Monday – Thursday: 11:30am – 8:00pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:30am – 9:00pm
Sunday: 11:00 am – 8:00pm
The year was 1832. America was still a young country, but it was already growing, with 24 states in the Union, and lots more to come. In the meantime, the nation’s commerce was in full swing, and the old town of Yardley was a stopping point for the farmers carrying their rich bounty down the Delaware River to Philadelphia’s Front Street Market. It was here, a stone’s throw from a covered bridge on Afton Avenue, that The White Swan Inn was built to accommodate overnight travelers. You didn’t have to disembark to enjoy what the inn had to offer; some of the boaters would simply sound a whistle, prompting the innkeeper to lower baskets of rum onto their barges!
Recently recognized as the “Best Restaurant in Bucks County”The White Swan was a popular spot for eating, drinking, and lodging until 1882, when Temperance reformers rescinded the tavern’s license. It survived as a cycler’s road house until a man named John J. Fitzgerald revitalized the inn, which remained successful through the first half of the twentieth century. Then, disaster struck with the flood of 1955, which killed 99 people in Bucks County, destroyed the covered bridge, and left nearly $1 billion (in today’s money) worth of damage in its wake. The White Swan never fully recovered, and finally closed in 1958. The dying swan came back to life as the Yardley Inn in 1979 and it is still going strong.
Alex Van Dyke has been cooking professionally since the age of 15. Born and raised in Bucks County, he later attended Johnson & Wales University and earned his bachelor’s degree in restaurant management and food service entrepreneurship. While attending culinary school, Alex completed his internship at Daniel Boulud’s flagship michelin star “Restaurant Daniel” located in the upper east side of Manhattan. During summer months Alex cooked on Martha’s Vineyard where his guests included many celebrities, public figures and even two United States Presidents. Though his interest and flavors are consistently evolving, he credits the basics of French techniques as the backbone to his cooking style. “Flavors and components are often changed and vary between culture and region, but the techniques developed and carried on in the French tradition have shaped and molded how chefs cook around the globe.”
Upon graduating Alex moved home to the role as sous chef at the Black Bass Hotel in Lumberville, PA. After a two year stint, his desire to continue learning under the best chefs took him to Nashville, TN where he cooked with celebrity chef, Sean Brock at Husk Nashville. His two years there left imprints of southern influence that is found within his dishes and continue to be a bridge between historical American dishes and modern approaches. He adapted Sean Brock’s mentality of holding local farms and vegetables in high regards and a starting point of his creative approach. “I particularly enjoy whole utilization of animals, but it is the humble vegetable that dictates seasonal cooking and regional dishes” he adds. “When creating menus, I first look at what is in season that farmers are growing in abundance at the particular time of month. I think that too many chefs look at proteins first and add vegetables as an afterthought, when in fact, they should approach cooking to let vegetables shine as the main attraction dictating the protein, if in fact any, could complement the meal to provide complete nourishment and flavor.”
After two years living in Nashville, Alex set his sights on returning home to his family and community to bring his knowledge and experience to the people of Yardley. “My grandparents have lived in Yardley for over 50 years and have been staples in helping our community. It is the example they have set for me that gives me great pride in returning home and a feeling of connection to our guests. I have so much family history here and I am happy to continue that legacy and add to it in any way that I can.” Alex has been working as the executive chef since mid-December and is excited in keeping the traditions that have been built between The Yardley in and it’s guests while evoking both the historical and modern ways of cooking that he has learned along his young career.