Andiario is West Chester’s New Culinary Gem
The intimate 34-seat restaurant has quickly become one of the region’s most sought-after reservations.
Andiario co-owners Anthony Andiario and Maria van Schaijik. Photographs by Steve Legato.
Thanks to the culinary prowess of its namesake chef, West Chester’s Andiario has little problem filling its 34 seats. In fact, landing one of those seats is no easy feat right now, thanks to the accolades that continue to pile in from foodies and critics around the region.
Forging respect in the kitchen as a key chef for Arizona restaurant legend Chris Bianco, Anthony Andiario found his way to West Chester by way of the love of his life, Maria van Schaijik, who wanted to be closer to her parents. The move proved fortuitous after they found a charming wide-windowed ’40s-era storefront with painted tin ceilings to call their own, quietly opening this past spring.
Sweet oak from the wood-burning oven adds fragrance to the a warm, natural-toned space where colorful abstract paintings reside. The open kitchen is equally colorful, with its inventory of suspended or jarred foods—drying fennel fronds, smoked meats, mug wart, chamomile, nubby clusters of mushrooms—all within easy reach.
Braised chicken leg with plums and shaved chestnuts.
Presided over by van Schaijik, the dining room offers a low-key sophistication. Four shareable dishes change with the seasons and the whims of the guy in charge. We reveled in a rich, oniony chicken-liver pate. And local Guinea hen and black trumpet mushrooms made an earthy impression in a silken terrine flecked with a nicely musty Birchrun Hills Farm blue cheese.
You’ll also find some fine pasta dishes here. Our delicate nest of tagliatelle with creamy chanterelle and roasted onion ragu simmered for hours amid layers of flavors. But Andiario isn’t really an Italian restaurant—it’s a Pennsylvania one with “an Italian sensibility,” says Andiario.
Rhode Island fluke crudo with fermented aji dulce peppers and crispy Jerusalem artichokes.
The third course focuses on proteins, which might include locally sourced pork shoulder with root vegetables, a delicate Pocono trout scented by pine forest forgings, or fresh Tioga County chicken with beets and fig leaves.
Credit line cook Stephen Padilla for the three nightly crème-focuse desserts. Fault Gap-based Green Meadow Farm’s de-shelling machine for missing one of the roasted hickory nuts topping my warm and frothy affogato.
Our after-dinner chenin blanc was one of a small but growing list of wines, beers and cocktails available. Andiario is also working to curate botanicals for garnishes.
Porcetta di Testa with fried tenerumi
Food is jarred, fermented, preserved and dried
While the presentations are somewhat plain and provincial, fussy finessing and overwrought deconstructions aren’t Andiario’s style—and they don’t impact flavors in the least. Rather, the economy of ingredients only makes the imaginative complexities more impressive.
Van Schaijik eschews online reservations in favor of phone bookings, making this a tough reservation, though not impossible. She suggests dining earlier in the week or trying for an early-evening walk-in.
It’s heartening to know that this restaurant is only in its fledgling stage—especially when you see how hard the owners and young staff work to better themselves. Andiario is undoubtedly a gastronomic game changer.
106 W. Gay St., West Chester, (484) 887-0919, andiario.com.