Our first experience at Strawberry Hill was FANTASTIC. The establishment was small but charming. The food and wine was the best we've had in Lancaster. The owner even stopped by our table to chat us up for over 20 minutes. We thought we had found THE place for us. However, we were very disappointed after our return visit, which was our 2nd wedding anniversary.
Upon arrival, we were given the choice of our table, seeing as the dining room was empty. My husband and I mentioned again, as with our first visit, how strange it was that such a fabulous place was so empty. So, the same waitress as our first visit greeted us, and promptly brought cocktails. We placed an order for scallops for our appetizer while we decided on dinner. The scallops were cooked to perfection. The waitress returned to get our dinner order and we asked for the owner's suggestion of wine to compliment our dinner. The owner's son returned to ask, "white or red" and "price range". Since we had ordered the grouper for dinner, we asked for white, crisp and acidic for under $80. The owner returned with a bottle of Kumeu River 2005 Chardonnay from New Zealand and proceeded to tell "the story behind the wine", which was another great selection as before with our first visit.
So, the dinner progressed to our salad that we ordered to split. The waitress automatically had the salad split onto two plates. As we are eating our salad, tables begin to fill. One in particular, directly across from us, is right in front of the kitchen door. Not soon after, YELLING, SCREAMING, and CURSING begins to bellow out from the kitchen. Having heard both the owner's and the waitress's voice before, we knew immediately who were yelling and cursing at each other. The woman, from the recently sat table in front of the kitchen door, proceeds to walk into the kitchen. Immediately, an older women comes from the kitchen stating "everything is ok". My husband and I were dumbfounded and the couple from the recently sat table left without even being greeted.
Our waitress comes out of the kitchen with mascara streaming down her cheeks for what seems to be a quick scan of the room and is escorted, by the older women back into the kitchen. Later, the waitress returns calm and collected but when my husband inquired to her well being she proceeds to state, "don't know why I continue to work here, this is the last time he lays a hand on me". Regardless, of the screaming match and the slander from the waitress, our dinner finishes with great desserts. As to remember the wine, my husband snaps a picture of the label with his iPhone and request the check.
While looking over the check, my husband notices the itemized list and sees "open wine" for the exact amount, $80, we had mentioned as our price range. But, my husband choose to research the wine later before second guessing a sommelier during our 2nd wedding anniversary dinner. Needless to say, that bottle of wine would not cost $80 from a liquor store.
We feel taken and are very dissapointed by this establishment. We doubt that we will return after the unprofessionalism of the owner/staff and being upcharged so much for a bottle of wine. I wish I had read some of the reviews already posted prior to visiting this establishment. I think I could have saved us some money as well as some disappointment.
wont be returning. great food poor ownership
Not as expected.
We went for an anniversary dinner
We went for our anniversary dinner and found the restuarant to be merely satisfactory
The food was average though the wine list extensive, the owner a bit too involved, didn't have a good comfortable feel. We ordered white star which was on the menu, and they didn't have it! But they had a bottle for more money! I asked the price, I didn't care if I looked cheap! I would rather eat at the loft or the pressroom. Wont be back.
Owner cursed out my wife.
Many Lancaster friends of ours had praised the excellent food and wine selection of Strawberry Hill. Sadly, they failed to mention that the owner, Dennis, has some undiagnosed psychological problems that manifest themselves by shouting, swearing at, and poking his customers. The appalling reviews of his over-the-line behavior are not fantasy. Do not go to this restaurant unless you like to play Russian roulette. Some nights, it seems, the owner is affable and entertaining. Other nights, he will ruin your dining experience and even scare you. My wife and experienced his awful temper first-hand on during a dinner on 11/20/09. We left the restaurant traumatized by the experience.
Some reviewers describe the owner's behavior as friendly, colorful, and exuberant. I'm sorry, you can't expect to own a any business (let alone a restaurant that charges $30 for an entree) and swear violently (I mean the f-word) at your customers while they are trying to enjoy a dinner. My wife and I were berated not for anything we did, but for telling Dennis that the recruiting team from a local hospital enjoyed hosting dinners at SH until their entertainment budget shrank. Sadly, we explained, the recruiters could no longer schedule dinners at SH, but we were glad to be there enjoying a meal that night. Immediately, something switched inside him, and his red-faced affability became a shouting, swearing, finger-jabbing explosion of anger at us. "How dare you..." he shouted. His outburst lasted for 30 seconds, and he repeated jabbed his finger into my wife's shoulder while swearing continuously. We should have got up and walked out, but we didn't--too stunned to move. How do you complain about bad service when it's the owner who is the problem?
