In 1791, the newly formed U.S. federal government imposed a tax on all distilled spirits – whiskey being the most affected – in an effort to reduce war debt from the Revolutionary War. This tax did not sit well with distillers, resulting in a protest known as the Whiskey Rebellion, which reached a violent climax in 1794 with an attack on the home of a tax inspector in western Pennsylvania.

Led by President George Washington, a 13,000-strong militia quelled the rebellion, which was “the first and only time in U.S. history that a sitting President donned a uniform to command troops in battle.” President Washington paid a visit to Carlisle, Pa. to review troops prior to suppressing the resistance.

Much has changed in the Cumberland County town since the late 18th Century, but its rich history has not been forgotten.

On S. Hanover St., just a block off the main square in Carlisle, the one-year-old restaurant, 1794 The Whiskey Rebellion, sits as a tribute to the borough’s past as well as the distilled spirit that existed at the center of this storied American uprising.

Boasting 51 varieties of whiskey and an impressive menu, 1794 The Whiskey Rebellion offers a delicious and uniquely spirited dining experience.

“The original idea was to tie in a nice steakhouse in downtown Carlisle with the surrounding community,” explains Executive Chef Jeff Utzman, CEC. “My main focuses are local, organic and natural, humanely treated meats – all steers, no heifer meat. Today, it’s a nice blue-collar, high-end steakhouse.”

The components of 1794 The Whiskey Rebellion’s menu are sourced from 14 local – what they call – “friends and farmers” all within 60 miles of the restaurant.

“We really enjoy using what our neighbors grow and produce,” says Chef Utzman. “And we have been able to tie in our concept of farm-to-shaker and farm-to-table for our drinks and cuisine, but we don’t call ourselves a farm-to-table restaurant; we call ourselves a community restaurant.”

In addition to their commitment to local sourcing, 1794 The Whiskey Rebellion employs some unique culinary techniques.

“Your food never touches aluminum or plastics while cooking, and that’s a pretty big thing for us,” says Chef Utzman. “We use only carbon steel, ceramics, stainless steel and cast-iron to cook in. We also use a 97.5 percent pure water to cook with. We use only non-GMO, organic foods, and we are one of the few steakhouses that offer five genealogies of cattle to select and eat from – we are pretty proud of that.”

Beyond 1794 The Whiskey Rebellion’s nod to history and dedication to local sourcing, the fine eatery strives to offer an authentically community-based establishment.

“It’s key for us to be able to tie in the history of the area to our menus as well as the concept of the community of Carlisle like the old-school taverns and hotels did, which is so important to us – they were the community centers back then,” Chef Utzman says. “One of the things we wanted to develop here at 1794 was a community center, somewhere everyone feels comfortable coming – farmers and four-star generals from the War College sitting side-by-side eating.”

Top 3 Must-Try Appetizers

1. Martha’s Flowers: Cauliflower florets, tempura, spices and house-made sauce.

2. Amish Kasespatzle: Skillet-baked, local-farm cheese with house-cut Amish bacon and macaroni.

3. Deviled Duck Eggs: A nest of three – chipotle Gorgonzola, smoked trout and classic.

 

Top 3 Must-Order Entrées

1. 1794 Filet Mignon: 8-ounce, house-cut, certified Hereford filet.

2. Bastille Medallions: Brangus filet medallions with Bastille 1789 Whisky butter.

3. The Whistle Pig: Slow-fired, 16-ounce Porterhouse pork chop with WhistlePig Whiskey rosemary butter.

 

Top 3 Cocktails

1. Gentleman’s Fashioned: Woodford Reserve, cane sugar cube, orange, house bourbon cherry, aromatic bitters and club soda.

2. Copper Bulleit: Bulleit Bourbon, Crabbies Ginger Beer, muddled lime and fresh mint, served in a copper mug.

3. Rebel Manhattan: Bulleit Rye, bourbon cherry juice, aromatic bitters, sweet vermouth and house bourbon cherries.

1794 The Whiskey Rebellion (10 S. Hanover St., Carlisle) is open for lunch, Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and for dinner, Monday through Saturday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The bar is open until midnight. Reserve now for their upcoming Easter and Mother’s Day buffets or one of their bimonthly whiskey-, beer- and wine-pairing dinners. For more information, call (800) 704-1188 or visit comfortsuitescarlisle.com/1794.

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