BY BRENDA HILLEGAS 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAUL BOGER

It was 1990 when Karen Slattery and Raouf Grissa first opened the doors of Paganini Ristorante in Doylestown. After meeting years before in Paris at an Italian restaurant Grissa was running at the time, the duo eventually decided that the small town charm of Doylestown was the perfect place to run a business and raise their family. This year, they will have three reasons to celebrate their 25th year in the heart of downtown – the family of restaurants, all on West State Street, include Paganini Ristorante, Pag’s Wine Bar and Pag’s Pub. This trio of businesses are a go-to spot for romantic dinners, conversations over a glass (or bottle) of wine, and delicious pub fare paired with a wide selection of beers.

Though located in the heart of Doylestown’s spirited restaurant district, these three eateries stand out with a unique and authentic European atmosphere. Pag’s Pub is inspired by the theme of Paganini Ristorante by providing meals with a constantly evolving menu of Italian and Mediterranean dishes, oven baked thin-crust pizzas, salads and sandwiches. The Ristorante stresses the importance of fresh, locally sourced ingredients that are prepared daily. The food at Pag’s Pub is no different. Take a bite of the popular Pag’s Burger and you’ll taste locally sourced, grass-fed, non-GMO beef. Also handled with extreme care is the pub’s collection of rare whiskeys and extensive 24 draft beer list.

“We offer a wide range of high quality choices,” says Slattery. “Whether you’re neat, on the rocks or just want to try a selection of beers with one of our flights, we’ve got you covered.”

Pag’s Pub is the only self-proclaimed “whiskey bar” in Doylestown and offers a large variety of bourbons, scotches and whiskeys for the connoisseur. “With over 50 [hand picked] whiskeys on our menu, we have a selection for every style and taste. Our web site has a full list of our specialty options,” says Slattery.

While the Paganini brand also tries to support as many local breweries as possible, Slattery says they definitely reach outside the limits of the norm and try to be as diverse as possible in their beer selection. “We’ll have some great spring beers on draft [in 2015], as we will all be ready for the return of warm weather and the beers that come with the season!”

Don’t worry if whiskey and beer aren’t your drinks of choice because you can choose from the Pub’s selection of spirits and cleverly named cocktails. “The bartenders’ favorite cocktails are made fresh upon ordering. We try to find a balance between classic cocktails, some dating back to the 1800s, and modern mixes,” says Grissa.

Their ‘Don Series’ features some of the Pub’s most unique cocktails.  If your Valentine’s Day plans this year include a romantic dinner at Paganini Ristorante, stop by Pag’s Pub after for their ‘Don Valentino’ speciality. “We’ve concocted the ‘Don Valentino’- a double espresso, Four Roses bourbon, Kahlua and Baileys,” Slattery describes. “It’s a cocktail that is guaranteed to warm your heart.”

Romantic dinners aside, Paganini Ristorante is also a great spot for any lunch, dinner or weekend brunch with meals that are affordable and leave you satisfied, not stuffed. “Our fresh pasta dishes, thin crust pizzas and carpaccio are some of our most popular dishes,” Grissa suggests, “as well as our gluten free eggplant parmigiana. Our long standing relationship with local farmers, dating to the year we opened in 1990 to now, is evident in our finished dishes – wholesome, fresh and tasty.”

Stop by Pag’s Wine Bar after dinner and explore the menu of over 40 wines available by the glass from all around the world, as well as an extensive bottle list. The ambiance reflects a romantic European style bar complete with custom brick and wood work. There’s also a climate controlled wine cellar to bring you freshness and aging as intended by the wine producers.

Pag’s Wine Bar offers its own food menu with a selection of cheese plates, prosciutto and smoked salmon to compliment your wine experience. But Grissa says you are also welcome to order from the Pag’s Pub menu. A helpful server can certainly suggest the best tasting wine to go along with that famous Pag’s Burger.

Pag’s Pub and Pag’s Wine Bar next door set the scene for the perfect location to get together with friends. There truly is something for everyone at this family of restaurants. The Pub and the Wine Bar share a connection inside making it easy to enjoy both locations together.

“We are very thankful for the support and loyalty we have had from the Bucks County community,” says Slattery.

Celebrate the establishment’s 25th year in Doylestown by stopping in this winter for some food or drinks. Private events and parties can be held at all three locations, including rehearsal dinners on the the second floor of Paganini Ristorante for up to 80 guests. For more information on events, food/drink menus or the series of tastings and pairing classes in 2015, visit their Facebook page (Pag’s Pub & Wine Bar) and web site (www.paganinidoylestown.com).

Pag’s Pub is located at 72 W. State St., connected to Pag’s Wine Bar. Paganini Ristorante is across the street at 81 W. State St.