by Victoria Zebro, Photography by Michael Becker
In operation for over 33 years, Lambertville Station restaurant, hotel and banquet hall is a bustling business on the banks of the Delaware. Perfect for everything from a cozy brunch on a cold winter’s day to a full service wedding with the spectacular back drop of the beautiful Delaware River.
Dan Whitaker, one of the owners of the Station, was an integral part of transforming the building from an abandoned station into the thriving business of today.
The 5 acre site of the station property had stood empty and abandoned for years in the heart of Lambertville. Whitaker had noticed the boarded up building in the 1970s when he saw it on a a day trip to the famous Golden Nugget Flea Market in Lambertville. Five years later he was scouting for a potential restaurant site when the abandoned station came to mind as he was on a date in New Hope. He suggested a stroll across the bridge to take a look at the property and saw a For Sale sign. Whitaker and a group of young friends with a vision decided to transform the property.
“It wasn’t an easy start,” Whitaker said, “everyone thought we were crazy”. One partner provide some start-up capital on the understanding that bank financing would be secured within 9 months. He said the partners started investing sweat equity in the property, working all day every day on the abandoned building. Having been turned down by every bank they could think of they were losing hope as the 90 day deadline approached. Their hard work and dedication saved them when a local bank manager saw how hard they were working on the property. He lived nearby and would watch their progress every day. He told them he believed in their vision and would finance whatever they needed.
Whitiker said that vote of confidence quickly translated into general acceptance by theLambertville community who embraced the restaurant and Lambertville Station‘s endeavors ever since.
The venture started with the now lauded Lambertville Station restaurant and grew 3 years later with a 46 room hotel with sweeping views of the Delaware river. Within the past few years the partners have expanded further, enlarging a popular banquet facility aimed at providing a desirable venue for special events. The banquet facility has taken off as a desirable wedding venue often hosting several weddings per week. A 200 person capacity banquet hall with stunning views over the Delaware river and charming town of New Hope are a big attraction to couples and guests alike, while a huge bridal suite also boasting amazing river views, Whitaker said, adds to the appeal. Event planners and a wedding concierge ensure the day goes off without a hitch, leaving couples to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
“The dining experience has been fine tuned over the years” Whitaker said. He recommends the a la carte menu at the restaurant which changes seasonally – being careful to take the locals favorite menu choices like the Chesapeake lump crab cakes into account. Whitaker also recommends the buffet style Sunday brunch in the banquet hall which boasts his favorite Eggs Benedict station with different toppings, all cooked fresh as you wait.
Cozy inside during the winter and with a large outside seating area along the canal in the summer, Lambertville Station occupies a wonderfully scenic area along the Main Street of the bustling historic town, a short stroll from the shops and restaurants of Lambertville as well as the bridge to New Hope for all that the beautiful Bucks County town has to offer.
Whitaker is proud of Lambertville Station’s place as a key part of the Lambertville community. Whitaker praised the work of the Lambertville – New Hope Chamber of Commerce with which he has been very involved over the years. Donating space for the various town meetings and initiatives such as the school board and film festival, the Station owners are an integral part of the community. Lambertville Station takes a large roll in the various festivals held in the historic town. Whitaker mentioned the Shad fest in particular where the Station hosts a food stand with blackened Shad and a beer garden on site.
Visit Lambertville Station at 11 Bridge St, Lambertville, NJ 08530 and by phone at 609-397-8300.