Christopher’s, Wayne

January 27th, 2012

christophers-wayne guinness pork

Perhaps the most controversial restaurant review Main Line Dine has ever written was that of Christopher’s in Wayne, which posted shortly after the site launched in 2003. This review was ruthless, wasting little time calling out Christopher’s as “a terrible restaurant… [where] you won’t get a decent meal.”

There was nothing more to this review than what it was; no below-the-surface grudges existed. It was fairly based on several poor experiences, which were documented with clear examples. The most egregious concerned a dish of ravioli that was so undercooked it was crunchy, then re-served without sauce (and still crunchy, btw) after sending it back. (After posting the review, we actually got several notes from Chef/Owner Chris Todd inviting us to revisit, but it was too late. This was unforgivable stuff – not “worth another try” stuff.)

Readers, for the most part, agreed with our assessment. Friends who read it concurred wholeheartedly. Though some commenters on the site thought the review was overly harsh, they rarely offered anything other than a halfhearted defense.

So why was this review controversial? Well, it was from 2003, and remained on the site, unchanged, through 2011. As the years went by, and Christopher’s remained open — which, of course is not necessarily an indication of good food, just good business — the reviews began to change. More often, when someone left a comment about Christopher’s, it was something along the lines of “What is your problem? This place is pretty good”. My one buddy, who was perhaps the most ardent supporter of our original review, even conceded that he and his wife now go regularly and enjoy it for what it is – a casual, quick bite.

It is finally time, then, to bury the hatchet, and put Christopher’s back into the mix. When some friends were looking for a place to meet for lunch in Wayne recently, I enthusiastically suggested this we go there.

The atmosphere is great; it always has been. Some commenters have suggested that the negative review related to the fact that the room is always filled with families with children. This makes it noisy, yes, but so what? This is a “neighborhood place”, not the Four Seasons (or Hogfish, apparently). It’s probably not the best choice for a romantic, candlelit dinner, but it is a fun, bustling room that is designed quite nicely and is, of course, a great place to bring kids.

Service is decidedly casual, as it should be, but a small detail showed considerable improvement since the days of crunchy ravioli. One of our party mentioned a food allergy, and the seemingly young and potentially inexperienced server handled it as well as I’ve ever seen. “No problem,” she said right away. “Our kitchen is great with allergies. I’ll let them know right away.” It’s little touches such as this that make diners feel like they are in good hands.

Christopher’s menu remains a bit unfocused; their website even states that they offer “a little bit of everything” and “so many choices.” It’s hard to believe any restaurant can expertly execute Mexican, burgers, pizza, pasta, seafood and everything in between, but Christopher’s continued success suggests that they are managing some level of consistency.

That said, the Guinness pulled pork sandwich immediately drew my attention. Not a barbecue pulled pork (which they do also offer), which tend to be overly sweet in these types of establishments, this was pork slowly braised in dark, roasty beer. An interesting twist on a favorite, to be sure. The richness of the pork paired nicely with tangy apple slaw, as well as a spicy-sweet “cherry” mustard, and the pretzel roll was a comforting, delicious touch to finish it off. This sandwich is perhaps a bit heavy for a business lunch, but on a day off, when paired with one of the craft beers on tap (from a small but adequate list), it hit the spot.

It was just a sandwich. There are a world of other menu options to explore, which would take many, many visits to do with any completeness (even just sticking to the simple stuff, which seems wise), but it was definitely a more enjoyable experience than it was in 2004.

Perhaps Christopher’s isn’t a terrible restaurant after all.

All the comments from 2004-present are available below.

2004 Review of Christopher’s
Overview: Plainly, a terrible restaurant that has managed to build up a reputation for being a good place for families with children to get a decent meal. And while it may be a good place to bring children, you won’t get a decent meal.Food: Italian bistro fare, with pizzas, pastas and fish. I once ordered a ravioli with broccoli rabe and sausage (no longer on the menu) that came out of the kitchen crunchy. Crunchy! I sent it back and it returned a few minutes later without any sauce (the sauce was a simple oil & garlic) and dripping in water. Clearly the chef had just dumped my plate back into the boiling water and found it unnecessary to re-season the dish. And if that isn’t enough, the pasta was still so undercooked that it was inedible. The previous time I ate at Christopher’s I ordered the Salmon with barbeque glaze, although the glaze was more like ragu sauce. It was flat out terrible. If you must go, have the pizza — its the best thing on the menu, although that isn’t saying much.

