Foodie Fay Strickler has traveled the world, tasting exotic cuisines. She recently started to use her training as a foods judge to review local restaurants and offer insight on the best entrees and offerings at local fine and casual dining establishments. Her reviews are posted regularly as a way to connect prospective residents to the wealth of dining opportunities here in central Pennsylvania. To learn more about Fay and read her story, click here.
Boehringer’s (pronounced bear-ing-ers)
Don’t miss this one—a 50’s style eatery in a quiet shady spot along a lazy creek where kids play in the water and feed the ducks. It’s a summer tradition for more than 70 years that encourages so many families to come back. It’s nothing fancy but simple, delicious, inexpensive food. Family favorites include cheese steak sandwiches ($4.45) hamburger barbecue ($2.75), hot dogs ($1.75) with chili ($2.95) and hot crispy fries ($1.75). But it’s the homemade ice cream that makes this “the place to go” from March to September. A double dip of your choice of 12 flavors is just $3.50. My favorites are black raspberry, chocolate butter fudge, chocolate mint chip and pineapple. Delicious shakes and sundaes are also in demand. Newcomers will quickly learn the procedure as posted, “Step up to order, Step back to wait!” Somehow the 10 college kids jockey for position manning their stations, get your food, remember you, accept your money and place it in only one cash register. There are no seats inside but 12 picnic tables on each side of the drive-in offer ample seating. Believe me, the antique shoppers coming to Adamstown return to this hidden local gem. The only drawback? It closes around Labor Day and you have to wait until spring. Closed Mondays.
Website: Facebook Page
Directions: 3160 N Reading Rd, Adamstown, PA 19501
Gracie’s on West Main
Full menu of made from scratch soups, sauces, dressings and their own smoked meats. All day breakfast available with interesting omelets, Gracie’s benedict with Irish bacon (eggs perfectly cooked), hash, and bacon sampler. Dill chicken salad is ideal at lunch time. Large portions of quality food served in unique style. Try to save room for creative desserts like the deep dish apple pie or the walnut bacon pie. Casual dining, incredible service with phenomenal, inspirational quotes on the walls. Open Tuesday-Sunday, closed Mondays. Reservations accepted.
Directions: 264 W Main St, Leola, PA 17540
Located at the end of a strip mall in New Holland, this cute, cozy and comfortable pub is owned by dog lovers and named for their yellow lab, Brady. Visitors traveling in the area join locals for the best crispy wings with lots of flavor, chicken or steak fajita salads and a beverage of choice. Nightly specials include Taco night and Prime Rib night with sides of baked potato and homemade coleslaw. The specials encourage locals to go often and make reservations to guarantee availability. In warmer weather diners may prefer outside seating.
Website: Facebook Page
Directions: 856 W Main St, New Holland, PA 17557
The Cellar on Market*
Visit Lancaster’s new 1930’s theme lounge pub and taste the variety of small plates. Located inside the Hager Arcade Mall, at 25 W. King St. or accessible from the Central Market side door, The Cellar on Market is a unique place to visit after a show at the Fulton Theater or after getting tasty treats at market. I enjoyed the Thursday daily special: Fish and Chips. I was surprised when the breaded fresh fish strips were served with two sauces and accompanied by plantain chips, It was a delicious and an affordable special. Other guests highly recommended the Seafood Empanadillas and Shrimp in a Blanket. On Mondays the daily special is $1 fish tacos. The music was a bit loud, but a very accommodating staff person lowered it when I asked. The comfortable lounge area featured large windows with views of Central Market and the skyline. Open Monday-Saturday, closed Sundays.
Directions: 25 W King Street, Lancaster PA 17603
Hong Kong Garden
My family and I have dined at this Chinese Restaurant for over 20 years and I rate it number 1 in the area. Located in the Wheatland Shopping Center, the restaurant always has plenty of free parking. Food is served in huge portions… ideal for sharing or taking extra home. After ordering, our server, Say, always brings a complimentary bowl of freshly made crispy fried egg noodle chips with duck sauce, mustard and hot tea. They are excellent, followed by a bowl of Wonton or Hot and Sour Soup. We always order the egg roll extra crispy as it coats the pork and shrimp combination just perfectly. A favorite Chef Specialty is Heaven and Earth made with chicken, pork, shrimp, vegetables and pineapples. Assorted lunch specials and combos include fried rice and soup. The large, extensive menu offers multiple choices of beef, poultry, seafood, pork and vegetarian entrees and presents a challenge in choosing your meal. Closed Mondays.
