Gracious Hospitality is the Main Ingredient for Fine Dining at Clifford's Restaurant

By Sharon Russell

What could be more enjoyable than delicious food in a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere? Add to that combination, being served by hosts who truly love what they do and you have the dining experience that is Clifford's Restaurant.

Nestled in the farmland of Evans City, you are not likely to drive by Clifford's Restaurant during your daily commute. However, a short (approximately 20 minutes from Interstate 79) more leisurely drive through the countryside will bring you to a restaurant where the only advertising is word of mouth and the words most often used are: relaxing, delicious, friendly and special.

The Enslen family has owned and operated Clifford's Restaurant for 10 years. Clifford Enslen and wife Valerie began a catering business more than 20 years ago. It was Clifford's idea to open a restaurant, which he eventually built on what was the family farm. Sadly, Clifford passed away four years ago, but his family continues the work that his wife describes as "his dream."

Twin sons John and Jesse Enslen are part of the family business. Jesse is the chef and John, who also does some work in the kitchen, attends solicitously to the guests in the dining room with the help of his sister-in-law, Nicole. Everyone is treated as a family friend when they dine in the intimate and elegant French country dining room appointed with a stone fireplace and 10 tables.

The menu is New American with a hint of European influence. All dishes are prepared from scratch, daily. The attention to fresh ingredients is apparent in all the offerings, from the light-as-air rolls that began our feast to the homemade desserts at the finish. Every dish was worthy of note but some highlights were crab cake appetizers that were deliciously heavy on the crab and light on the breading, and fresh salads complimented by homemade salad dressings such as red beet vinaigrette and cucumber. Veal osso bucco is a popular entrée that truly melts in your mouth and a rack of lamb was prepared to perfection. Prices range from $7.95-$12.95 for appetizers and from $20.00-$45.00 for entrees.

Clifford's Restaurant is located at 514 Upper Harmony Road, in Evans City. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 724-789-9115. Alcohol is not served but you are encouraged to bring your own and there is no corking fee. Directions and other information may be found at their website, http://cliffordsrestaurant.htm/.