The building has been there for 50 years. It’s been a restaurant across from the hospital for decades—first a steakhouse and then the Inn Flight for the last 40 years. But the little building that makes a perfect restaurant location has changed owners, philosophies, and of course, cuisine.
Timber Wood Fired Grill opened in July, featuring wood-cooked food and fresh, made-from-scratch cooking.
Michael Dombkoski said when he and his business partners bought the building and started renovations, they found something they loved.
“The theme evolved from the architecture,” Dombkoski said. “It’s a stone building, and when we uncovered the stone, we found the building had a lot of character, and we went (with) that.”
The owners added beams in the ceiling to make the restaurant look like a mountain lodge, which it already resembled—the natural accompaniment to a warm environment is a fire and comfort food.
Executive chef Erick Jones, who worked at Philadelphia-based White Dog most recently, accepted the challenge of cooking up the freshest food possible while imparting food with wood-fired flavor.
Dombkoski said cooks use a combination of hickory, cherry and ash woods for the ideal smoky flavor. He researched the best woods to use for the best flavor because each one has a distinct flavor profile; he said diners can tell the difference.
“Hard woods are much, much better for flavor and the length of burning,” he said.
The choice of woods is important, Dombkoski said. If he wanted to save money, he could buy cheaper or less consistent varieties, but he said that’s not how he wants to operate Timber Wood because quality is at the utmost importance.
“People even say they can smell it from outside. Students at Penn State Abington say you can smell it all the way down Old York Road,” he said.
Jones and his team of cooks grill everything from flatbreads to pork chops, and they serve up meals with many side dishes, including macaroni and cheese, couscous, coleslaw and baked potatoes.
Dombkoski’s favorite dish on the menu is baby back ribs because they are so tender that you don’t need a knife to cut them. Ribs and burgers are classic dishes to smoke and grill, but the cooks don’t stop there. They make calamari and fish fillets, which are healthier options.
Delivering a full, diverse menu with consistent quality hasn’t been a challenge at all for Timber Wood, Dombkoski said. Instead, it’s been letting Abington residents and visitors know that the new restaurant has opened and is completely different from its old digs.
“People have been aware of (the) location for so long; there’s a lot of people who don’t know we’ve renovated it, and they haven’t been here yet,” Dombkoski said.
So many people drive by Timber Wood on Old York Road and don’t slow down enough to notice the changes, or perhaps they think it’s more of the same.
In fact, some residents overlook Timber Wood, thinking it’s still the older incarnation of the restaurant, Inn Flight. But it couldn’t be more different.
Front of the house manager Eric McLaughlin said, “The old owners come in, and they love it. Inn Flight was great because it was there for 40 years, and that’s like a person living to be 300 in restaurant years, but we’re so much different from them,” he said with a laugh.
The major difference is the focus on fresh ingredients shipped in daily, rather than frozen foods, and the grilling techniques.
For more information, stop by the restaurant at 1301 Old York Road, or call 215-884-7932.