by Dave Williams
TE, The Inn at Leola Village 38 Deborah Drive, Route 23, Leola, PA 17540 (717)656-7002 www.theinnatleolavillage.com
Originally an Amish tobacco farm slated for demolition in 1999 to make way for a convenience store and automotive service center, it was—thankfully—magnificently renovated in rustic character with a mission to create a five-star resort. The locals thought it was a foolish endeavor and claimed it would happen only when pigs flew, which explains the many images, statues and figurines of winged or flying pigs adorning the property.
Today it has two restaurants, three acres of gardens, unique accommodations, event hospitality facilities and a spa. Osteria Avanti is a noteworthy, yet more conventional Italian restaurant, servicing the property with breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. However, it is TE that makes dining a truly grand celebration. Chef Calabrese wanted to create the ultimate expression of a formal Italian restaurant. Ultimate is no exaggeration! Your experience will be a journey of refined Italian cuisine worthy of the Forbes 5-Star and AAA 5 Diamonds rating. Dining is offered Friday and Saturday only and reservations are required, as is a jacket for the gentlemen. The menu consists of two basic offerings: a five-course prix-fixe or a nine-course degustation menu. Multiple choices for each course are standard, as are the chef’s amazing intermezzos between most courses. Wine can be purchased from the list of 450+ wines or you can select the sommelier’s pick of wine for each course. TE is luxurious entertainment with impeccable service for you and your mouth and soul that takes an evening (2.5-3.5 hours). In fact, the exchanges with the engaging staff enhanced the entire evening. It comes at a price, but worth every penny. The five-course menu is $129/person and $199 with wine paring. Degustation menu is $199 and $299 with wine paring. It is a dining experience to rival the finest in the world regardless of location. Be prepared to be impressed, I most certainly was and anticipate returning.