.
Smith said the Solstice menu “is about showcasing those ingredients and introducing them into our dishes,” including steak, seafood, vegan, vegetarian and pasta selections.
The seasonal menu at Solstice will rotate four times per year – winter, spring, summer and fall – highlighting the season’s best ingredients.
And once every quarter, Solstice will unveil a special ‘Peak of Season’ menu that will only be available for four to six weeks and features one ingredient at its peak in three to four different preparations.
“It’s really about what is freshest in the country and the world at that time,” explained Schwartz.
A sampling of the Solstice menu includes freshly-baked Apple Parker House Rollswith gingerbread butter; Mason Jar Deviled Eggsaccompanied by toasted focaccia and relish; Scallop Crudowith yuzu buttermilk, hazelnuts, chia seeds and chili oil; Smoked Salmon Rillettewith capers, chives and toast; Lancaster Butternut Squash Soupwith toasted coffee, savory caramel, sage and parmesan; hand-rolled Ricotta Lobster Cavatelliand Braised Wagyu Pappardelle, which are made in-house daily; Cape May Seared Scallops; Roasted Chicken; Malbec-Braised Kobe Short Rib; and shareable sides like Crispy Brussels Sproutswith local cider, Country Cauliflower & Cheeseand Sweet Potato S’more.
“With every dish we put out, there’s something a little different that they’re going to see or taste,” said Chef Audette. “We have the ability to do some of those high-end touches. We can push the boundaries, but still be approachable and accessible to everyone.”
Audette comes to Solstice from the Adelphi Hotel by David Burke in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he has been chef de cuisine for the past three years. He has also worked as the executive sous chef at Maison Premiere Limited and sous chef at Del Posto, both in New York City.
The Solstice concept particularly lends itself to vegan and vegetarian selections, including “a lot of surprises on the menu for people,” said Smith.
Solstice will be a first for the Captivate Hospitality Group, whose principals are executives with Shula’s Restaurants, a chain of steakhouses named for legendary Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula.