Ortino's Northside


19 Ratings
Ortino's NorthsideOrtino's Northside

Type: Bar, Eatery

1355 N Gravel Pike
Zieglerville, Pennsylvania, 19492
United States

(610) 287-7272 | map

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Added by Beermaninpa

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Ratings: 19 |  Reviews: 17
Reviews by Kadonny:
Photo of Kadonny
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I am reviewing Northside after I had a chance to get there for dinner finally. I have been there just for the beer before, but I now I can review the food too.

A: A real cheery bar area with lots of light wood and a long L shaped bar. Lots of beer paraphanalia and TVs. The place is small and cozy but very warm. There is a separate little dining area too.

S: Great. One of the regular bartenders is Sara (if I remember correctly) and she is awesome. Not only is she a great bartender, but she is a huge craft beer fan. The wait staff for dinner was also very good with food coming on time and piping hot. Overall the service is great even when busy.

S: Awesome. I didn't count the taps, but they had a ton of them plus a huge bottle selection and at least one hand pump. They were one of the first PA bars to get Pliny the Elder and it was the first place I got to try Pliny. Just overall a great selection of beer.

F: Very good menu, very good food and it was served just the way I like it, piping hot. My kids loved their dinners as well as did my wife.

V: Good value.

Overall a top notch place that we will be visiting again for both beer and food. Nice job Northside, keep up the good work.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Wingtpasser
4/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of whatname
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of haazer
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

So I've lived in Sumneytown for almost a year, heard about this place, even stopped and took beer to go once before, but finally decided to eat here 2 weeks before I'm moving another 20 mins away. I have shunned a gem for too long.

The atmosphere is that of a beer bar, mixed with an Italian resturant. The bar as you walk in hugs the left wall and turns in the far left corner and covers most of the back wall before the kitchen. A chalkboard provides whats on tap, of which they have about 12 running. Behind the bar theres a stand up fridge and coolers with takeout beer, and 3 flatscreen TV's playing sports. Theres probably about 15 seats or so at the bar, with small tables with elevated chairs not far behind the bar seating. A small dividing wall seperates these tables with some long booth seating, and then further to the right after entering is more tables and booth seating. Theres also a deck out to dine outside when the weathers nice. I didn't notice a Jukebox but there was music playing the whole time I was there.

The service I had this particular day was very freindly. The waitress and I even got into a conversation about Founders KBS. She seemed to be fairly knowledgeable, and even suggested my girlfriend, who is the pickiest drinker/eater EVER to try a Lindemans Framboise and a Hoegaarden mixed together which she liked.

The selection of brew is good, but nothing jumped out at me. I had a Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale and a Great Divide Yeti(one of my fav's). There seems to be a constant of about 12 taps going, and their bottle list is fairly large but again nothing you wouldn't see at most beer bars or six pack and bottle shops.

The food was incredible, all but perfect. They have Shrimp quesadilla's that's worth going back for. I got a seafood medly of scallops, shrimp, crab meat and mousells over angel hair pasta. Delicious, and under 20$ too.

All in all I enjoyed my dining experience here very much and can't believe I waited so long to make it here. This is probably about 5-7 mins from my house now, after I move it's going to be a half hour. I still think I'll make my way over there though, deffinitely worth the trip.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.58/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Transcribed from undated notes, but I was here with chefmonty and TheChauffeur1, so it had to be around mid-Spring 2009.

On the approach, TheChauffeur1 remarked that the exterior reminded him of someone's house. I could see that, but the beer neon signs in the second floor windows and the long handicapped ramp were dead giveaways that it was more than a private residence. There was a huge carpeted vestibule that led to the bar area to the left and to the restaurant area to the right. Along the far left wall was a series of shelves for glassware and liquor, followed by the three-door cooler which held approximately 240 bottles, all available for take-away. Wrapping around to the right was the bank of twenty (20) taps, followed by the entrance to the kitchen. The blonde wood bar was an inverted "S"-shape, fronted by high tables and chairs as well as a few booths fronted by standard tables and chairs.

