Taste: Thea


This past December, mother and daughter restaurateurs AnnMarie and Sophia Nelms (the culinary team who created the popular West-Shore spots Sophia’s on Market and Sophia’s at Walden) opened their newest venture located at Arcona Crossroads, a recent Charter Homes & Neighborhoods development in Lower Allen Township.

Dubbed Thea, the new eatery was inspired by AnnMarie’s aunt, Helen.

“Thea means ‘aunt’ in Greek,” explains AnnMarie.  “My most favorite ‘thea’ passed away about two years ago.  She was an inspiration to me.  She taught me that love is food, and if you don’t love what you cook, no one will love it back.  So, when she passed away, and we didn’t want to do ‘Sophia’s’ again, this was the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to her.”

Thea’s winter menu offers delicious comfort-food choices, which complements well the home-like atmosphere and decor.

“I went for that home-cooked, comfort-food feel with my own flair – American with Greek twists on things,” says AnnMarie.  “…My idea was to have the feel of walking into your best friend’s or your favorite family member’s home.  I want the experience to be amazing food and amazing service, all with your favorite people.”

So far, Thea has been gaining a loyal following of hungry patrons.

“I couldn’t be more happy with the opening,” she says.  “We’ve packed this place – not every night, but our weekends are maxed out, and lunches are also picking up.  …I’m really proud.”

Top 3 Must-Try Appetizers
1.  Thea’s Crispy Brussels Sprouts, fried and finished with a citrus-honey-chili glaze and crumbled feta cheese.
2.  Calamari Fritté, hand-breaded in herbed rice flour and finished with Fife N Good hotchi sauce.
3.  Brie Brûlée: Melted brie cheese brûléed and finished with jam and sugared almonds, served with toast points.

Top 3 Must-Sample Salads
1.  Beet & Arugula Salad: Arugula with goat cheese, herb crème fraîche, fresh red and golden beets, pistachios, crispy polenta croutons and lemon-honey vinaigrette.
2.  Blackberry Brie Salad: Field greens with red onions, sun-dried cherries, fresh orange slices, hand-breaded and fried brie cheese and blackberry vinaigrette.
3.  Kale and Brussels Salad: Fresh, tender kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, sun-dried cranberries, cumin-roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted butternut squash and maple vinaigrette.

Top 3 Must-Order Entrées
1.  Half Lemon-Roasted Chicken: Pan-seared chicken, roasted and finished with a fresh lemon-herbed pesto, served with twice-fried red potatoes and choice of vegetable.
2.  Chicken Pie: Roasted chicken in rich broth with carrots, green beans, fresh shelled peas and fresh sweet corn, topped with herbed pastry.
3.  Thea’s Meatloaf: A blend of ground veal, beef and pork baked to perfection, served over leak and gruyere bread pudding and finished with a marsala-reduction demi glace.

Thea (1303 Saxton Way, Mechanicsburg) is open Monday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.  It is BYOB, and look out for the new spring menu in mid-March. For more information, call (717) 759-4654 or visit thea-dining.com.