Directions: 1807 Columbia Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603
Ciro's Italian Bistro*
A lovely drive across Landis Valley Road to Richmond Square on Fruitville Pike, will take you to Ciro's. Tony Ciro, owner of this upscale casual dining restaurant, welcomes newcomers and is open to giving recommendations for his favorite entress. After trying the Linguine di Vongole (Pasta with Clams (ask for it Tony style)… it has become my favorite too! Choose your style of pasta with red or white sauce… I like angel hair pasta with a delicious white wine sauce flavored by a bit of red pepper flakes and covered with a generous amount of fresh clams. A lovely waitress brought artisan herb bread with olive oil or butter. I look forward to trying fire roasted pizzas, salads and other classic Italian dishes – lasagna, chicken Marsala and veal parmigiana during future visits. Save room for dessert! Mamma Ciro makes delicious desserts or you can choose from the gelato case filled with different flavors that you can "taste" before you choose. My favorite is a combination of peanut butter and coffee mocha while my friend enjoyed cookies n cream…. each flavor was fabulous! Service was the best, next to the delicious food. Indoor and outdoor seating is available or you can reserve the small private dining room. Reservations recommended. Open daily.
Directions: 605 Richmond Dr, Lancaster, PA 17601
Amorette offers an upscale, French-American fine-dining experience. Allow enough time to visit the bar/lounge area where you can sample small plates before going in the dining room for dinner. When you make reservations, you can select from several options. You can treat yourself to a four or seven course tasting menu. Or, for an extra special occasion, you can reserve the Chef’s Table, which treats eight guests to a 12-course blind tasting menu. For lunch, you can choose a la carte or a 3-course lunch. On my first trip to Amorette I started with the oyster crudo: west and east coast oysters topped with caviar or a fusion topping plated on a variety of small stones and innovatively garnished. I followed it with a succulent blue Maryland crab cake with dark grilled top, then the beef short rib entrée with edible flowers, greens with a red wine reduction. Antelope, rabbit, rare truffles and lobster are also options. Portion sizes are perfect. My companion and I chose Pavlova and The Hazelnut for dessert. Both were truly delicious artistic creations. You no longer need to drive to Philadelphia or New York City to experience fine dining and enjoy fabulous French-American cuisine. Amorette, located in the Press Building in downtown Lancaster offers a fantastic local experience. Open Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations required.
$$$$ ($25 - $198)
Directions: 401 N Prince St, Lancaster, PA 17603
If you’re looking for a casual night out with a meal featuring outstanding steaks and chops, this NY style eatery will fit the bill. After a 30 minute drive from Garden Spot Village you’ll find it located behind Kyma, a popular seafood restaurant. The steaks are prepared to your liking with sides of your choice. Request a filet prepared Pittsburgh-style and you’ll discover an entrée rare on the inside and superbly grilled top and bottom. Closed Mondays.
Directions: 1640 N Reading Rd, Stevens, PA 17578
Kyma Seafood Grill*
A 30-minute drive will take you to N. Reading Rd. and this Greek island-inspired food haven. A partner restaurant of Johnny’s Steakhouse (lower level), Kyma features “The Dock,” an outdoor deck with seating in warmer weather. You’ll find extensive seafood options….best Colossal Crab cake, oysters, Ahi Tuna, Mussels Kyma, and the Dock Pot (one pound of seafood, potatoes and corn). Not a seafood lover? No problem. Kyma’s steaks are just as good as you will find at their partner restaurant, Johnny’s (see above). Closed Mondays.
Directions: 1640 N Reading Rd, Stevens, PA 17578
This legendary restaurant is located at the north end of downtown Lancaster. The famous Stockyard Inn is one of the oldest operating steakhouses in the United States and has been recognized since 1750 as Lancaster’s Fine Dining Tradition. In 1895 the Lancaster Stockyards was founded and covered twenty-five acres of farmland surrounding the inn. The cattlemen needed a place to enjoy meals and rest, so the farmhouse situated at the corner of the stockyard property, came to be known as the Stockyard Inn. In 1952, the Stockyard Inn was purchased by James (Jimmee) Fournaris and evolved from an inn that catered to cattlemen clientele into a more traditional, steakhouse restaurant. During these transitional years, the Inn, and particularly the Bar Room, was known for its extraordinarily diverse mix of patrons, who included doctors, lawyers, judges, businessmen and, of course, the cattlemen. The inn is known for outstanding steaks, chops, prime rib (cut in their own butcher shop), jumbo lump Maryland crab cakes and their famous Snapper Soup served with sherry. The classic onion soup is superb with croutons and cheese. The combo of petite filet—grilled to perfection—and crab cake—minus any obvious filler—is the perfect choice. Selecting a dessert from the tray is a dilemma with cheesecakes, chocolate peanut butter cake and more. But, you can’t go wrong with the three layer chocolate cake—a perfect ending to an awesome meal. For a more formal elegant atmosphere there are several dining rooms with an enhanced menu. Service is friendly and accommodating. Reservations advised. Open Tuesday through Saturday.
Directions: 1147 Lititz Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601
*Adult Beverages Available
$ Under $15
$$ $30 & under
$$$ $31 to $50
$$$$ $50 & over