The Mansion Inn Bed and Breakfast Offers Weekend Getaways and Fine Dining
WEEKEND GETAWAY: “We want people to have an experience here, and think of us on many levels. They can stay overnight at the Inn, dine in Royal T’s restaurant, or come for a special event. This is a great place for rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, family reunions, and retreats.” Owners Kris Tomasulo, left, and Joseph Grande look forward to introducing many more visitors to The Mansion Inn and Royal T’s at The Mansion restaurant in New Hope.
If you’re looking forward to a break in your routine, a visit to New Hope, Pa., is always an inviting change of scene. Located right on the river, it offers a variety of dining, shopping, and theater opportunities in a very scenic and historic setting.
The Mansion Inn is an appealing destination point for many visitors who travel over the bridge from New Jersey as well as others from Pennsylvania, New York, and even farther afield.
Located at 9 South Main Street in a historic Victorian building, it has recently reopened under new ownership. Owners Kris Tomasulo and Joseph Grande are very optimistic about the Inn’s future, both as a bed and breakfast and a fine dining experience at Royal T’s at The Mansion restaurant.
A Yardley, Pa., native with a successful Wall Street career, Mr. Tomasulo always wanted to return to his roots. The opportunity to reopen The Mansion Inn came at an opportune time. “I had been wanting a change, and I wanted be in Bucks County again,” he said. “I’ve been coming to New Hope my whole life.
“Also, I had always been interested in cooking, and even attended culinary school for a while. This was such a great opportunity — a chance to have the rooms for overnight and space with a restaurant, bar, and outdoors. It is a lot of different business models under one roof.”
In addition, he continues, “The building is so historic. It was built in 1865 as a private home. In 1902, a physician purchased the house, and it remained in the same family for three generations. It first became an inn and bed and breakfast in 1999.”
With its Baroque Victorian-style architecture and original wrought iron grape cluster fence, the building has always intrigued New Hope residents and tourists alike, points out Mr. Tomasulo. “People have always been interested in it. There’s always been a mystique about the place. Sometimes, people come in and just ask to look around.”
With co-owner Joseph Grande, who also has Wall Street financial experience, Mr. Tomasulo carefully investigated the bed and breakfast and restaurant opportunities in the community. Always a challenge, the food industry requires knowledge of this very specialized business, careful attention to detail, and an unrelenting work ethic.
Rest and Relaxation
“Joe and I had a lot of Wall Street experience, and we took a very disciplined financial approach,” explains Mr. Tomasulo. “Also, food is a passion-led industry, and we have that. We also have a very hands-on approach; we are knowledgeable and know what we want to achieve. Attention to detail is a priority with us, and we believed the clientele had been underserved.”
Guests wishing to stay overnight have a choice of five rooms, all recently updated, he adds. “They are spacious and comfortable, and three include suites.” He notes that in addition to visitors from beyond the area, many overnight guests are from New Hope as well as nearby New Jersey residents, just looking forward to a weekend of rest and relaxation.
“Also, we have had many special events, and people enjoy staying overnight for these,” said Mr. Tomasulo. “We recently hosted a Wellness Weekend, which included yoga, Pilates, and meditation sessions. In May, we featured the artwork of artist J. Yu, who was formerly associated with Princeton University. There are also a lot of good things happening in New Hope that our guests find appealing.”
A complimentary continental breakfast is available for overnight guests, who can also enjoy dining at the Inn’s popular restaurant, Royal T’s at The Mansion. With seating for 66 inside as well as 20 in the bar and lounge and 18 on the front porch, the restaurant offers an inviting dining experience. Mr. Tomasulo hopes to add outdoor seating for 60 in the future.
He describes the cuisine as modern American with Italian-American undertones, and also featuring Asian-inspired dishes.
“In a way, it’s a playful menu, with some unexpected choices. For example, one of our most popular dishes is French Onion “Soup” Dumplings, a new take on Asian dumplings. People love them.”
Dining reviews have been consistently favorable, with customers appreciating the varied and unique menu. In addition to the the French Onion “Soup” Dumplings, small plates include Scallop Ceviche with watermelon pico de gallo, avocado, mint lime, cilantro, and chili oil; and Spanish Octopus with frisée, chili-infused olive oil, and confit fingerling potatoes, among others.
Popular entrees include Seared Scallops with heirloom cherry tomato salad, cucumber, red onion, and basil pesto; Seared Wild Halibut with sauce verte, spring vegetables, lemon aioli, and forbidden rice; Porcini-Crusted Filet; and the Royal T Burger, featuring Pat Lafreida Black Label dry-aged blend, bacon jam, cheddar, and special-T sauce, which is a big favorite. “We import very expensive meat,” points out Mr. Tomasulo.
Side dishes are also in demand, and include Asparagus with fried egg, prosciutto, pecorino, and black truffle; Wild Mushrooms fricassee; Fines Herbes Fries — hand-cut fries with curry mustard and truffle ketchup; and Brussels Sprouts with honey sriracha and bacon.
Royal T’s also offers a very popular Saturday and Sunday brunch, reports Mr. Tomasulo. Among the favorites are Blueberry Lemon Pistachio Pancakes; Bananas Foster French Toast; Smoked Salmon Benedict with two poached eggs, cream cheese, hollandaise, chives, and home fries; and Chicken and Waffles — cheddar and jalapeño corn waffles with chicken gravy or honey sriracha.
Desserts are a “must-have” for many at Royal T’s, and Mr. Tomasulo says that “We typically have four desserts on the menu, and they are all popular. A big favorite is the Brownie with Salted Caramel Ice Cream; also the Flourless Chocolate Cake, Lemon Bars, and we will be introducing Passion Fruit Panna cotta.”
The restaurant is currently BYOB, but a liquor license is pending.
Dinner prices start at $10 for small plates, $21 for entrees, and $12 for brunch. On Tuesdays, a special three-course $30 dinner is offered.
Mr. Tomasulo and Mr. Grande are very pleased with the response to the Inn and Royal T’s, and look forward to planning a number of theme events, including guest speaker-hosted evenings paired with festive food.
In September, a very special dinner is anticipated in honor of the book The Thousand Dollar Dinner: America’s First Great Cookery Challenge. Author Becky Libourel Diamond will be on hand to share information about this fascinating event. As Mr. Tomasulo explains, “In 1851, a group of very wealthy New Yorkers invited a group of Philadelphia friends to a very special dinner at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York.
“Not to be outdone, the Philadelphians had chef James W. Parkinson prepare a 17-course, 12-hour meal that became known as ‘The One Thousand Dollar Dinner.’ In the midst of the meal, the New Yorkers stood to applaud and declare the Philadelphia dinner the winner.”
The multi-course Royal T’s dinner, while not costing $1,000, is expected to be memorable, notes Mr. Tomasulo.
“We want people to know this is a very special place,” he continues. “We love this community, and we are here to stay. I very much enjoy reaching out to the guests at dinner and interacting with them. We really enjoy making people happy. This is number one for us.
“One of my mentors told me something Benjamin Franklin had once said: ‘The taste of the roast is only as grand as the handshake of the host!’ We always remember that.”
Royal T’s at The Mansion can be reached at (267) 740-7153, or visit the website at themansioninnnewhope.com.