The Buttersburg is one of those places that my wife and I have been to many times but too often forget to visit, perhaps because it specializes in comfort foods that my spouse is quite accomplished at in making for our dinners.
Sometime you just need a night out though and the Buttersburg is a local gem, I only wish we had a similar restaurant in my neck of the woods in Carroll County. The folks that live in Union Bridge and nearby New Windsor are lucky to have the daily convenience of this restaurant which is locally owned and operated hands-on by hosts Frank Tunzi and Jim Rowe .
No matter how homey some franchise restaurants try to make their image they can’t compete with places like the Buttersburg. In fact, I swear some of the “down-home cookin” style franchised restaurants I have eaten in don’t have a stove in their kitchen. These cookie-cutter places put up a huge American Flag, use Early American - looking furnishings, hang quaint local pictures on the walls and then prepare their pre-pared foods in a battery of microwave ovens.
We were met at the door by Jim and he ushered us to a table. Our server quickly gave us menus and explained the night’s special. The specials are pretty special at this restaurant as I will explain momentarily.
One thing that makes this place special for us is that they allow you to bring your own bottle of wine. I don’t think a lot of diners there do the BYOB thing but it is great for those of us winos who enjoy wine almost every meal – and here you can do it without the inflated cost of “restaurant priced wine” which is often double or triple the retail cost at a wine merchant. Neither of my parents thought much of wine except when they would go to Maria’s 300 in Little Italy where they would order a very inexpensive bottle of the house made, chianti-like, red wine. I have often thought of my Irish Grandfather as a teetotaler but he did insist on a very small glass of Mogen David or Manischewitz fruit wine with his meal (the old ads proclaimed, “Man-O-Manischewitz!”). On seeing that we brought our own wine, our waitress immediately offered us a wine opener and glasses (Carroll County Wine Festival glasses!)
I have to admit that I had fried chicken on my brain when I announced to my wife that she was going to have a night off from the galley; however, one of the night’s special was soft crabs. Ok, so I talked her into getting the Fried Chicken so I could get my favoritest food in the world (I knew I’d get at least a chicken wing off her plate). But first I had to try a cup of their home-made chicken corn soup. It was terrific with huge hunks of chicken, loads of corn and carrots in a great broth. My entrée came with two sides but I only cared for one. Without my suggesting it, the waitress offered me a side-salad. That was certainly unnecessary but appreciated.
My soft crab platter came out hot with two whale size softies that were lightly battered, fried to perfection and accompanied by a large side of fresh, kitchen-cut fried potatoes. A little mustard on my crabs and I was off to Maryland Seafood Heaven.
The fried chicken was done to perfection. In a world of franchise restaurant and grocery store prepared fried chicken, what stands out as the real deal is what you will find in Union Bridge.
Now about those specials, until last evening I did not know that the Buttersburg Inn had regular “special” days. Where else in this or any neighboring County are you going to find Fried Rabbit (every 4th weekend), Liver & Onions night (Tuesdays), Prime Rib (every weekend), Stuffed Pork Chops (Friday nights) and on every third weekend of the month a real treat for the culinary adventurous, Hog Maws. Yep, you heard it here first. I hope that last one doesn’t create a rush on the Inn for all you stuffed Hog Maw lovers.
By the way, the standard of standards for comfort food is at The Buttersburg too, open faced hot roast beef sandwiches with fries, all smothered in gravy. I don’t know if it is available every night but I do know they have some nights when they cook up a mess of turkeys and have a real traditional meal complete with stuffing and cranberry sauce.
As if the entrees aren’t good enough, The Buttersburg is famous for the cakes and pies they bake right there. I really didn’t have room for desert and seldom do but my spouse always has room for a chocolate sundae. At the Inn, her sundae was laced with fresh brownie. The Hummingbird Cake was recommended and the Three Fruit Rhubarb Pie sounded awful good; maybe I’ll give one of them a go next time we are out that way. All of the fresh baked desserts are listed on a chalk board at the back of the dining room.
The Buttersburg Inn captures the essence of Carroll County. It is an unpretentious setting for good food. They don’t make restaurants like this anymore, they just make franchise joints that try to capture their homey style with “chefs” who don’t know how to cook an egg much less stuff a pork chop that didn’t come out of the food service truck that way.
Dress is casual and the prices very square. Take a night off from kitchen duty and take the beautiful drive to Union Bridge for a home cooked meal.
The Buttersburg Inn
9 N. Main St.
Union Bridge, MD 21791