When I open my email and see that someone has contacted me via the People Of Lancaster “Contact Us” webform I get a little queasy. My typical reaction is to immediately close the laptop and head to the kitchen to mix myself a cocktail so I can be prepared for whatever is lurking in that message. Your mind starts to wander, who did we piss off today? What recycled piece of internet humor from 2005 is someone submitting to us as original? Or best case scenario its an advert for some Mexican Viagara via a Canadian Pharmacy (GO NAFTA!).
After sufficiently self-medicating with a mixture of vodka and Ativan, I open the email cautiously. What is this nonsense? I see that People of Lancaster has received an invite to a Hospitality/Media Night at Gibraltar Restaurant on Oregon Pike. Obviously this is some sort of joke. A, we are not hospitable. B……….. someone considers us legit? I’m still not sure how we got onto their email list but I’m not one to turn down free eats, booze, and a good night of people watching so I RSVPeed for myself, Mrs. The Lighthouse Keeper and Henry the Intern to make an appearance.
The day of the media/hospitality open house thingamajig I started to rethink the whole thing. Have we ever given a normal restaurant review? I mean on our Podcast (RIP) we used to do Restaurant Redemption where we’d see which restaurant got hammered in the restaurant inspection reports, then visit to see if they got their shit together. So I’m still thinking this is a trap, but for the sake of fuck, we still went.
Gibraltar is no longer located near F&M on Harrisburg Pike, they are now located at 488 Royer Dr #101. Yeah, don’t worry, nobody recognized that address either. It’s on Oregon Pike kinda-sorta-opposite of Old Hickory. The event was last night beginning at 8pm, but I was there for the people watching mainly so Mrs. The Lighthouse Keeper and myself got there at 7:45 and sat at the bar. The game plan was to have a few cocktails and watch the Lancaster hospitality and media folks attack free wine and appetizers like a horde of the walking dead gorging on an unfortunate ginger. And, they did not disappoint.
But before we get to that, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Henry the Intern came strolling in at 8pm in his finest polo shirt and cargo shorts. His red carpet attire by Old Navy was complimented by his Martin Van Buren mutton-chops – always a show stopper. “I think I’m underdressed… and I don’t own a BMW” said Henry.
I consoled young Henry as he was ordering a white Russian, “Don’t worry Henry, this is Lancaster County, someone will come in soon and make you look like you are wearing Armani”. Less than five minutes later someone came in with straight up flannel and suspenders, putting Henry at ease.
A professional reporter probably would have gotten a bunch of photos, maybe interviewed a manager or chef but instead we drank and marveled at the Lancastrians gobbling up free hors d’oeuvres and nodding approvingly as they efficiently dispatched goat cheese, bruschetta, chorizo, puff pastry and anything else that passed within arms length. Don’t get me wrong, we ate everything too, just in a more calm, relaxed, pinky extended format.
As far as our review goes, we’d all give the new Gibraltar a big thumbs up and 5 out of 5 lighthouse recommendation. Gibraltar was always one of my favorite high-end restaurants in the County and they still are. The new location has plenty of parking and you don’t have to deal with any F&M kids in the parking lot. The inside is surprisingly spacious with lots of seating, and they have private rooms that can accommodate up to 40 guests. The cocktail menu has some cool takes on old standards. One of the managers, Stephen, made me a New Fashioned cocktail that he created and it’s definitely something to order if you are a whiskey fan.
Mrs. The Lighthouse Keeper and myself enjoyed the evening so much that we made reservations for a real dinner next week, and I plan on bringing a Lighthouse Keepers Assn. meeting here in the future.
Special note to any other Central PA Restaurants or businesses. Consider POL the Clinton Foundation of Social Media. If you donate us Manhattans, meals, and lots of attention we’ll gladly give you a great review and quite possibly an Ambassadorship.