About Us



It’s a Beautiful Day

One of Lancaster’s most favored restaurants, Checkers Bistro welcomes guests to enjoy its unique blend of French, Asian, and American cuisines, that have come to be recognized as the signature Checkers Bistro style, with its warm hospitality, and its unparalleled service. Our inventive seasonal menu consists of elegant dishes with a rustic influence that showcases the restaurant’s relationships with local farms and purveyors.

The restaurant can be enjoyed through two distinct dining experiences: in the Bar and in the Dining Room, both serving the full menu, while the bar also offers special happy hour selections.
Originally opened in 2006 in an intimate neighborhood location, the restaurant recently relocated to a historical building just a few blocks around the corner, in a building known as Champion Forge. Alison McIndoe of AK Interiors has beautifully redesigned the new space.

The owners and staff of Checkers Bistro look forward to serving you. It is our pleasure to provide you with excellent food and service each time you visit with us, and we encourage each of you to “live, love, eat.” It is always a beautiful day at Checkers Bistro.

Our Family

At Checkers Bistro, we know that the only way to guarantee that our guests receive the best dining experience possible, we must first provide a rewarding, supportive, and exceptional atmosphere for our staff.

We pride ourselves on our fine dining savvy team and reward our staff members for seeking out culinary experiences at both our own and other fine dining establishments to learn about and critique the food and service. Because of this, our staff is ahead of the trending curve when it comes to what is hot and fresh in food and dining.

As owners, we continue to educate ourselves as well. Both of us frequently travel to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. to see and experience the food trends in the successful big city restaurants. In this way we stay on the cutting edge of upscale dining right here in Lancaster County.

Jeff Thornton – Proprietor

Jeff was born in New York and graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Prior to joining Checkers Bistro, Jeff was an Owner of Atomic Design, Inc., a Production Design company based in Lititz, PA. Jeff was the CFO/COO and was responsible for all the day-to-day operations of the company, focusing on finance, business planning and Corporate Services. Jeff is active in the community and was a founding Member of Music For Everyone, has served on the Board of the Lancaster Boys and Girls Club and has sat on various Committees for the Pennsylvania Academy of Music, the United Way, the Hamilton Club and the Lancaster Country Club. Jeff is currently an active member of YPO/WPO.

David Payne – Proprietor

David was born in the United Kingdom and graduated from Thames Valley University in England with a degree in Hotel Management. He received his management training at the Savoy Hotel in London, and was recruited by Sheraton Hotels in GA. David left the Sheraton company to pursue an opportunity at the Dolphin Hotel at Disney World in Orlando, FL. He arrived in Lancaster, PA as the opening General Manager of the Lancaster Arts Hotel. He started Checkers Bistro in 2006.

Jason Black – Executive Chef
Carmelo Mateo – Sous Chef
Abigail Kuhn – Sous Chef
Andy Zimmer – Executive Pastry Chef





spoon Discover Lancaster





Checkers Bistro is proud to provide fresh, locally grown and raised foods to prepare our signature Checkers style cuisine. We see our role in helping to support and sustain the local Lancaster County farming community as an important and valued one.

We are also happy to help our local community charitable programs and services by donating gift cards for silent auctions and making cash donations when needed. Please see below to see our guidelines.





As a neighborhood restaurant, Checkers Bistro strives to give back to the community that has shown us so much love and support over the years. In our efforts to ensure that we are appropriately receiving and answering and all donation requests, we ask that you please follow our donation guidelines:

  1. All donations requests must be via email to the following address: info@CheckersBistro.com. We appreciate that you personally stopped by the restaurant to drop off a request. However, this is a quick and easy way for the request to be misplaced and not reach management.
  2. Please give at least two weeks to go over your request. We are a busy restaurant and we don’t always have the ability to look at a request right away.
  3. If your email comes with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Checkers Bistro Management” we most likely will pass over your request. It seems like a mass mailer or form letter. We are putting in the time and resources to our donations. Please show us the same level of respect.
  4. Organizations that are strongly supported by our regular guests get first priority. We believe in supporting those who support us.  Additionally, organizations that  operate in the northwest of Lancaster City get high priority. We believe this is the best way to strengthen our community.
  5. We look for organizations with a cause that is important to our staff. These include:
  6. As mentioned before we are a neighborhood restaurant, and we like to focus our donation efforts to our neighbors in need. Therefore, we unfortunately have limited offerings for communities outside of the greater Lancaster City area. If you are sending a request from outside that area and we are unable to help, please know it is not because we don’t support your cause but because we cannot fulfill every request that comes our way.
  7. In general, we give two kinds of donations:
    1. Gift cards in varying amounts. Please give us ample notice as to when you will pick up the gift cards. We want to make sure it is at the ready for everyone’s convenience.
    2. A meal for a designated amount of people. We ask that all recipients please contact us ahead of time (generally, one to two weeks) so we can work with them to design a menu and discuss any other important details.

We are thrilled to be a business that has the ability to support the efforts in our neighborhood. We hope these guidelines help you.