Tavern on the Square Restaurant Opens After $2M Renovation

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – A new chapter in the long and noteworthy history of The Tavern on the Square restaurant has begun.

The landmark restaurant in New Wilmington reopened Wednesday after a $2 million-plus renovation that restored and enlarged the 1849 building.

The Tavern is owned and operated by the husband-wife team of Matt and Maggie Noble, who both have culinary backgrounds. It had been closed since 2020.

Maggie said she was “thrilled” that opening day had finally arrived after many months of planning and construction.

“It has been a long and interesting two years,” she said. “To put our chef hats back on is demanding and also exciting.”

The Nobles wrote the menu and will regularly spend time in the kitchen to develop their offerings with the staff.

Maggie Noble, co-owner of The Tavern on the Square.

“We’ve got an incredible [Amish-style] buttermilk fried chicken that is out of this world,” Maggie said. “And anything that comes from our pizza oven is a must.”

In coming weeks, they will add daily specials that use seasonal ingredients and cater to customer tastes.

Excitement and curiosity from town residents has been intense.

After a soft opening last week, the restaurant opened its doors for tours Tuesday evening and was soon filled. The 100-seat establishment at the intersection of Market Street and Neshannock Avenue (state Route 208) was fully booked with reservations for opening day.

How It Started

The Nobles are graduates of a culinary school in California and have each worked at high-end restaurants and wineries in that state.

They moved to the Pittsburgh area a few years ago, where Matt started a construction company.

While on a Sunday drive about four years ago, the Nobles meandered into New Wilmington. They were impressed by the charming college town in Amish country and decided to move there.

The Tavern on the Square was permanently closed at that time and the building was falling into disrepair, but the Nobles could see its potential. They purchased it in 2021 and began renovating it shortly thereafter.

The Nobles gave the building a complete interior and exterior makeover. Each room was restored, with great attention to detail and to return it to its original appearance. The kitchen was moved and expanded; a second-floor outdoor terrace area was added; and a stairwell and elevator were constructed.

A neighboring building on the property was brought under the same roof as the restaurant and is now being used as a gift shop dubbed The Mercantile.

The restaurant employs 55, Maggie Noble said. The kitchen is under the direction of executive chef Matt Huffman, who most recently held the same position at the Peter Allen Inn in Kinsman, Ohio.

One of several dining rooms in the restaurant.

Lazz Wilson is lead server and trainer.

The kitchen uses a farm-to-table concept based on fresh and locally raised meat and vegetables. While the cuisine is American, that can range from Asian to European specialties, said Matt Noble. The menu will change often but will always include mainstays such as burgers and steak.

“I appreciate a smaller, curated menu with a lot of thought put into each dish,” Matt said in an interview earlier this year.

The Tavern on the Square also bakes its own bread.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday for brunch only.

For reservations, call 724 901 0013.


The building was originally a doctor’s office, with a separate living quarters. It was converted into a restaurant in 1931.

Many additions and updates were incorporated over its 175 years, but the Nobles took great pains to restore the interior to its original detail.

They see it as a destination that will attract diners from beyond the area. But it also has a casual vibe that is welcoming to locals and Westminster College students and their parents.

A large part of the restaurant’s allure is its historical nature, and the Nobles keep that aspect foremost in mind.

They have even hired Stephanie Nau of New Wilmington as a full-time server and “in-house historian” to gather information about the building’s past.

Nau is an antiques dealer with a great appreciation for local history. She has been researching the building and intends to gather oral histories later this year that will be compiled into a book.

Stephanie Nau, a waitress and the restaurant’s historian.

Nau has already created “talking points” about each room of the restaurant for the wait staff to share with customers.

Here are a few:

  • The main house was built by a family of abolitionists. The family lived in the back part of the house, while the front part was the family practice of Dr. Seth Poppino, who was also a teacher and founder of the town’s Methodist Church.
  • Cora Durrast, a Westminster College graduate, opened the Tavern to provide a place for parents visiting their children at the college to dine.
  • The wooden beams in the barroom are not original to the structure but predate it. They are 200 years old and were salvaged from a local barn.
  • The kitchen is now located in the same spot as it was when the restaurant opened in 1931.

Pictured at top: The Tavern on the Square restaurant in New Wilmington, Pa., has reopened after being restored to its original appearance. The neighboring outbuilding at right, which houses the gift shop, has been absorbed into the main building.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.