When Elayne Brick and William Quigley left behind the Philadelphia restaurant business in search of a place of their own, they immediately fell in love with the Washington House In Sellersville, PA. They knew the historic charm, grand Victorian bar, and welcoming community were perfect for the restaurant they envisioned. That was 35 years ago and over time, they’ve built their business to become a perfect destination for a Bucks County getaway, including their restaurant, a boutique inn, and the Sellersville Theater, a live-entertainment venue. To learn more about how they got started and the experiences they offer, I sat down with Elayne for our latest episode of the From the Locals podcast.
After purchasing the Washington House in 1985, Elayne and her husband immediately started renovations in various areas of the dining room. The top two floors served as living quarters for tenants until two fires damaged this portion of the building. They decided to focus their efforts on the restaurant where William was the chef. They became known for their contemporary American cuisine, using fresh ingredients, and putting a modern twist on traditional dishes.
In 2002, the owner of the next-door movie theater offered them the property and they knew right away that it would be the perfect expansion to their business. After spending some time renovating the historic movie theater into a live entertainment venue, they welcomed their first audience. Knowing nothing about the entertainment business, Elayne told me that they faced some challenges at first. However, they learned to focus on what it was they did best and today the theater hosts an impressive five or more shows per week, including comedy and musical acts.
It was only a few years ago in 2014 that Elayne and William decided to renovate the second and third floors of the Washington House and turn them into guest suites. They were able to preserve some of the historic features of the rooms while incorporating all of the modern amenities for an enjoyable stay. Today the hotel has 11 rooms, including a luxury tower suite with panoramic views of the town of Sellersville and beyond.
One of my favorite parts of my conversation with Elayne was getting to learn about the history of the building. Dating back to 1742, the Washington House originally served as a stopover for people traveling from Philadelphia to Bethlehem while the theater was the original stables for the property. There is speculation that the Liberty Bell may have been housed at the Washington House while it was on the way to Allentown to hide from the British.
I was also pleased to learn about the Washington House and Sellersville Theater’s expanded offerings to accommodate socially distant options. For example, people can experience their five-course wine tasting to dinner to go complete with an educational video on each pairing. They are also offering much of their entertainment at the theater over livestream so people can view shows in the comfort of their own home.
Whether you choose to venture out or stay in, the Washington House and Sellersville theater offer the ingredients for a perfect weekend away or staycation. For more information on the restaurant, hotel, and the theater, visit https://www.washingtonhouse.net and https://www.st94.com.