Beer: 20 on tap; around 240 in bottles and one cask hand-pump.

Service: I would have told you to ask for Sarah, with an "H", or "Aitch", as I still refer to her, but she has moved on. I am sure that they have not lost a step, being the quality place that I experienced.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

been here quite a few times, both just for beers, and also for dinner and beers. its often quite crowded on a friday or saturday night for dinner, but of course you can wait at the bar for a table.

it's location is basically at the edge of where the philly burbs turn into pennsyltucky, so the prices are pretty reasonable.

the beer selection and quality is great, as they have a decent number of rotating taps, plus probably a couple hundred of bottle selections.
the printed list is usually a bit outdated, but some of the bottle selection is visible behind the bar in coolers.

the food is good - a selection of casual sandwiches to pasta and some entrees. a reasonalbly priced.

the crowd is mixed, but mostly older. they recently added a TV behind the bar

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Photo of BitterBrian
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

My friends and I stopped in for some fresh Nugget Nectar on Hand Pump. Needless to say it was divine, but I'll save that for another review. It's been awhile since I was last there and was quite impressed with the place.

This is one of those gems out in the middle of nowhere. located between Perkiomenville and Schwenksville, there isn't much going on in the neighborhood. No worries, Ortino's has made the NorthSide a destination unto itself. I consider myself lucky to live within a half hour of the place.

Onto the Beer and Food:

like I said, I was preoccupied with the Nugget Necatar, but later on I shared a RR Temptation and had a Rochefort 8 as well. That said, the beer list isn't lacking at North side. there are literally hundreds of microbrew bottles and there is a cooler dedicated to Belgians. Russian River, Pretty things, Elysian, on and on. If it is available in PA, they usually have it.

The food was out of this world. I had the Octoberfest special which was superb. Two types of kraut and 3 wursts with potatos. i think this was the best meal I had ths year. Really Tasty.

Room for improvement: I asked why they only had Lindemans Gueuze and they said Gueuze typically doesn't sell. that might be that case, but it's not like a case of Cantillion will go bad quickly. It's not the fist time I've been there wishing they had more sours.

Also, there are refrigerators FULL of 22oz Bombers and 1 half full of 12 ozers. I am able to try more different beers on a night out if they are smaller bottles. I wish they would dedicate more space to 12 ozers.

That's really nitpicking though. If you are in the area, or even just in the Norther Philly Burbs, I highly recommend a stop at the North side. This is definitely one of the best things going in PA.

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Photo of marshallph
4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Wow! is the first word that comes to mind after entering the somewhat unassuming exterior of Ortino's Northside Grille. When we entered, it reminded me more of a European bistro/cafe than a restaurant in rural PA. We arrived around 7:30 on a late May Friday night and there were no tables to be had inside. One of the things I like most about a good bar is that unmistakable hum of conversation, silverware, & of course, glassware. Ortino's Northside has that to spare. Since the interior was full, we headed to the deck out to the side, with it's own bar of course. This was a great decision, although we missed out on the fantastic guitarist that was playing live inside.

Their selection of drafts was very impressive, but I had checked their website before going and knew what my first round was to be, Victory's Yakima Twilight. I don't know how they kept it this long, but praise be that they did! My wife started with a Weyerbacher Blasphemy on draft (only had that in the bottle before now). The artichoke dip was hot and very tasty and when it was through it was time for another round. Allagash Musette for me and Founder's Double Trouble for her. We were going to finish with a Dupont seasonal Saison that we'd never tried before, but that kicked before we could try it.

All in all the visit was a fantastic one, great food, great atmosphere, and a draft selection that was one of the best I'd run into in a while. We will definitely be making this a regular stop on our Philly-West circuit. Things are filling up out here with great Beer Bars, but this is really a stand out! What we didn't get a chance to visit was their rumored-to-be-excellent bottle selection. Oh well, I guess this calls for round two...

