*But not brunch. Because “real men” don’t brunch. (Everybody brunches, of course. But since your old-school dad refuses to recognize anything but three square meals a day, we’ll continue to placate him for the sake of Father’s Day.)
Father’s Day is a tricky one, and not just because of dear-ol’-dad’s immovable stances. It’s hard to imagine Mother’s Day without brunch. But Father’s Day, for most of us, feels like it belongs around the grill at home because, well, that’s Dad’s natural habitat.
Gradually, that’s changing. Though, thankfully, not so quickly that you need to make reservations a month in advance like you do for Mother’s Day. Here are a few restaurants that made the short list of contenders for our own overly-discerning dads. Feel free to poach them and claim all the credit. Your father would do the same.
Hamilton’s Grill Room | Lambertville
Those long walks your mom and dad take on the towpath? Your dad only goes along with them because he can suck in the scent wafting from the massive grill at Hamilton’s. At the risk of sparking another conversation, Hamilton’s serves what may be the best steak in the Delaware River Towns. And that’s all that will matter to your dad. As for the rest of your party, it’s hard to go wrong anywhere on the menu.
Bowman’s Tavern | New Hope
At the foot of Bowman’s Hill Tower, the tavern’s quietly churning out some inspired, locally-sourced dishes, like the whipped Fulper Farms ricotta and pickled veggies. But the menu isn’t so experimental that it’ll make dad cower. In fact, it’s loaded with better versions of all the sorts of comfort food he swears by (and his cardiologist pleads with him to cut back on), like a hot roast beef sandwich and a dry-aged beef and Berkshire pork meatloaf.
The Milford House | Milford
If Dad’s willing to dip a toe just beyond his comfort zone, The Milford House will not disappoint. The Korean Fireburger is an eight-ounce Gochujang-marinated Angus beef patty slathered in ponzu mayo. The bratwurst sliders warrant attention, too. As does the chicken pizza. Don’t let its innocuous name fool you. The herb buttermilk dressing is loaded with flavor. Then you can reward Dad with something more familiar; the remainder of the menu is chockfull of traditional favorites: shrimp and pasta, pan-roasted duck breast, seared scallops.
Dilly’s | Centre Bridge
If all your dad is longing for come Father’s Day is a little quality time with his family and a burger that needs to be eaten with two hands while standing in a hunched-over position, take him to Dilly’s. Father’s Day should not be an occasion to try to upgrade your dad. The rest of the year, sure, you can scold him for wearing shorts to dinner. But on this one day, lean into the poor guy’s inclinations. And get him another soft-serve cone.