Restaurant Review – The Robin’s Nest in Mount Holly, NJ

Nestled a few blocks away from Mount Holly’s historic district, the Robin’s Nest treats patrons to an outstanding dining experience. In addition to the food, customers have the option of feasting on a breathtaking outdoor view of the creek. This establishment got the complete dining experience right.

While a beautiful spring day, I opted to dine inside. From the cozy layout I suspected the building rather old. I read a historical marker on the edifice next to the main dining area indicating it served as a jail in the early 1900s. I suspected someone constructed the building where I ate at least that long ago. I didn’t count, but there couldn’t have been more than 15 seats at the bar. I did volunteer work in an ‘historic’ home for several years. Due to the age of the various edifices in the area, the compactness didn’t bother me.

After perusing the menu an interesting dish stood out. The Robin’s Nest offered a lasagna entrée made with goat cheese. I’ve had many Italian dishes, but never that. As one only lives once, and with the knowledge of a hospital located a few blocks away, I ordered it. Much to my chagrin my server returned from the kitchen to inform me they didn’t have any more. Readers of this column know: not receiving what I order really strains the limits of my patience.

My love of visiting historical places may have alleviated my temper. I’d been to the county court house in Mount Holly, but never to any of the historic sections. I’d had the pleasure of seeing the oldest fire house in the U. S. on this trip. Taking a sense of pride from my surroundings, I opted for the town’s namesake. This time I ordered the Mount Holly Melt.

Had I not read the other meal on the menu I would’ve requested it, anyway. The menu described it as, “Chicken Salad with Celery, Onion and Mandarin Oranges in a Creamy Dill Mayonnaise Dressing topped with Melted Cheddar Cheese, served on Toasted Fresh Baked Sourdough Bread with a Side Salad.”

What the server delivered surprised me. The salad came with the meal. The preparer placed it on the plate to the left of the sandwich. The latter only had one slice of bread on the bottom. This forced me to cut it with a fork. After my initial misgivings, I tried and enjoyed it. I liked both the leafy salad and the chicken salad sections of the meal. The sizable portion made for an excellent lunch. I didn’t see the bottom of the plate until I finished eating.

I liked the price even more. The on-line menu advertises the Mount Holly Melt as $9.50. They charged me $8.95 for it as a “lunch special.” That’s a very economical cost for the quantity served.

I mentioned before that ambiance defines this establishment’s core competency. Even the rest room impressed me. The series of men’s ties adorning the gilded colored walls gave it the air of an old time washroom. The series of aphorisms that appeared throughout also added to its uniqueness. I’ll quote the most memorable.

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” Sir Francis Bacon

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Ambition is the last refuge of failure.” Oscar Wilde

At first I thought this an odd place for philosophical ruminations. Then I realized: a rest room is one of the few places in today’s world where a person is alone to think. I guess the management strives to expand consumers’ intellectual horizons as well as their waist lines.

The sign over the commode made for the most striking feature, though. It read, “Please be seated. Waitress will serve you.” I normally don’t applaud ‘bathroom humor’ at a fine dining establishment, but I did chuckle while reading it.

It’s rare to see a unique combination of good food, great scenery and wit. There’s a lot of history in the Mount Holly area. I hope that the Robin’s Nest remains part of its present for a long time to come.

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