The traditional Victorian architecture and atmosphere of formality at the Mansion Inn in New Hope are about to get a breath of fresh air, as a new owner takes over and makes sangria — yes, sangria — the centerpiece of a new take on the bar/restaurant/inn theme.
Sangria, Spanish/Mediterranean cuisine and the restaurant business are nothing new to owner Zoe Vassiliou and chef Sammy Demiri. They’ve been in the business around New York City for nearly three decades. And sangria has remained trendy, with the really good stuff a rare find.
Originally from Spain, the party punch can often be downright nasty, especially when made with cheap red wine and served with chunks of citrus tossed randomly about a giant bowl. But in the hands of a master, sangria becomes a near art form, with recipes closely-guarded by mixologists. These days, sangria arrives in every variety imaginable, using first-rate red, white and rose wine, and using newer ingredients like peach, strawberry and passion fruit.
With seating in excess of 115, including a spectacular rear garden, the new Mansion will make an interesting night spot, with ten varieties of sangria, and tapas, small plates and full entrees to accompany the beverage.
“We bottle our own sangria fresh every morning,” explained Demiri, 43, who won’t reveal much of his formula beside the fact that its sweetness derives not from added sugar, but by fruit that’s been soaked overnight.
Of course, the Mansion Inn has traditionally been a full-service bed and breakfast, and that won’t change, with its five rooms freshly decorated. Management says the place is ready to go, and just moving through the approval process at this point. Demiri said they’re planning special evenings as well, with a “pasta night,” “paella night,” and “date night” on the menu.
Informal reaction around town to the wine/tapas theme seems generally positive, with more sangria fans out there than one might imagine.
Going to be an interesting summer on the food scene. The Mansion Inn is located at 9 S. Main St.