Over last semester, eating in the Ville for my reviews has become one of my favorite things to do. As a self-proclaimed homebody, I’m far more likely to go to Sharples for its convenience and comfort than I am to venture out to try a new restaurant in the Ville. Every other week, I have discovered something new in the town of Swarthmore that has enhanced my experience as a first-year student. On my trip to Occasionally Yours, I considered that this meal was likely to be the last one I ate in the Ville with the purpose of writing a Phoenix review. The stakes were high for the restaurant, and I was yet to be disappointed by a meal in the Ville.
The restaurant is bright, and the natural light let in by the large storefront window is enhanced by the white furniture inside. The walls are painted a similar bright white on the bottom two-thirds, but a shelf serves as a bold transition to deep-green. As I sat in Occasionally Yours and looked around the room, I felt as if I was not in a restaurant, but rather having meal in someone’s home. The deep hue of the top portion creates the same cozy vibe as the living room in my grandparent’s home, and the items sitting on the shelf made me feel as if I had been transported back to a childhood memory. The family photos displayed next to vintage-appearing appliances created a warm ambiance found at the intersection of an old farmhouse and modern design. The home-ish atmosphere was amplified by the ease at which patrons held conversations across the small dining room, which holds two rows of tables on the sides of the restaurant that were too close together. Despite the annoyance of bumping into the tables while getting in and out of my seat, I appreciated the cozy atmosphere that the furniture arrangement provided. A basket of children’s books in the window indicated that children were welcome in the restaurant, and seeing my sister’s favorite titles reminded me of home. Casual yet classic, crowded and comfortable, the contradictions in Occasionally Yours provide an ambiance that is inviting as well as informal.
Food is at the core of any dining experience, and Occasionally Yours delivers on the unwritten but universal promise to serve a good meal that is at the nexus of the food service industry. Its menu features both basic staples as well as certain adventurous specials, from grilled cheese to meatloaf to lasagna, many will find that Occasionally Yours has their favorite meal from growing up, but that it takes few culinary risks as well. The Carolina pulled pork sandwich, a popular special, was a pleasant surprise. My expectations for barbeque decrease as the latitude increases, but the sandwich was warm and tender. Sweet flavors permeated the meat as I had my preconceived notions of northern pulled pork gently shattered. The French bun that enveloped the pork was crispy on the outside but was fluffy and soft on the inside, adding additional textures that made the sandwich a multidimensional dish. I had potato salad on the side, but its cool flavors and tangy undertones turned it into a main event. Celery intermingled with the soft chunks of potato and provided a much needed crunch. The potato salad was a perfect companion to the pulled pork as its savory flavors complimented the sandwich but its cool temperature and flavor notes made it a unique part of the meal.
To complete my meal, I drank lemonade and had a pastry for dessert. The lemonade was sweet and light, but was almost underwhelming. The close border between refreshing and boring was just enough to remind me of summer, but the flavors were not powerful enough to make me yearn to have hot weather again. A strawberry crumb bar was the last part of the meal, and the soft doughy bottom overpowered the strawberry that peeked its way out from under the crumb top. The dessert had good flavors that were overpowered by an amount of bar that was not balanced by a fair proportion of strawberry and crumb. The meal served at Occasionally Yours was well made, and delivered on my expectation of a hearty meal.
The experience provided by Occasionally Yours is slightly cramped but is welcoming and a good place to take friends to get comfort food at the end of a long week. Their meals are tasty, and the individual dishes provide a range of flavors that are both appetizing and interesting. Just a short walk past the train station, the restaurant is an inviting way to add more variety into one’s dining choices while staying in one’s culinary comfort zone. Occasionally Yours has good food and a comfortable atmosphere and is a great spot to get a meal, but is the restaurant version of your childhood bedroom: you would be missing out if you stayed there your whole life and never branched out, but it’s really good to go back occasionally.