Dining Dutch in Pennsylvania was something we won’t soon forget. My hubby and I have experienced some really cute Ma and Pop type restaurants. Many boasting outstanding food, quaint atmosphere and great service. We have many great stories to reminisce on, ones which herald from local gems like these.
I’m sorry to tell you, however, this is not one of those stories. While it does have a happy ending you gotta cut through the grease to get there, quite literally.
Let’s start at the very beginning
Our tale begins when we were touring with a Cirque show. We sought to dine Dutch in Pennsylvania while driving through Amish Country. Our ride, the 20 foot Penske truck housing the set, props and costumes for the show.
Driving this beast is something I don’t dare; I’m a perfectly happy co-pilot, helping navigate and look ahead for things we might want or need to stop for.
I make sure we have music playing, a pod cast or sermon. More often I take advantage of my hubby as a captive audience. I really do have the gift of the gab, and talking with him is my favorite.
We were in Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish country, it was a beautiful sunny morning. We got an early start despite a show the previous night followed by a load out.
I Love History and my Dutch heritage
We wanted to enjoy the drive and be able to stop for some fun meals. I love Pennsylvania. I’m tickled when we happen upon an Amish buggy amidst the many signs warning to be cautious of them. I love History and am fascinated how they live so simply in the modern era.
Since I was a little girl, I have always loved “Little House on the Prairie”, and have day dreamed about living in their time.
Indoor plumbing is something I’ve grown to appreciate and I hate being dirty so I’m guessing my enjoyment of existing their way would be short lived.
Being I am half Dutch, from my Dad’s side and have a very large Dutch family. We have good knowledge of our heritage, so I was excited to be in “Dutch” country.
The Dutch are known for tasty cuisine. I was sure we would find a great little place to dine dutch in PA.
I visualized a cozy, clean and well decorated Dutch feeling cafe. One I would feel at home in. Like the beautifully decorated Dutch homes of many of my Great Aunties and Uncles. I expected to see wooden shoes placed just so in the corner like in my Grandparents house.
We began to search out the perfect place to eat out and experience Dutch Country
We were looking for some breakfast on route to the next city, hoping to find somewhere fun. I began searching ahead of us for our perfect breakfast spot.
I really like using yelp to search in the US for restaurants, especially on the road. It’s an easy way to look up specifics and reviews all in the same place.
While some people are just too picky or plain mean in their reviews. You can generally sift through and compare them with the photos, menu read and make an educated decision.
We found one!
I came across a place described as:
“A Dutch Vintage Mom and Pop American eatery offering homestyle dishes in old school digs”.
It sounded like the ideal place to dine Dutch in Pennsylvania!
There were no pictures of the inside but the outside looked cute. The menu descriptions were great! Some very fun “Dutch” sounding items such as Scrapple (a Dutch Hash of sorts) and strawberry Hotcakes.
It had been there since 1971 the reviews were decent, although there weren’t many. One of the reviews said it was like a Cracker Barrel, which I LOVE!
Don’t believe everything you read
We walked in and were not really feeling the atmosphere. Oh, It was old school alright, just not in a sweet nostalgic sort of way. It had more of a “we haven’t vacuumed the carpets or replaced the nasty seat cushions since we opened in 1971″, sort of feel.
The good menu read boasting delicious Dutch food right in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country gave us hope. Even with the old folks home/dive bar smell and feel.
The server was pleasant, with a Pollyanna sort of positivity, we ordered a few things to try and share.
The food was not fantastic
The food came. The Scrapple tasted like what I imagine how greasy dog food would taste (it sure smelled like dog food). The strawberry hotcakes looked and tasted lifeless, with a canned strawberry pie filling dumped on top. We ate a few bites trying to be polite. Thinking maybe we would get to a better part of the meal. At the very least if we consumed enough to hold us off, we could find something more palatable to eat.
Nope, we couldn’t stomach it and asked for our check.
This wasn’t anything like Cracker Barrel
Have you have ever been to Cracker Barrel? In addition to their great atmosphere and tasty food, their adorable gift shop is a favorite of mine.
I can’t visit a Cracker Barrel without spending ample time strolling through. I like smelling the candles, seeing and buying their cute seasonal decor, which all makes you feel right at home.
Well, this place had a gift shop. I’m guessing it’s why someone likened it to Cracker Barrel. I’m not sure how you could. It consisted of a few very bare shelves, with some oddly curated items sitting on them.
Finally the diamond in the rough
We scanned the shelves as we approached the counter to pay our bill. Then we spotted a large vintage wooden pulley. We had been pricing these things for our industrial/vintage decorated living room. Let me tell you, they are not cheap, usually upwards of $75.
My hubby asks, “How much for the pulley?”, the lady behind the counter looks at it and says, “ummm $6.00?” we can’t believe it and ask again, she confirms $6.00! So we have her add it to our tab and pay; our bill with the pulley was less than we would have payed anywhere else for it!
The take away
While dining Dutch in Pennsylvania we had to Cut through some nasty grease, and questionable smells during our experience. We wondered if the small amount of what we consumed would give us food poisoning. Luckily it didn’t.
Despite it all, we got a sought after decor piece and a story to go along with it. The best kind of souvenir!
The truth about adventures
The pulley hangs in our living room with a large rope holding a vintage Edison bulb fixture. We get many compliments on it which is usually followed by, “where did you find this?”. My hubby and I look at each other and chuckle.
It’s not only a souvenir, but also a reminder of our adventures past. A sort of beckoning to continue the adventures in the future.
It reminds us to laugh even when you might be getting hangry. How certain things in life aren’t worth complaining about or cause for a ruined day.
You don’t have to write a nasty review. Even if your spouse picked a restaurant that turned out to be less than, “edible”.
If you can’t find a Cracker Barrel, just try to look for the diamond in the rough…..like in our case, the pulley in the gift shop.