The moment I realized that moving to New Hope was going to be the best thing that could have possibly happened in the turn of events of my almost-out-of-high-school life, I was sitting at Spatola's, eating pizza.
I could probably retrace my steps of the hour I fell in love with New Hope. We were getting into conversations with the townspeople while waiting at the crosswalk. I felt like I was making my way down the northern equivalent of Duval Street in Key West, not the place that I was about to call home.
I was so excited about the simple idea of getting to be a part of a community like that, where people get to know each other at the same time they get to know the town's hot spots.
Now, as a college sophomore with two and a half years of memories attached to every corner, I wanted to share my list of the best places to eat in town and the million reasons why I keep coming back to each of them:
1. Spatola's Pizza, 86 S. Main St, New Hope, PA
I’m particular about my pizza, so when it comes to talking about restaurants in any town, the pizza place might be first on my list of importance. Not only does Spatola's have the best pizza in town, they seriously have some of the best pizza I've ever had. The sauce is more spicy than sweet, the crust is crunchy and the toppings, like pepperoni or ziti, are crispy.
2. Karla's Restaurant, 5 W Mechanic St, New Hope, PA
The first time a local gushed to me about Karla's crab cakes, I, a self-described crab cake sandwich aficionado, was highly skeptical. But, whatever it is that makes a good crab cake, Karla's has it.
Theirs has a slight crisp on the outside layer and is soft enough to melt in your mouth on the inside. The sandwich is topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and fresh avocado. The fish tacos are also fantastic, and so is everything else I've tried.
I’m not 21 yet, so I can’t speak to the drink menu, but I hear great things…for now, a Shirley Temple always does the trick.
3. Max Hansen Carversville Grocery, 6208 Fleecy Dale Rd, Carversville, PA
First of all, do you SEE that sandwich? There is just something about the way Max Hansen does melts. The bread is toasted just the right amount and the cheese melts perfectly into the hot turkey and ham. I’m hungry just thinking about it! The donuts are soft and covered in tiny grains if sugar, like apple cider donuts. And, of course, you can't go wrong with a cold Boylan's bottled soda!
The right side of the store is filled with handmade work from local artists, the perfect place to find a special gift that you know can't be found anywhere else.
Whether it's the sandwiches or the atmosphere, I've learned in my few short years in New Hope where I'd start every morning if I could…just on the other side of the big blue door below the rooster!
4. Nektar Wine Bar, 8 W Mechanic St, New Hope, PA
My family has a tradition of going to Nektar for drinks and appetizers, then Karla’s for dinner. We get a cup of Portobello fries for the table, which I crave all the time. They come with a truffle and mustard aioli.
I also love their provolone, fontina, parmesan and tomato pesto grilled cheese. The folks who are legal to drink rave about the pineapple-infused vodka.
During the spring and summer, and even on warm early fall days, they leave the big window open all day, creating a warm and bright atmosphere upstairs.
5. Logan Inn, 10 W Ferry St, New Hope, PA
What a sense this place has. I get fish and chips every time, and always insist on sitting outside because that’s where my family has celebrated some of our most memorable nights…clinking to both good times and bad, telling stories and watching people pass on the street.
No matter what's going on elsewhere, everything's grand under the twinkle lights at Logan Inn. The ghosts of nights like those live there year-round.
Lastly, if you want to make the famous trek across the bridge…
6. Lambertville Trading Company, 43 Bridge St, Lambertville, NJ
This place might not have a New Hope address, but when you're a college student on a constant search for expeditions with friends, you can cross this bridge on foot and wind up in New Jersey in five minutes. Every time we have friends visit from out of town, this is the first place we all go for the hot chocolate.
I don't know if it's the vanilla, cinnamon or almond, but the result is a taste that’s so good it almost doesn't make sense.
Aside from the unbelievable hot chocolate, the most important thing about LTC is this table where I flash back to the nights where we closed down the place playing cards with all our friends. I think of the one summer all-nighter on the nearby towpath that ended the moment the shop opened with us all sitting together, bagels in hand, watching the sun come up. It all happened here, the epitome of a charming local coffee shop. Where some of the best nights end and some of the best days begin.