The Lancaster Marriott’s two new additions to the downtown restaurant scene – one on ground level and the other 12 stories above – pay homage to Lancaster city and county in their own unique ways.
“We wanted to create inventive food venues that would incorporate lots of locally sourced food,” says Josh Nowak, the Marriott’s director of sales and marketing.
Although Nowak says the term “farm to table” sometimes gets overused, local ingredients are truly the driving force behind the menu at both The Plough, which serves modern American fare with a French-style technique, and The Exchange, a stylish venue designed for socializing, with cocktails and shareable small bites.
True to its name, The Plough serves what Chef Ryan McQuillan refers to as “finer farmers’ food” - upscale versions of food that is homey and that people can relate to, like a playful take on rice pudding featuring local paw-paws or a beet salad featuring beets from Fifth Month Farm in Mount Joy and rosemary yogurt made with milk from Linden Dale Farm in Ronks.
Eggs and chicken from Horse Shoe Ranch, produce from Brogue Hydroponics and mushrooms from Primordia Farm all find their way onto the menu at The Plough.
Sourcing local means the menu at The Plough is also seasonal, and ever-changing. For McQuillan, it’s a welcome challenge. “It’s kind of fun,” he says. “It keeps us creative. It keeps us honest with the food.”
Bar manager Brenton Sollenberger puts a local and seasonal twist on cocktails, too. The Plough will be rolling out some new ones in early October, like the Harvest Sour, a brandy-based drink with cinnamon-demerara syrup, fresh-pressed lemon juice and a spoonful of locally made apple butter.
Like its food and its flavor, The Plough is warm and inviting with a modern touch, featuring soft lighting, hardwood floors, a horseshoe bar, a mix of booths and tables, relaxed lounging areas and a contemporary glass-enclosed kitchen.
Twelve floors up, The Exchange offers a different vibe. “The intent is to be a bar first,” Nowak says of the 21-and-over venue. “But the feedback about the food has been extraordinary.”
McQuillan oversees the menu at The Exchange, too, where the open kitchen serves up wood-oven pizzas made from local ingredients and other small-plate items like hand-pulled mozzarella from Caputo Brothers.
Accessed by elevator, The Exchange offers a variety of casual seating options inside and out, where fire pits and large heat lamps hold the promise of cozy evenings on the rooftop bar well into the fall.
Perhaps the biggest star of The Exchange, however, is Lancaster city itself, as viewed from the rooftop bar or the floor-to-ceiling wall of windows inside. From this newest perch in the city, visitors get a bird’s eye view of both Trinity Lutheran Church, once the second tallest building in America when it was built in 1794, and The Griest Building, currently the city’s second tallest building – behind the Lancaster Marriott.
In more ways than one, a visit to The Plough and The Exchange at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square is a great way to celebrate local flavor.
The Plough is open for lunch and dinner through the week, with brunch served on Saturdays and Sundays. The Exchange opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and at noon Saturday and Sunday.
For more information about Plough, visit their website at https://www.ploughrestaurant.com/.
For more information about The Exchange, visit their website at https://www.exchangeroof.com/.