Over the years, amenities in the Pocono Mountain region have grown immensely to accommodate the ever-expanding tourism, such that the area now includes much in the way of chain hotels and restaurants to add to the mix of historical and unique properties The Poconos are famous for. Eateries such as Red Robin, LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, and Chili’s, to name just a few, are all available at select exits if that’s the type of dining you favor.
However, if you’re a local or traveler that prefers the kind of originality and distinction that effectively established the Poconos as a hotspot, then look no further than the Gem and Keystone, which can be found near the entrance of Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort.
Resembling a big red barn in its structure, the restaurant is essentially part of the resort. But it isn’t necessary for visitors to be guests of the inn to dine there. And that’s welcomed news because you wouldn’t want to miss it, especially if you’re a fan of craft beer and gorgeous views. The Gem and Keystone offers both, along with personable service and some tasty dishes from their varied menu.
Given the size of the exterior, as well as the sheer size of the resort, visitors might be taken aback by the smallish interior dining area, which hosts just a few booths and approximately 10 tables, as well as a quaint outdoor patio. But this is exactly what makes the Gem and Keystone a ‘pub’ as opposed to a restaurant. It’s also what makes it so different from the cookie-cutter dining outlets on the exits and is the very reason for the intimate, old-school atmosphere and personalized service.
As a matter of fact, this eatery is so distinct that the craft beer offered here is actually brewed on site and is the reason behind the slogan “Beer From Here, Food From Near“.
To be honest, it’s much nearer than you might think considering the Shawnee Inn property cultivates 3 separate areas of farmland that contribute fresh herbs and produce to their dining facilities, including the Gem and Keystone.
Many of the menu items are typical pub fare, including hamburgers, wings, quesadillas, and nachos, as well as sandwiches, wraps, and salads. For larger appetites, several complete entrees are offered, including steaks, ribs, pork loin, herb roasted chicken, and wood grilled salmon. Among this classic American cuisine, you’ll find a number of Gem and Keystone Signature Dishes, some of which incorporate the inn’s craft beer and farm fresh produce. These menu items include Oxtail Sliders, Arancini (deep-fried homemade risotto balls served with marinara), Almond Crusted Trout, Pineapple Salsa Mahi Tacos, and a series of dishes that feature cheese dips or sauces made with Shawnee’s many craft beers.
For our review purposes, we tried the Pulled Pork on a Toasted Brioche Roll as well as a simple BLT on Sourdough Bread with fries. Both were fresh and flavorful, and the service was incredibly friendly and fast.
The Gem and Keystone is moderately priced, so rest assured that lunch or dinner here won’t break the bank. Appetizers are priced between $6 and $11. Sandwiches, Burgers and Pub Favorites are priced between $8 and $14. Complete Entrees start at $16 with the high-end meal of Filet Mignon priced at $27.
Overall, the dining experience here is a unique and pleasant one with a smalltown atmosphere set against the backdrop of a historic inn and a very modern menu.