Oh yeah, the food was excellent, as was the wine. But how much does that matter when you feel like you've been assaulted.
I can't believe the negative reviews of this place. My wife and I went there for our anniversary and had a wonderful time. Our server, Holly, really made us feel at home. We had a great conversation with the owner, Dennis. We found him to be funny, entertaining, and over-all very pleasant. Could be that some of the folks writing the poor reviews just don't have a sense of humor! He is certainly passonate about his restaurant and his wine list. We had a good time with him both before and after our meal.
The food was out of this world. I had the New York Strip which was done to perfection, and beautifully presented. The owner's daughter helped us choose the wine, which was the perfect compliment to the meal..
We drive to Lancaster often from MD and this is the best restaurant we have found!
drunk, obnoxious pig for an owner. For all the great things about Strawberry Hill, it's not enough to overcome the overbearing,foul mouthed most of the time drunk owner Dennis Keren. He will tell you what wine to order and then without asking pour himself the first glass out of the bottle. It's almost unbelieveable his behavior. Never go there again despite a nice atmosphere and above average food. It's not just me from reading the reviews but ask anyone who has eaten there and they say the same thing. What a shame.
Would be great if the owner wasn't there.
My wife and I went on the recommendation of friends who liked it. We were told they had a great wine selection (true), and good food (also true). What we didn't count on was the rude, arrogant, obnoxious, and drunk owner (Dennis). He is almost indescribably offensive. He tells you what wine you'll like, despite what you say, and then tells you you're a peasant for not liking what he tells you to drink. What good is a huge wine list if the owner tells you that you WILL drink what he picks for you?
I dislike extremely dry Merlot, so I asked our server (who was very nice) for something much less dry. She came back with a bottle that the owner told her to pour me. It was ARID. Dry enough for you?!!!
Here's a tip so you won't ruin your evening. Don't try to send the wine back, and don't say you'd rather have what you know you like. You will be ridiculed in front of the entire restaurant by the sot who owns the place.
I will never go back there unless it changes ownership. Worst dining experience in my 13 years in Lancaster.
Really gone downhill.
Strawberry Hill used to be a great restaurant that I would recommend to visitors and locals alike, but I just can't do that anymore. My most recent experience there was just not good. That 's even allowing for certain things that I've come to expect, such as a long wait for a table(even with reservations), the permeating stench of cigarette smoke from the bar, and the loud, obnoxious owner who drinks too much and makes misguided personal comments to the patrons. That's all forgivable if the meal is really sublime.
No, this time, the food was BAD. The bisque was cold. The lobster had been frozen and thawed too quickly, giving it a mushy consistency and a strong fishy taste. The halibut didn't taste like anything at all, while the salmon was sickly sweet. We couldn't handle anymore disappointment, so we skipped dessert.
I wish we would have skipped Strawberry Hill entirely...
Thankfully, one of Lancaster's best-kept-secrets. A few weeks ago, we (my wife & i) had dinner with our friends at Strawberry Hill. We make it a point to have dinner with our friends once a month and we take turns choosing the place. When I said, "what about SH", they said "That would be great, we always forget about SH, but when we go, we are never disappointed...usually impressed to the point we are kicking ourselves that we don't attend more often." The ambiance, staff, wine, and menu is outstanding. I HIGHLY recommend it for businees or personal dinning. The owner Dennis is very involved in the success of SH. He is very conversational and willing to explain, converse and committed to making your dinning a pleasuable experience. Also, the firplace is a nice touch this time of year.
Chastised and berated by the owner..
I have never had such an awful experience with an owner. The food and our waitress, Holly were both outstanding, however we had an awful conversation with Dennis, owner when we walked out the front door.
He chastised us for using a discount card (Entertainment Book Card). By the way, we got a $10 discount and still paid $160 for two of us. We had no complaints about what we paid. No complaints about anything until he spoke to us. He started by saying "it's a shame it takes a coupon for people to come here"
He chastised us for not coming to the restaurant more often (we live an hour away) I said there are many wonderful restaurants to visit. He arrogantly asked us to name one. We named a few and he bad mouthed them, saying one had terrible food. He insulted the other restaurants and our taste in restaurants.
As we began to walk away he said "come back, but leave your card at home".
He never once thanked us for being there. The entire conversation was arrogant and insulting. I'm sorry to say that we willl never be back.
There are many other worthy, wonderful restaurants in the Lancaster area to spend your money.
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