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Photo of chefmonty
4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Walk in though a foyer to a large open bar area with tables and a good size L-shaped bar. Off to the right is a separate dining room. There is also a very nice covered deck outside, great for those summer days

To me, the highlight of the Northside is Sarah who has mastered the lost art of bartending and knows more about craft beer then any 20 something y.o. girl should. I've seen her manage the bar by herself on a busy Friday night and make it look easy and still have time to come around and talk about beer.

Selection is always top notch. 20 or so taps usually one one nitro and also a hand pump. on top of a bottle list that numbers in the 200+ area.

Menu has a little bit for every one. Pub grub, nice dinner entrees or just some finger food at the bar. Also in the summer, John cranks up the smoker on Saturdays for a BBQ Buffet on the deck.

Prices are alway resonable. Overall one of my favorites!

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Photo of Biscuit033
4.95/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Non-smoking with a local family feel. I have no problem bringing the kids here or hanging out alone or catching up with the knowledgable locals. They have an extensive beer list and great slection of beer on tap. The bartenders know there stuff. The food is very good and at great places. It may be slightly of the beaten path but for me it is 15 minutes. It is a definate must try. The owner is a huge fan of local crafts, hard to find beers, and Belgians. Bottle prices are a great value for either take out or drink in. I go almost weekly nowadays.

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Photo of sholland119
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Finally made the trek last night. Pliny the Elder and Perkuno's Hammer in the same place at the same time; I'd have driven a lot farther.

Ortino's Northside is located about 2.5 miles from downtown Schwenskville where there is another Ortino's that our GPS though we wanted to go to. It is also 1.28 miles from the epicenter of nowhere, though it is quite beautiful there.

The main room has a bright L-shaped bar and dining room, and a separate dining room adjoining. It is non-smoking, which is always a huge plus. There is also an outside deck but it was not open yet.

There are about 20 high quality taps, which had the two legendary beers noted above, Stone 11, Founders Dirty Bastard, Aprihop and other good stuff. There was also a good bottle list, though the printed one was out of date (no Dreadnhaught, no Smuttynose Big A; bummer) The bartender was very knowledgeable about the beers and had good alternatives to offer.

Service was very good, given that there was only one bartender on a busy Friday with a big bar. Food was tasty but it did take quite a while for it to appear.

We really liked this place and a re happy we made the trip. It's a little too far from us to visit regularly but they have great special events so...


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Photo of John_M
4.1/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visited Ortino's Northside for their fabulous DIPA tasting the other day (Saturday). This was my first visit to this excellent alehouse/restaurant. Alas, this is yet another place that I'd like to be able to return to, but the nearly 2 and half hour drive from Baltimore makes that somewhat problematic.

From the outside Ortino's really doesn't look to be anything special, and located as it is right on hiway 29, you'll probably fly right by it unless you're looking for it. The building reminds me a bit of Capone's, looking like a smallish, unassuming one story diner with a smallish outside dining area. When you walk up to the building you realize the outside dining area is actually fairly good size, with (at least on this day) an outside bar area with several taps set up.

I went inside and sat at the good size bar area, with it's 3 large flat screen TV's (showing the fishing channel and the speed channel - I won't comment on the owner's taste in TV programming). The dining room and bar area struck me as kind of stark, and the place does not have the most comfortable vibe. However, observing the decor wasn't what I was there for, and I must say the beer selection was quite excellent. I'm assuming this place always has around 20 something different beers on tap, and of course on this day the selection was outstanding (Pliny the Elder, Hopslam and Nugget Nectar, among others). I perused the bottled beer selection while I was there as well, and it also looked pretty strong, with very fair prices I thought.

As for the service, it was OK. There were a lot of people there for the DIPA event, so understandably service suffered just a bit I thought. The staff was friendly enough, and no one was rude, but there was sort of an air of disorganization and rushing about.

