Last Thursday, our team went to Split Rail Tavern to celebrate the release of our September Edible West Chester issue. Over 100 people were in attendance, and shared a ton of delicious food together, including pasta and their Buffalo chicken wings, (featured in “The War of the Wings”). I spoke with Lea Blumenthal, one of the managers at Split Rail, about her thoughts on our issue.
This was Split Rail’s first time hosting a release party for us, though they have sponsored the Bartender’s Ball in the past. In preparation for our party, James Mullally, the bar manager, and Aaron Guildin of Beam Suntory collaborated to produce a fantastic cocktail list for the evening.
- Rye Rye Birdie — Knob Creek Rye, Luxardo Marachino liquor, Caroabi Antica Sweet Vermouth, and Orange Bitters.
- Beam Me Up Scotchy — Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, Laphroaig, Select, Averna Amaro, Punt e Mes, Benedictine, and Black Walnut and Cherry Bitters.
- Paper Plane — Jim Beam Bourbon, Averna Amaro, Carpano Antica, and Lemon Juice.
- New Yorkdale Sour — Jim Beam Bourbon, Lemon, Simple Syrup, Egg White, topped with red wine.
According to Lea, Rye Rye Birdie is their most popular drink. While they always have that cocktail and Paper Plane on their menu, they don’t always have the others, though they have the means to make it if a customer ordered it.
Lea has been the manager at Split Rail for two years already and loves the work.
“Everybody is super friendly and I feel like I’ve gotten to know so many people,” she said. “It’s pretty remarkable when I go around and I realize how many people I know and have met.”
The restaurant industry isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to incorporate a passion for the business with the ability to cope with ever-changing situations, even if you’re working on weekends and holidays.
“Those are some of the best times ever, when things don’t go as planned,” Lea noted. “Any time where you’re really in a bind and have to think on your feet are some of the times where we come up with the coolest things, as far as food, cocktails, and parties go.”