Opening its doors on September 10th 2012, 551 West has quickly became a local favorite when it comes to exquisite entrees and a wide variety of local entertainment. 551 West took over the longtime home of Kegel’s Seafood Restaurant at 551 West King Street in downtown Lancaster, PA.
Many specialty entrees are found here, including the very popular Ahi Tuna and the 551 West Burger, which is topped with peanut butter and jalapeño peppers. But don’t worry, if that’s not your flavor, stick with the mouth-watering BBQ Bacon Burger or the delicious Fish Tacos.
The restaurant has seating for about 175 people, and space for about 30 in the bar area. A back dining room has seating for 50 people and is set up for hosting business meetings and presentations. The restaurant currently employees around 40 workers including cooks, bartenders, hostesses and servers.
Kegel’s Seafood restaurant, located along the 500 block of West King Street, served the freshest seafood to the Lancaster area for 70 years. Opening in 1941, this landmark restaurant served generations of Lancaster residents.
After a fire broke out in September of 2010, the building sustained internal damage, mostly smoke and water. There were plans to reopen, but the owners were unable to repair the damages at the time, and were forced to close.
Current owners, Chuck and Craig Trissler, bought Kegel’s in early 2012. Most of the year was spent repairing the damages of the fire and remodeling.
MEET THE CHEF
Drew James originally wanted to share a chili recipe for this feature.
But one doesn’t come between a man and his chili secrets, so he changed his mind and submitted this equally hearty dish, Red Wine Beef Stew.
It’s a more-than-satisfying substitute, rich with the flavors of beef, carrots, celery and onion.
James, 36, of Lancaster, should know what makes a dish good. He’s the chef at 551 West, a new restaurant that opened last month at the site of a former Lancaster institution, Kegel’s Seafood, which was damaged by fire a little more than two years ago.
Now restored, the place retains its homey feel, with several themed dining rooms and a bar that’s generous with its beer selections. “Comforting” is a word that could very well describe 551 West, as well as this recipe.
“I’ve (been making) this for four or five years,” James said. “It’s reasonably easy to prepare.”
A Pittsburgh-area native, James forged his local connections when his parents, Joe and Christine, moved to the Garden Spot when he was 12. James credits family and friends for what he has learned in the kitchen.
“My aunt (Jackie, who lives in Pittsburgh) is a chef. My mother is probably the most amazing cook on earth,” James said. “A lot of my influence is from her.”
James also praises his longtime friend, Craig Trissler, who co-owns 551 West with his father, Chuck Trissler, for allowing him to hone his culinary skills on the job. And there’s one more influence: James spent several years cooking in South Florida.
As exotic as that sounds, James maintains a simple approach to making a good recipe.
“Try new things. If it doesn’t work, throw it out!” he said, laughing.
Here’s a sample to give you a sneak peek taste of what’s good by Drew James at 551 West
RED WINE BEEF STEW
1 1/2 pounds of stew beef
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 to 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 to 2 medium carrots, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth
1 cup dry red wine, such as pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped, or dash of crumbled dried rosemary
Trim stew beef and cut into small, bite-size pieces. Put into a food storage bag with flour, onion powder and seasoned salt. Toss to coat well.
Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, add beef to hot oil and cook, stirring until meat is lightly browned.
Add onion and celery. Continue cooking, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
Add carrots, garlic, broth, wine and rosemary; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Continue cooking for about 20 to 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Makes about six servings.