Firepoint Grill gives Newtown Square Diners a Destination Restaurant
George Paxos’ new American eatery is sleek and stylish.
From Firepoint Grill: Nueske’s applewood-smoked bacon steak//Photos by Steve Legato
After a decade of waiting, the Shops at Ellis Preserve—Newtown Square’s deluxe retail village—has finally unveiled its collection of new eateries. The real attention-getter among them is Firepoint Grill, a 250-seat space with an additional 150 seats on its alfresco patio. When the flames flickered on this past November, the expansive, energetic eatery became an instant hit.
Credit George Paxos—the 56-year-old restaurateur who helms four successful Lehigh Valley eateries—with this open-kitchen destination. It features an impressive wood-burning oven and several gas fireplaces throughout the dining rooms.
“It’s the centerpiece of this restaurant,” says Paxos’ corporate chef, Christopher Heath, gesturing toward the hefty Morello Forni wood-fired gem from Ceranesi, Italy. “Burning at 700 degrees, a pizza takes just a minute and a half to cook.”
From Left: Chef Christopher Heath preps a pie for the oven; the sleek yet inviting dining area
A pliant 12-inch disc of hand-formed dough and imported cheeses has quickly become a Heath signature. Its flame-blasted topography forms a hilly crust encircling a bubbly, plum-tomato-flecked valley of gooey goodness.
Elsewhere, a shiny rotisserie slow-roasts braised meats. Texas-style dry-rubbed babyback ribs turn alongside a rosemary-dusted, farm-fresh half chicken and, later, a 10-ounce filet mignon.
Firepoint’s American menu is replete with sandwiches, salads, and a bevy of appetizers and large-portion entrées. Plump fried oysters—jacketed in buttermilk breading and served with rémoulade sauce—give a nod to the South, while the cheesy vegetarian moussaka celebrates Paxos’ Greek heritage. Italy is represented in the form of lasagna, ravioli and seafood pescatore. And the chicken-and-matzo-ball soup offers a touch of Jewish cuisine.
From Left: Rotisserie chicken; linguine pescatore
Heath’s diverse fare is rooted in comfort, from burgers and pastas to simple desserts like fudge-drizzled funnel cake and a giant chocolate-chip cookie. Nothing is overtly sophisticated, yet everything is uncompromisingly flavorful.
At the centrally located bar—now a happy-hour hub—beverage director Natasha Knight has compiled an impressive selection of libations, including 16 rotating draft beers, a varied wine list and clever cocktails. Several of the latter spotlight Stateside Vodka, Manatawny Still Works whiskey and other regional spirits. Once the weather changes, the patio’s bar area will be Newtown Square’s best reason to imbibe outdoors.
With his noticeably high employee-to-guest ratio, Paxos obviously strives for a team approach. During our visits, servers were personable and plentiful.
If there’s one small sputter to Firepoint’s spark, it’s the din ricocheting across hard surfaces during peak hours. But, as my dining partner emphasized during a meal there, “It’s loud because it’s crowded.”
Undoubtedly, this acoustical conundrum stems, in part, from Firepoint Grill’s considerable popularity.
A freshly made pepperoni pizza.
3739 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, (484) 428-3093.
Cuisine: American with international touches.
Cost: Appetizers $5-$18, entrées $14-$43.
Atmosphere: Sleek and stylish.
Hours: Lunch: 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Saturday. Dinner: 4–10 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 4–11 p.m. Friday–Saturday, 3–9 p.m. Sunday. Sunday brunch: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Extras: Seasonal outdoor dining area with a bar.