Bar: A nice little bar that, if you can get a seat, is a good place for a drink with a few friends. This is the only reason I gave the restaurant even one spoon.

Ambiance: The sad thing about Christophers is that it is a great space. Its an open room with exposed brick walls and a comfortable bar in the corner. Its loud and noisy and bustling (often with children, especially earlier), but that is how any “neighborhood place” should be.

Service: I got my crunchy ravioli free, but that doesn’t make up for the way it was served to me, twice.

Value: The wine list has a number of good values. (Although a recent visit to the bar revealed that wine by the glass has become quite expensive.) Bad food is never a good value.

Overall Reader Rating:

38 Responses to “Christopher’s, Wayne”

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  1. Terry says:

    We have been here a few times and the food has been marginal. What really stood out to us is the service in the kitchen. The servers are fine but the time to get an order through the kitchen is wayyyyyy too slow. It took 15 minutes for our child’s dessert to come out. When it finally did it was instant pudding in a plastic container with half the foil still on the top! Menu is overpriced and you can barely carry a conversation due to the noise.

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  2. Christopher says:

    Thanks, for coming back in. Hope you continue to enjoy as long as we’re around!

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  3. Stu says:

    It’s been 2 years since I provided a review on Christopher’s, which mean’s that my wife and I have been walking to Christopher’s for dinner a couple of times per week for over 5 years (and the occasional lunch). We thoroughly enjoy the experience, like that the menu is changed-up every few months (without dropping the excellent favorites) and completely disagree with the administrator’s review from 2004. Looks like most of the reviewers share our very positive view of Christopher’s.

    Here’s the text of my review in 2008, it still holds:

    “My wife and I walk to Christopher’s a couple of times each week for dinner and have done so for over 3 years. We go there often for many reasons: the menu provides a wide variety of choices along with interesting daily specials, the food is consistently good, the prices are reasonable (agree that the wine by the glass is over the top) and we can almost always grab a table in the bar area if we don’t want to wait for a table. What separates Christopher’s from the other restaurants along N. Wayne Avenue is that it is a neighborhood place….the servers & bartenders greet you with a smile (they remember your name and if you listen you’ll hear them greet many customers by name), they always accommodate any menu substitution that you’d like to make (zero hassle) and, in the rare occasion, if there is a problem with your food they will immediately & politely take care of it. Christopher’s is what it is…noisy at times, servers hustling through the dining area, a lot of families around the 6pm hour…and everything else I mentioned above.

    I have to disagree with the administrator, this is a wonderful neighborhood place that certainly deserves a much higher rating. Next time the administrator feels like reviewing Christopher’s look for us at one of the bar tables in the window, we’d love to have you join us.”

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  4. Matthew says:

    I’m wondering if the management or chef has changed since the bad reviewers ate there? I just moved to Wayne recently, and didn’t get my kitchen stuff moved for a couple of weeks. During that time, I ate at Christophers at least 7 or 8 times, and have been back since. I tried several different dishes (some twice!) and enjoyed them all. The organic roasted chicken is hands down the BEST chicken I’ve ever had. The jambalaya was very good, and a HUGE portion. The chicken pot pie was decent, although not my favorite thing there. Their sides are great too.. roasted brussels sprouts? Who knew! And spicy tomatoes are a must try if you like spicy food. In addition to good food, they price was decent, service was great (I ate at the bar most nights, and quickly became addressed by name), and their beer selection usually has one or two great pics (Mad Elf! My favorite winter brew mmmm). This is definitely one of my favorite places on the Mainline now, and a sure “go to” spot when we want a good meal. And of course, it’s a short walk to Teresa’s Next Door afterwards, for some great beers to wash it all down.

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  5. Jason Kaplan says:

    While we have maintained some preconceived notions about the food at Christopher’s, more recently we have given it another try. Although we have stuck mostly to the salads and appetizers, we have been pleasantly surprised. If you haven’t been in to Christopher’s in a while, give it a chance!

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  6. Karen says:

    I was very surprised to see only one star and the terrible reviews. I’ve been here quite a few times–mostly at lunch–and think it deserves at least 3 stars. The child-friendly scene can make it noisy and hectic, but have never had the food and service problems others complain of. I typically stick with the chicken salad with pine nut dressing or their sandwiches.

