The Magnet Called Linda Jean's
It's the Wyncote B.Y.O.B. 'with a vibe.'
“Everybody’s running 100 miles per hour. People don’t have time to shop and cook,” said Nick Fischer, co-owner of Linda Jean’s Grille in Wyncote. “The area’s in dire need of reasonably-priced dining.”
He’s right about that.
According to Bruce Shaw, an attorney in Dresher who owns the building at 109 Greenwood Ave., seven different food establishments have previously attempted to operate at that site in the past 15 years. Shaw knew of Nicky and Linda Fischer’s prior successes in the food industry and decided to give it one more try before turning the property into offices.
Since Linda Jean’s opened in March 2010, the dine-in café, catering, delivery and carry-out establishment has surpassed their expectations.
“We make everything from scratch here; we don’t open cans,” Nicky Fischer said. “We don’t thaw it from the freezer. People can taste the difference.”
Chef Charlton Rudolph said, “We roast 30 turkeys a week. Our meat is a side of Black Angus beef. We go through 10 to 15 pounds of crab each day. We avoid filler.”
The restaurant also serves gluten-free dishes.
Partner Chef “C” has been with Fischer since the days of Nicky Fischer’s in Glenside. Cooking since he was 14, “C” found that working in places like Le Bec Fin, and with people like Betty the Caterer and Derek Davis of Manayunk, taught him more than he learned at the Cordon Bleu culinary school in Pittsburgh and London.
“C” says it’s all about convenience, creativity and quality.
Linda Jean’s gets it.
Neighbors have embraced the weekend brunch. What’s not to like about its incredible pancakes or challah French toast generously dressed with warm pecan praline topping? And even if you know not from corned beef hash, “C” does. His is light, not salty, and scrumptious.
Here’s a reliable, delicious kitchen that’s serving seven days a week until 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends—which is nice for those leaving a movie at the Hiway or a concert at the Keswick. With 177 items on the menu—and extra specials that aren’t even included—you won’t get bored. There’s free WiFi and, according to “C,” even the UPS guy knows to come to Linda Jean’s to find the business owners from nearby offices to whom he’s delivering.
“There’s a vibe here,” said “C.”
With about 36 seats indoors and another 24 outside, diners can have privacy, but they also occasionally volley friendly chats across tables. When a shrimp scampi pizza walks by, everybody turns heads and comments. Regulars are happy to share their recommendations with newcomers. Neighbors extend greetings.
The warm atmosphere goes beyond the front window, which is dedicated to Linda’s mother, Jean, who died just before the establishment opened its doors.
The lunch trade is booming, both in and out. Linda Jean’s has two full-time drivers and also caters fancy parties and major entertainment venues in the region. With its tasty pizzas, Linda Jean’s also supports and serves school and civic groups.
Signature dishes are too many to name. “C” is proud of his “Filet Rolls,” stuffed with a tangy cheese mixture, wrapped in bacon and topped with a balsamic port wine reduction, and his Sriracha lime honey wings (a dozen for $9). The pot roast is probably better than your mom’s; ditto the meatloaf ($10). Most salads, wraps and specialty sandwiches are $7. Don’t underestimate his home-fried calamari ($6).
Linda Jean herself favors the mac ‘n’ cheese and pasta dishes, like the asparagus lasagna with goat cheese and white sauce. She teases you with occasional appearances of hot white chocolate bread pudding, dripping with caramel sauce and topped with ice cream.
Bruce Shaw said that his family eats there all the time. His favorite is the turkey pot pie ($9). He also really likes the Steak Pizzaiola ($11).
Nick said that he frequently shops “off the menu” and occasionally surprises “C” with an unusually juicy bag of fresh plums or peaches, or something irresistible.
“What can you do with this?” he’ll ask. And “C” typically responds, “Watch.” Recent outcomes have included plum compote and peach-mango salsa for tilapia and fish tacos.
There are regulars coming in who make it their goal to eventually order everything on the menu. Nick Fischer said he and “C” have fantasized about having locals visit or order from the restaurant three times a week.
According to Nicky Fischer, food service gets into your blood.
“Every morning, you’re ready to do it again,” he said. “When a guest is satisfied with a meal, it’s the greatest feeling.”
Linda Jean's Grille
109 Greenwood Ave, Wyncote (Cheltenham side near the Jenkintown train station)