Harrisburg- Cumberland County PA
- LikestoEatout May 11, 2005 12:03 PM
I am considering a job offer in this area and coming from a big foodie town like Chicago, I am worried about the food and what to expect. I will be going there soon for an interview but have never been in this area before. Any good ethnic or vegetarian places to eat?
I was in that area last month and discovered Spring Garden, a Korean Japanese place in Camp Hill, 3499 Market Street.
You would definitely miss the number and variety of ethnic options if you moved from Chicago to Harrisburg...my experience is that, while there are some good options, a food mecca the area is decidedly not, particularly for vegetarians....Of course, you have to keep in mind that you will be moving from a big city to a smaller one (not withstanding the fact that it is the State Capital)..
(Caveat: My husband grew up and we have family there, so I have visited several times, sometimes on extended trips, but it is of course possible that the area has changed in the year or so since my last visit).
If you come to Harrisburg there will be lots of things you like, but the food will not be one of them. ANY big city by its nature will give a great selection of chow. Population of Chicago=2,869,016, Population of Harrisburg=48,950. That should tell the story right there
came to the area for a job too...can't get out of here quick enough! if you are looking for culture or food, this is not the place to be. if you are very christian, like american food and/or chains, don't mind going to the on eor two places that are good frequently and like suburban american sprawl, you will like it.
the real estate market is fantastic, as is the standard of living...which is great since you really won't have many places to spend it anyway...
close proximity to DC and philly, though.
re: Philly girl stuck in Lancaster
Hey Philly Girl,
Why not tell us what you really think? My prisim of looking at Chow around here is different than yours. I have lived here most of my life. The changes in the last several years as to what is available stiil surprizes me on occasion. It is NOT Philadelphia, it is NOT New York, it is NOT Chicago it IS a wonderfull place to live. Taking shots cause it ain't what you are used to in Philly all the time is tiring. I was in Philly the other day and went to the new DiBruno's store. It is wonderfull. But I do not expect them to be opening a branch in Lancaster any time soon. And neither should you.
It is a wonderful place for some people, and I can see that it is for you. I am just happy that I am moving soon. It is a hard place for a non-Christian, young professional coming from lots of education and urban areas...the options are just not there. If I had kids, I think this would be a wonderful place...nice clean areas, cheap housing proces, good schools. But, for this stage in my life, it is not.
You are way too defensive of the area. People have a myriad of opinions. Those, unlike you, who have lived in urban areas, have different perspectives and expect certain things. It is not surprising that we would be disappointed. Even those from the area move out quickly, onto bigger and better things.
But, don't sell the moon to someone from Chicago when all you have is a cardboard cut out.
There is good and bad chow in all places, but the options in a smaller place are lacking.
Let me post a minority opinion: if you like to cook, or are willing to learn to cook, this place is pretty good. It has several good farmer's markets, with real butchers who will cut the meat you want the way you want, with at least one real, honest-to-goodness farm market, where the food you buy was picked that day (Strite's). You aren't going to get fresher food unless you grow it yourself.
And you can! When you sell your ridiculously overpriced house in Chicago, you can get a much bigger house with a yard here. I grow tomatoes, several kinds of chiles, and lots of herbs.
If you don't mind occasional field trips to Philly for Italian, and buying off the Internet for exotic spices you can do well here.
Joe the Goalie
re: Joe the Goalie
Actually, I was thinking of saying something similar: comparing the housing markets, you should be able to get a nice kitchen in Harrisburg area...hubby still raves about the fresh picked corn and fresh butter of his childhood (He recently tasted some Strauss Family Creamery butter, a high end dairy here in Northern California, and immediately said, 'why, I haven't tasted butter that good since I left Camp Hill'. :-))
Several have mentioned the good restaurants in Philly, which there certainly are many...I also have some favorites in and around Pittsburgh...
but I were to move back to PA, I have to admit that the Harrisburg area would not be my first choice....
Thanks for all the replies, the job is actually in Carlisle but I was trying to look at the area in general. None of you are painting too encouraging of a picture! I am very spoiled as I have Trader Joe 6 blocks away, just about every kind of ethnic restaurant availible within a short drive and the local Farmer's markets have just opened for the season. I am an older semi disabled person so gardening by me is not an option.
As a few of us have mentioned, it's a tuff sell if your criteria is Chicago style chow, or even Philly, NY, or Boston chow. Here in PA Dutch country, the chow is different.
We've got fresh produce - corn, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, beans, etc. You can't get any better.
Plenty of fresh meat & dairy products - the best Ice Cream in the world. Lancaster County (not far from Carlisle) has more cows, more chickens, and more hogs, then people.
You can get locally made apple butter, preserves, and candy. And the baked goods are as good as anywhere else, just different selections (don't judge us on shoo fly pie alone).
You'll find plenty of family owned restaurants that serve delicious hearty meals, plenty of old fashioned taverns that serve a decent steak and a cold beer. Sure it's not Chicago style, but you can get darn good Pizza, not to mention tasty subs. Check out the farmers markets and enjoy the fairs during the fall season, the food is fantastic.
Whatever happens, good luck to ya!
re: Ace Mclean
Not an elitist on "Chicago" style foods, just interested in good foods, actually one of my favorite local places is run by 2 brothers from Lancaster PA. My SO, who will be relocating with me (IF I get the job) is vegetarian and that is more the problem, we're not in to steaks, hot dogs or pizza as Chicagoans might be expected.
Actually, I think Central PA/Lancaster County/Susquehanna Valley area is pretty interesting food and culture-wise. The way the area is cut up into valleys by the mountain ranges mean that the towns tend to be pretty distinct - with regional and even very local food brands (potato chips are one example - the main production zone being SW of Harrisburg), lots of Amish and mennonite farms and farm markets, smokeries and local meat products, etc. Yes, the outskirts of towns like Lancaster and Harrisburg can be pretty homogenous but the central part of Lancaster, and the public market, are charming. I wouldnt sell this area short foodwise at all and I bet that somewhere out in some of the suburban strip malls in the less attractive residential areas you will sniff out some central american, mexican or asian chow. Start sniffing, and good luck!
In Lancaster, there are several places that I've been told have decent ethnic food (I don't have a lot to compare to, but I like them). The Taj Mahal for Indian, The Lemon Grass for Thai, and El Serrano for Mexican.
I used to live in the area, there are definately options if you are willing to scout around. Bob's Bagel's in Lemoyne makes a pretty mean bagel. Rakestraw's ice cream has a shop in Mechanichburg, ans is pretty great hand-dip, old fashioned stuff.and the Flamingo grill in Harrisburg is supposed to be a good lunchtime sandwich spot.
Yeah, I think the key to your eating happiness will be exploring the 'out of the way' places that are tucked in all over the area.
I'm originally from H'burg, actually from a place even more remote - about an hour north in Central Pa - and have lived in Boston, Philly and now outside DC - If you get the gig, it'll def. be different. Honestly all the advice, even the arguments being made on this board, are good ones.
If you want an easy strip of all good places, then Harrisburg will disappoint. But I've found that there's astounding food just about anywhere, just in some places you have to look a bit harder. (You'd think DC would be better than Philly, but for me, I really miss the gritty/yummy/BYOB culture of Philly.)
Good luck and keep us posted - my bro lives in H'burg and used to work in many of the kitchens all along the strip of nightlife places all along 2nd Street. I'll try to get his 2 cents.
OH and if you're at all into farmer's markets and cheeses -- the Amish / farmer's markets will not disappoint.