    Much better quality than ANYTHING I’ve gotten at the Great American Pub.

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  7. John M says:

    I’m very surprised to read negative reviews about Christopher’s. This is very strange. One spoon out of Five? That’s nuts.

    Christopher’s is a family friendly place. Not so much for main-line snobs or college kids (but certainly are a few of these). Great if your normal and like good people.

    I’ve eaten here many times. It is reasonably priced. I get the muscles with a Stella on tap. Located in the heart of Wayne, makes for a perfect night out. If you would rather have more of a hang-out place go to the pub up the street.

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  8. LT says:

    Has anyone else noticed how the bartenders open beer? Ok… give up? They use their forearms!! That’s gross.

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  9. Jim D says:

    Oh cmon, Christophers is a great place to go for a late night dinner. Ive never had anything close to what the reviewer has experienced. I eat there at least once a month and have never had anything but great food, the menu isn’t extensive. But i was shocked to see the bad review.

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  10. Stu says:

    My wife and I walk to Christopher’s a couple of times each week for dinner and have done so for over 3 years. We go there often for many reasons: the menu provides a wide variety of choices along with interesting daily specials, the food is consistently good, the prices are reasonable (agree that the wine by the glass is over the top) and we can almost always grab a table in the bar area if we don’t want to wait for a table. What separates Christopher’s from the other restaurants along N. Wayne Avenue is that it is a neighborhood place….the servers & bartenders greet you with a smile (they remember your name and if you listen you’ll hear them greet many customers by name), they always accommodate any menu substitution that you’d like to make (zero hassle) and, in the rare occasion, if there is a problem with your food they will immediately & politely take care of it. Christopher’s is what it is…noisy at times, servers hustling through the dining area, a lot of families around the 6pm hour…and everything else I mentioned above.

    I have to disagree with the administrator, this is a wonderful neighborhood place that certainly deserves a much higher rating. Next the administrator feels like reviewing Christopher’s look for us at one of the bar tables in the window, we’d love to have you join us.

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  11. Catman says:

    I have been in Christopher’s quite often over the years…

    And have always found it to be a nice place to meet people and enjoy a nice dinner.

    I guess every restaurant has good and bad days, but in my experience Christopher’s has always given me good service and great food!! Not to mention a nice bar to watch a Phils game and grab a bite on the way home from work.

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  12. Ellen says:

    Christopher’s is a nightmare. I’ve been there for lunch three times and dinner twice. All five times they were “out of” a selection on the menu for myself or one of the people with me. When you do find something that is available, the quality doesn’t match the price. The last time we went, it took us 15 minutes to find our server to get our check. I, nor any of my family, will ever go back. Not that it will make much of a difference to them, Christopher’s will always be packed as long as there are parents who want to take the family to a kid-friendly place that also serves drinks.

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  13. Nick says:

    I go to christophers once a week and i love it, ive been there probably hundreds of times and rarely ahve a bad meal…the service is great and the atmosphere is also great, my family has become a regular and the owner knows and waves to us when we go there overall a great and friendly place for the value

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  14. John S says:

    Had dinner a few weeks ago, prices were good for the area, the food was very very good, but not super exciting. The service was perfect, not formal, but perfect for what it was. We never had to ask for a refill and the server checked back a few times without being annoying. It does get loud as it gets later and the young crowd rolls in, but that might just be the opinion of two old (35-40) married people who can’t stay up that late anyway.

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  15. Ben T says:

    t’was okay. My pulled pork sandwitch was covered in spinach, and, while that was a part of the sandwitch, there was roughly 5 slices of pork, and the rest of the sandwitch made up of spinach. Loud, and we sat right next to the kitchen.

    Had to move tables because the first table we were placed at was wet. The mexican inspired dishes looked okay, but I didn’t think it was very good. Rest of the family did though, so, maybe the luck of the draw hit me.

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  16. David says:

    My wife and I ate here last night and I would certainly give it more than a star. I’d peg it at 3.5 or 4 stars. Her fillet was not up to par, undercooked and stringy, but my blackened butter fish was one of the better entrees I’ve had recently. The service was good and the beer and wine selection was as well. My biggest complaint would be the by-the-glass wine prices — $10 for a glass of Castle Rock Pinot Noir, which sells for about $10 – $13 a bottle is thievery. But I would definitely eat here again. The editor’s trashing of this place undermines her other reviews in my mind, but I still think this site is a valuable resource for those of us who like to eat out frequently.

