Amish family style dinning?
I have a fond memory of enjoying a big family style dinner at a huge Amish barn somewhere between Philly and Gettysburg. I was just a kid then, but it is one of my most memorable dinning experiences, food just kept comming, fritters and everything, everyone was happy and cheerful, and we sat down along with strangers.
I haven't been out that way since but would like too, and I'm wondering if places like that still exist, and if so, what's not to miss?
I've been to one of these places in Lancaster, sounds exactly as you described. It was called Plain N' Fancy, I think. There's also one called Good N' Plenty there as well. So, yes, they do exist -- still see the signs and whatnot every time I'm out visiting the in-laws. It's been awhile, but I remember the food being good although the price was kind of steep.
We had dinner at Plain & Fancy last year, for free no less because we stayed at the inn there (which was quite nice in fact).
It was rather enjoyable in a piggish way. We actually did NOT ask for seconds and I think they were very puzzled by this. It was only two of us and we're not used to eating mass quantities of food like that. We thought the fried chicken was particularly good.
Funny thing was the other week we were looking at old moving pictures of my family, and in it, we were at Plain & Fancy farm! It was like 1960-something! No wonder it seemed kind of familiar when my husband and I pulled up.
re: Main Line Tracey
We were in Shartlesville just last week (on a Saturday night) and tried to eat at the Hotel but it was closed and looked like it was out of business.
Id be happy to be told otherwise since Haags did not impress as much as in the past (I think they must have lost their baker)
Good and Plenty is a good choice; I also ate at a Stoltzfus Family Restaurant several years ago that was good. Do not go to the Amish Barn (I mention this because you remember a "huge Amish barn"). It may have been good years ago, but my family of four had our second worst eating out experience ever there...simply horrible.
We just came back from there and had dinner one night at Good and Plenty and it was plenty good!! We always try and have one dinner there whenever we visit the area.
The Shartlesville Hotel shut its door after my former husband sold it to Pat Bowman. Jonathan Zweizig and I owned the SH for a number of years. We maintained its tradition and the rivalry with "The Haag" upon purchasing it from the Kauffman family. The Kauffmans owned the Shartlesville Hotel for eons. We went to settlement on the restaurant two days after our wedding. Our first weekend in business was Mother's Day and we served over 800 people. My mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister-in-law all helped out. The locals kept us in business during the winter and the tourists came to the restaurants by the bus load during spring, summer and the fall -- right until 12/24 to see Christmas Village. The Hotel was across the street from Roadside America -- another tourist haven. I was young and naive and in love. It is only now -- 20 years later that I appreciate all that the Shartlesville Hotel meant to people, young and old, and me. Tracy Schou (formerly Zweizig)
I just happened to look at the Plain & Fancy website again because my sister is in the area this weekend and was disappointed to see that it seems they have severely cut back their "feast" dinner menu to only 3 main entree items. We were there only about a year back and had at least double the choices for entrees.
Very disappointing because we really enjoyed our meal there and now I'm hesitating to recommend my sister eat there. Not enough choices for her and her family at all. Does anyone remember how many choices were on the Good & Plenty menu? They don't have it online.
Growing up my family used to vacation every summer in Lancaster and it will always be a very special place to me. Can't say I have many fond old memories of different restaurants, as the resort we stayed at (then Host Farm) included all meals. The food was amazing there at least.
A couple of years ago I went back (it's a much farther trip now that I live in New England), and boy did we make up for restaurant variety. So I had to pop on to suggest a place that was AMAZING and IMHO puts all the other touristy Amish buffets/family dinners to shame. It's called Dienner's on Rt. 30/Lincoln Hwy. It is directly in front of Dutch Haven, the place with the big windmill and the best Shoo Fly Pies.
It's run by Mennonites, the prices are sooooo dirt cheap it is was almost unbelievable, and unlike most of the other places this food wasn't just plentiful, it was absolutely delicious. But as for plentiful the choices were amazing. There were full hot tables just for entrees, one for veggies and salad, fresh soups, breads and several dessert areas. The desserts were especially out of this world. Very telling (and generally the sign of an excellent restaurant) were how many locals there were in such a touristy area. That's how we found it--a local recommended it highly.
By comparison, earlier in the week we had eaten at Good 'n Plenty, and while it was plenty, I found the food to be very limited in choices, relatively mediocre, we were served and treated like cattle and they grossly overcharged for the privledge. The friend I was on vacation with seldom complains and she couldn't wait to leave. I do not mind paying top dollar for fine dining, but felt we were simply paying tourist trap prices. Conversly, Dienner's is all about the food...it's a simple building with simple decor, no pricey gift shop, and the only head coverings etc you will see here are on fellow dinners, not fake costumes. My only complaint about Dienner's is that we didn't find it earlier in the trip, though not sure my waistline could have taken it!
For a couple more quick glutany suggestions (and boy is Lancaster the place to go to find endless food!), the Sunday Brunch we had at the Eden Best Western resort was excellent! I had heard good things about one at the Willow Tree, but we were staying at the Eden this trip, went here out of laziness and it was fabulous. Speaking of the Eden in a local paper we spotted a half off coupon for their prime rib buffet so tried it one night and was surprised at how good that was too (and silly cheap with the coupon too lol). We had a few lower than mediocre meals at the Eden (mostly breakfast and one cheaper dinner) so want to be clear I'm only recommending the brunch and Arthur's.
Anyway wish I saw this earlier when folks were deciding where to go, but thought I'd post my 2 cents now so hopefully it won't be too late for anyone else.
I'm happy (because my mom loved this food so much) to be able to post two places that haven't been mentioned yet. Shady Maple on Rt. 23 southeast of Reading, and Deitsh Eck. The former is like a gigantic PA Dutch Borg buffet, it will take you in and assimilate you, and the latter is like it's in your grandmother's house. Only the food is even better. >:)