The food this day was quite good, consisting of a pretty extensive BBQ layout. I gather there is an outdoor BBQ every Saturday throughout the summer (according to the sign out front), and it's pretty hard to complain about the cost, which was $15 for all you can eat.

All and all I had a very good time at Ortino's, and really wish it were closer by. This would certainly be a regular spot of mine if it were located in Baltimore or anywhere near Baltimore. Oh well...

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Photo of NolanGTI
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Not around the corner, but worth the trip (unless you live around the corner I guess). Props in the atmosphere dept. for the cool patio and view of open spaces (there actually still are some in these parts).

Beer list was extensive and impressive and food was solid all around. I have only been there once but will make a trip back. A great place to have a few beers and some BBQ outside in the summer or fall.

The wait staff I encountered was friendly and knowledgeable.

I'm not sure if this is a bigger oddity or UJ's on the Manatawny, for now, I'll call it a tie. Great beer and food on two lane country road is always a welcome stop.

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Photo of roan22
4.58/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

John Ortino is very nice and I am pleased to have met him through another bar owner. Zieglersville is a beautiful place to take a drive to on a nice day/evening, but unfortunately its a little too far away from where I live to come here regularly.

I've been here twice, once for the first Lew Bryson dinner, and again about a month ago. On my second visit John had been out of town for a while, and the place was suffering a wee bit in his absense...the beer list was outdated, and they didn't have a great selection either on the taps nor in bottles. It was ok, better than average but not KILLER. On my second visit I ate food from the regular menu, and my meal was tasty. Ortino's however should add one food item from the Lew Bryson dinner, Mrs. Ortino's Langinitas Brown Shugga dessert, it was fabulous!

Actually I am quite excited for the Session Summer of Love Fest which will be here in less than two weeks. Ortino's Northside features a patio and is a cute choice for an outdoor BBQ psychedelic session beer lovefest, without being kitschy. They should think about adding the smoked BBQ to the menu in the summer months permanently. Cheers John and Dan!!

*Update 5/26/07--My rating of Ortino's is going to improve as I attended the Session Summer of Love today and it was a great event. It was an awesome idea in the first place...a killer setting, quaffable beers for the 89 degree weather today (the East End Wheat Hop, the Sly Fox British Pale Ale and th' Oud Beersel frambroise were killer!), and lastly the BBQ food was the shit! I mean it.

The BBQ chicken was fabulous, and it was the Legacy head brewer's Eastern Shore recipe with old Bay which satisfied my taste buds the most. The corn on the cob was fresh white corn and satisfied my swedish cornhusking ancestoral need to tear it up. John Ortino's ribs and sauce were also great, and Mrs. Ortino's desserts continue to kick ass! Scott and John: You two need to open up a BBQ business, seriously. Scott, why don't you (Legacy) have a restaurant already?

Dan Bengal, PR guy, was super entertaining and a great guy to talk to. The service at the outdoor bar was wonderful...the bartender worked her butt off in the 89 degree heat. Plus Mr. and Mrs. Bryson, Mr. Curtain, Legacy Lee and Tracy Victory were all there, plus I met the super nice BA Brian (bk998). Thanks John Lew and Dan for working so hard to have this BBQ. Can't wait to eat more of it!

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Photo of bmills1608
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I'm not going to talk about the restaurant because I have never sat down and eaten a meal. I will instead focus exclusively on the bar.

Great bar because of the nice and diverse tap list. I will say upwards of 10 taps and 1 handpump. When I visited they had 2 tripels (Chimay and St Bernardus) as well as a third Belgian. On the pump was Appalachian Jolly Scot. Taps were Monty Python Holy Grail, 2 handles with Middle Ages, a Legacy, a Brooklyn, and I forget the rest, but basically, a really good selection of taps. They also had a bunch of specials - $2 cans of Dales Pale, bottles of Stegmair IPA and about 6 other bottle/can specials at $2-2.50. Real good bottle selection as well, with an emphasis on Belgians. Overall, compared to the Drafting Room lets say, the draft selection is about on par, the bottles not quite, but for this area...awesome.

