Good Casual Eats Across [Pennsylvania] (and [Wheeling] WVA)

we drive across PA multiple times a year for many years and are always looking for good new places to stop and eat. Im starting this topic to memorialize some of them and maybe get some additional suggestions. as Brian Yarvin has noted here or elsewhere, there seems to be a trend to homestyle restaurants closing in favor of brew and burger or BBQ casual places. We agree thats a sad trend but some of the new brew and burger type places are good and besides, we like good burgers and Jim likes a good beer when we are on the road. Here are a few of the places we have enjoyed over the years.

MILLWORKS Restaurant, Harrisburg PA - near the capital and Market is this eating place with brews. We had some really tasty burgers here last year, the level of cuisine seems good. Very popular.

JOSIES GERMAN RESTAURANT AND MARKET, Mechanicsburg PA - uneven but some really good dishes and a great source of german (not PA dutch) sausages and groceries. We really liked the sausage platter and the jagerschitzel, not so much the goulash. Beer of course. Tiny homey spot.

BROWNSTONE RESTAURANT, Middletown PA. A nice intown restaurant in an old bank building in a cute old river town. Havent visited since the pandemic, but their chicken pot pie (not the noodle version) was always very good.

COPPERZ Brewing Co, Hamburg, PA - decent brews and burgers cooked with pride. very enjoyable stopping place off 80.

ESTHERS RESTAURANT, Fredericksburg PA just off 78 - rural diner, good for breakfast, I particularly like their chicken corn soup with chopped egg in it

We recently found MELS RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE , Somerset PA as an alternative to the SUMMIT DINER. Downmarket, feels like an old speakeasy, but delivers a very good burger and other simple fare in addition to some real local atmosphere.

OUT OF THE FIRE, Donegal PA - after many many visits we feel likes its lost a tiny bit since the early days (and not BYO any more) but still a very enjoyable and worthy lunch and dinner destination in the Laurel Highlands area with its great deck looking out over the mountains.

GENERATIONS RESTAURANT, Wheeling WVA - An institution, still in family hands, not so much polish flavor but very good casual food, a good beer selection and yes excellent burgers. Very enjoyable.

Along 80 not so recently visited but long term faves -

OLD FORGE BREWING COMPANY, Danville, PA - an excellent brewpub/burger/sandwich stop in a nice old town, good for a stroll as well as very good food.

BERWICK BREWING COMPANY, Berwick PA. A long running chill brewpub with pizza, with nice cool seating along the Susquehanna River. We enjoyed our stop here very much.

POWERHOUSE EATERY, whitehaven PA - a welcome sight in the Poconos, driving W from NYC
its been a while but we have always enjoyed our casual meals here. Great space, too!

GIOs BBQ, Clearfield (Woodland) PA. could be worth considering in the Clearfield area.

In the last year Ive had less successful meals at a couple of places just west of bedford - the Jean Bonnet Tavern, and the Horn O Plenty. The first I dined alone at - felt the cuisine was a little ossified though it was a really nice room. The second we lunched at on a weekday - very quirky, their burgers had ground mushroom in them, but it did not seem to be an advantage becauset the flavor did not come through and diluted the beefiness - we were served slaw that was just big chunks of cabbage, with pretty much no dressing - all in all fairly strange but there was only one other table and maybe th regular cook was not in the kitchen - Id give it another try, a nice hillside location outside of town.

We mourn the TOWN HALL RESTAURANT, evidently permanently closed now where we had a number of fine breakfasts and the fact that SHADYMAPLE is an unvisitable zoo now, I would like to have their broasted chicken again but will not go.



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Thanks! I have no immediate plans, but this is great to have

Two round trips across PA in the last month or so, several meals (leaving out the meals we ate camping at Ricketts Glen

  1. Return visit to Berwick Brewing Company, ate in the beer garden overlooking the Susquehanna on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Husband likes the beers and we love the thin crust pizza - this was the white curd and landjager sausage version with garlic infused oil. Really tasty. they have a skeleton crew and deserve support.

  2. Generations Restaurant and Pub in Wheeling, still thumbs up for burgers and more; they also have a nice deck overlooking Wheeling Creek which we enjoyed.

  3. Ditto good lunches at Out of the Fire in Donegal in August - I enjoyed an excellent pastrami reuben and unusual and tasty corn chowder special there

  4. We spent a night near Ligonier in late July, and enjoyed a traditional dinner at the historic Eastwood Inn on the Lincoln Hway east of Ligonier. We really enjoyed the atmosphere of this beautiful old Inn and the fresh local grilled meats we were served. I had an excellent spinach salad as well as well as good side vegetables, some excessively plain as from grandma’s table others nicely gussied up. Nice informal service, beautiful bar, business dates back to the 1930s. It was wonderful coming upon this place which had been recommended to me by a business colleague 20 years ago (who grew up in pittsburgh. We will return to this lovely area, with Mellon estate, Laurel Highlands hiking and , farther east on 30, the beautifully set and designed Flight 93 memorial.
    My steak with green beans with pesto and tomatoes, husband’s lambchops with undressed peas, and the spinach salad and our dining room

  5. Last night we ate in Carlisle, at the Bruges Cafe. It was a very tasty meal - we stuck to Belgian staples and enjoyed the steamed mussels, waterzooi (creamy fish and vegetable soup) and carbonnade flamande, beef stew with I think beer in the base. they have an overwhelming assortment of Belgian beers, and Jim enjoyed a very reasonably priced and substantial flight, which I sampled. All were tasty and interesting, but I particularly liked the non-sweet cherry lambic I drank their stella cider, which I recommend, plenty of flavor not too sweet and 4.5% alcohol. A very busy and popular place.
    Cafe Bruges, Carlisle PA

beer flight and waterzooi


How could I have forgotten our late July lunch visit to O’Reilly’s Tap Room and Kitchen based on a frantic online search by Jim when we realized the Millworks in HBG was not open for weekday lunches, In a comfortable dining room/bar in a conference hotel just south of Harrisburg and convenient to Hershey where there was only one other party there when we arrived and no others when we left we were served a delicious en point burger and a lovely cheese steak with a sizeable mound of juicy, tasty smoked brisket. The chef knows his smoker. Our side salads that came with these were several cuts above what one would normally expect, If you are in the area, I would give this place a try. We definitely will revisit