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  17. Zach says:

    Best late night crowd/late night bar food on the Mainline!

    Anybody here who is complaining obviously has no taste in food..Christopher’s rocks it all… kids, seafood, burgers, steak, etc…

    Bartenders are among the most friendly and intelligent on the mainline, and theres always some bar special going on.

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  18. Audrey says:

    I have visited Christopher’s several times, and have never had a bad experience. It’s a great place for a group to get together, the food is simple and comfort food, which is what is so attractive about it. It’s a great place to grab a sandwich or a good dinner before a movie, and especially attractive to the many high school and college students in the area.

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  19. Dana Marie says:

    I frequented Christopher’s on a regular basis this past year and have found it delightful every time. The manager in particular is always extra helpful, polite, and running around trying to keep everyone happy. :) Christophers is a well-run place with a nice menu and good staff.

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  20. Jack says:

    Just back from a perfectly satisfactory $33 for two dinner with one drink including tax and tip. The Buffalo chicken salad was very good as was the burger and fries. Lots of kids, very noisy. Not a saturday night out kind of place, but fits the spur of the moment destination. And this from someone who has never been a huge fan of the place since it first opened. I came away thinking I will go again when I want a quick night out.

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  21. Hi Folks-

    My name is Dan and I am currently the general manager here at Christopher’s. I was reading this site recently, and I wanted to write a little note to everyone who came away with a bad opinion of our restaurant. First off, I’d like to apologize to those of you who feel you received bad service or food or drink. Obviously your opinions matter to us, and we’d like to do whatever we can to change them, if at all possible. If you’re in Christopher’s again, please feel free to talk to me (I’m the guy walking around with a tie on :) ) or leave a comment on our comment cards, which we include in every check presenter. If you like, you are more than welcome to email your suggestions to me personally at dettorre@yahoo.com. Once again I’m sorry for any bad experience that you may have had, and if there is anything in the future that we can do to make it a better one, we’d love to know. So please, don’t hesitate to make suggestions. We thrive off of our customers, and your opinions really do matter to us. Thank you for reading this note, and I hope that you are willing to come give us a try again. I promise to do anything I can to help please you.

    Best Regards,

    Dan Ettorre

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  22. dag says:

    bad, bad, bad. lousy customers as well

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  23. emma says:

    christopher’s is decent –only b/c i have 2 kids under the age of 3. the reviewer is spot on.

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  24. TR says:

    Though I’d never go to eat here on a Friday or Saturday, Christopher’s on Monday night isn’t half bad. They rock a pretty sweet $20 wine dinner that gets you a salad, entree, dessert, cappuccino, and two glasses of wine.

    Though the cocktails can be pricey, compared to placeslike Nectar, Georges, Flemings, or Foo–you can’t really complain about a $7 or a $6 G&T when you pay like $12 or higher at some other places.

    It isn’t Le Bec Fin, but it isn’t McDonald’s either.

    AND, the calamari is yummy.

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  25. Susan says:

    If you can hear yourself think over the kids crying and screaming, you may think about moving on. Everything is just ok – ok beer, ok food and ok atmosphere. I guess this place got popular where there we a lot less restaurants in the area. I went there again recently, they added games for the kid, give out lollipops at the entrance and you will see ballon decor. If you are into that, it’s your kinda place.

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  26. Katie says:

    My husband and I went out to grab a bite to eat and a drink on a Friday night around 8:30PM. Living in West Chester, we decided to just drive down 30 and see what we discover. We stumbled upon N. Wayne Ave and Christopher’s. I being the foody and my husband being the Beer Guy came away with very different opinions about this joint. We did both agree that is was nice to get a table without a reserveration, the serivce was good and the decor was wonderful! As far as the food, we ordered the chicken quesidilla to start and the chicken was watery and that was about the only ingredient in it. Water was actually pouring out the side when I took a bite. For dinner, I had the steak salad, the steak was a high quality but it lacked seasoning and taste. The salad part tasted like a big bowl of salsa. My husband ordered the “A” burger….we would have to give it more of a “C” ourselves. Once again, the burger was high quality but way over cooked and lack taste.

    On a positive note, my husband thought the beer selection was good but did contain some notable treats such as Anchor Porter, Yards ESA and Anchor Steam. We would go back from drinks at the bar.

