Dinner at The Tavern at Salem

We made a day trip to Winston-Salem, NC to visit the Moravian settlements of Bethabara and Old Salem. Our trip took longer than planned because of an unexpected emergency visit to a Jeep dealer. The problem turned out to be minor but essential to fix before we could continue with our visit. Because of the delay, we decided to have dinner before starting the drive back to camp. We were charmed by Old Salem’s historic buildings, gardens, etc. The early American atmosphere was definitely there in this restored Moravian settlement. The choice to dine at the Tavern at Salem in the heart of Old Salem was an easy one.


This family owned restaurant is housed in an annex built in 1816 as an addition to the historic 1784 Tavern in Salem. Just the thought of dining in a place that has survived that long appealed to us. The original tavern building was the first entirely brick building in the settlement and housed public rooms on the ground floor, and sleeping quarters for guests above, with the kitchen and landlord’s quarters in an ell to the rear. The annex, which sits just to the north of the original tavern, provided additional guest sleeping quarters. At one time there was a connecting building between the two. George Washington spent two nights at the tavern in 1791.

The restaurant serves lunch from 11-3:30 and dinner from 5-9 (closed on Mondays). Since we arrived a little before five, we spent a pleasant fifteen minutes sitting on a bench on the front porch. The door was opened promptly at five and we were welcomed into the home -like foyer.


We were seated by a window in one of the small intimate dining rooms with a view of the brick paved street. The period decor included reproduction Moravian pottery and pewter on the fireplace mantel.


We noticed that the window panes were the old antique wavy glass.


The menu features dishes prepared from locally farmed food and inspired by the Moravian families that lived in Salem in the 19th century.  While we perused the menu, our waiter lit our table candle and brought beverages and a basket of snow flake rolls and pumpkin muffins.


We both decided to start with the Beer Cheese soup. The subtle flavor of the beer combined with a mild cheese and minced vegetables made for a delicious soup.


I chose the traditional Moravian Chicken Pot Pie. The “pie” was stuffed with chicken and served atop mashed potatoes with chicken gravy and fresh green beans. I enjoyed it and would order it again.


Dwight’s choice was the Char Grilled North Carolina Lemon Pepper Catfish served with Sundried Tomatoes, Heirloom Bean Ragout, and Baby Brussel Sprouts. He said it was very flavorful and gave it a thumbs up.


I had noticed Linzer Torte listed on the menu board by the front door as one of the desserts of the day. Linzer Torte is a dessert made with a crumbly pastry crust that includes ground nuts, usually hazelnuts, and is covered with a filling of some sort of jam. In this case it was a red raspberry filling. I like tortes, hazelnuts, and raspberries so that was a no brainer choice. Our waiter revealed that it is the one dessert not made in house. Instead, they have a local lady who immigrated from Germany make her delicious Linzer Torte exclusively for the Tavern. Served with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of candied ginger, it was delicious with a cup of the house’s excellent coffee.

All in all, our dining experience at The Tavern in Salem was very satisfying. We will gladly return if we are in the area again.


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