The building is kinda out in the middle of no where, right on rt. 29. Lets see, a John Deer dealership down the road and lots of fields surrounding. Great place for beer.

Edit 8-12-2007
I can't get enough of this place lately! GREAT beer bar. Since the first review, they have added a crap load more taps. About 20 now + plus one nitro and one cask. Bottle selection has been revamped a bit and leans towards big bottes (750 ml and bombers), but still plenty of 12oz sizes. For drafts, from pretty much anywhere, a great place. Bottle selection is really nice too. Keep up the good work, and don't worry, with urban sprawl continuing at its break neck pace, you won't be in the boonies for long. (Sarcasm, but true....fuckers.)

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Photo of francisweizen
3.88/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Another decent beer bar in my part of the world. Less than 30 minutes from my door you will find Ortinos, a nice little Italian restaurant with some good taps, a cask, and some nice bottles as well, all reasonably priced and served correctly. My friend Dave and I went here one day after work. I opted for a cask nugget nectar, which was served from the cask correctly and at the right temperature. It was fresh, juicy and great. Dave got a bottle of Aventinus eisbock. The service was fast and friendly, and they take credit cards here which is a plus. Atmosphere is a little lame as this is just a small little Italian joint, but the beer quality and service makes up for it. The selection in bottles and on draught is pretty good as well, but this is more a dinner and drinks stop than a bonafide classy beer bar. Still worth the trip if you are passing by or if you live close.

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Photo of JasonStrauss
4.83/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I can't really say much more than what has already been written by the other folks here. Ortino's Northside is a great place to hang out. The Italian-American menu is very good -- never had a bad meal there. The beer selection is outstanding for a small business -- some selections would be nearly impossible to find anywhere else. The staff is always friendly. Best of all, it's smoke-free, so you can actually smell and taste your food and beer. :) Since I learned about Northside several months ago, it has become my new favorite restaurant & bar, for the reasons above, and because it is within 20 minutes from home.

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Photo of weeare138
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place is a very nice establishment with a redone inside and terrific menu featuring nightly and seasonal specials. The slightly upscale menu changes periodically with the focus being on Italian cuisine. You shouldn't be dissapointed. The beer selection is always a treat and rotates constantly with at least 5-6 winners every time. There is also a huge bottle selection ranging from regional selections, such as Yards & Stoudt's, to most of the Belgian big hitters. John is open to opinion on beer and is always willing to chat about what's available and what you would like to see. Some of the bottles may be on the wee pricey side but try finding another place with this kind of selection within a 10 mile radius. Be sure to check out the tastings, when available. And if you see that beer on tap that you wanted to try but think you'll get it next time...get it now! It only takes them a few days to go through 'em.

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Photo of Beermaninpa
4.66/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

First off the whole place is smoke free, can you ask anything more than that? Very clean, ski lodge type of place, open and airy.

All the beers are very fresh. The draft beer is all 1/6's and 1/4 kegs, so the rotate constatly. They use a direct draw system, so the beer only travels a couple of feet, not halfway around the world like some places. The bottled beers are the bigger boys and they seem to go thru quite a bit.

Very good, your glass does not stay empty. They give you a proper glass for the beer you choose. Thay are above average on beer knowlege and are trying to learn more.

One of the best in S.E. PA, let alone Zieglarsville, PA. 8 drafts at the moment, the owner has plans to install another 12 as soon as business justifies it. Over 70 high quality bottles, we a slant towards Belgians.

Have had good reports, but have not had it myself.

My new spot, nice and relaxing, smoke free and good beer.

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Ortino's Northside in Zieglerville, PA
4.43 out of 5 based on 19 ratings.
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