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  27. Matt says:

    I honestly wonder if some of the people in love with this restaurant have ever eaten anywhere else. Um, wow. Hey, it’s not terrible, but it isn’t anything to rave about. The food isn’t very good considering the price and the simplicity of some of the dishes. I have seen them mess up some pretty easy stuff. The service tends to be spotty at best. That being said, if I lived in Wayne I am sure I would still spend some time here every once in awhile. Ridiculous comments comparing this to the best eateries around are simply that, ridiculous (or incredibly uninformed)

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  28. Jeff says:

    Christopher’s is one of the best restaurants in delaware/montgo. county area.
    Cheeseburger pizza is awesome…have never seen before.
    BBQ pork sandwhich with cole slaw is amazing.
    Everything I have had here has been wonderful.
    PLUS, they have a nice selection of brewskies!!!!!

    Great food, nice environment and inexpensive.

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  29. KD says:

    The food and mixed drinks at Christopher’s are horrible and not to mention overpriced. The restaurant is a waste of money. My opinion, go to the Great American Pub up the street.

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  30. hc says:

    In the last five years, I’ve probably eaten here nearly a hundred times – most recently last night. Again, wonderful. And no, I don’t work here either! Christopher’s is nothing fancy. It’s simple food that’s simply done well. Enough said.

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  31. administrator says:

    Patrick —

    While you are certainly welcome to your opinion, I must point out that, if you read the “details” section, we visited Christopher’s 3 times before writing the review. It was terrible every time.

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  32. I am not an employee of this place- nor so I know the owner. I am a simple man from Paoli who has lived on the Main Line my whole life, and I am spending these 8 minutes of my life writing this to say the following very clearly:

    THIS IS A GREAT RESTAURANT.

    My Dad has the biggest restaurant in New York City, so I know food even though I am a filmmaker. I have eaten here a half a dozen times- and taken out a half dozen more- and let me say— there is no better place to eat in this price range, period. It is managed well, and the food is solid and very tasty- stable and consistent. I have NO IDEA who this food critic thinks he is panning this wonderful place. HE is just wrong- I will not disparage him any further- he simply must have gone there the night after his girlfriend dumped him. CHRISTOPHER’s is 4 STARS in my book- and I have been to Le Bec Fin, McDonald’s, Flemings, Charlie Burgers and all the other great places to eat on Earth.

    Timothy Patrick Murray
    http://www.TheLastGame.com

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  33. Kris says:

    Sounds like the employees didnt like the critic speaking the truth…We have never gone back either…..

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  34. Cheryl says:

    Christopher’s is a great neighborhood place for casual business, friends or family lunch; as well as for a casual fun dinner. Affordable; friendly and attentive staff who do not rush you! Food is always good; salads are great-fresh. Ample close parking.

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  35. hc says:

    Eh, you gotta look at Christopher’s for what it is: a little neighborhood spot with good food for the value. Yeah, there’s a ton of families with kids in there and it can get loud. But you don’t go to Christopher’s if you want a quiet romantic dinner with an upscale menu. This is comfort food and we’ve never had a bad meal in there ever. The salmon, pizza, veal osso bucco, the meatloaf–it has always been terrific! Go in on a Wednesday eve and sit at the bar to watch the game–half price bottles of wine! It will always be a great weeknight spot for us if someone doesn’t feel like cooking–and we don’t even have kids!

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  36. Jen says:

    Christopher’s is a delightful place for soup and salad, good cocktails and their grilled cheese is outta this world. A nice place meet the ladies or a group of friends, this restaurant is on my list of regulars.

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  37. Poplar says:

    We used to frequent Christopher’s once, and sometimes twice, per week until they changed their menu late this Spring or early this summer. They had a great “whole fish” seabass and a low carb seafood option that was usually very good, among other good food. Their wine and bar drinks were the most reasonable along N. Wayne Avenue….all of that has changed, we hate the food on the new menu (gave it too many tries) and the wine / bar drinks have escalated too high. Too bad. Haven’t gone in there since early summer.

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  38. Nancy says:

    Christophers is a WONDERFUL place. They offer quick, reasonably priced food with a flare for the unusual. How nice to get something different without paying a fortune. Albeit it can get busy at prime time on the weekends, off times makes it the perfect place for eats. The service is exceptional, especially when children are there (they’re used to servicing family needs!).

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