Who knows Northwest Pa?
If you want to drive north to Erie, there's:
El Canelo - In Millcreek, Decent Mexican food that's pretty inexpensive
Pufferbelly - Downtown Erie, GREAT Sunday brunch
Paper Moon - Downtown Erie, on the expensive side, but great food & atmosphere.
Erie has some pretty good restaurants, but you have to be willing to look. Good luck!
Bella Cucina (http://www.bellacucinapa.com/) in downtown Franklin was great when I went last year, but the website says they're under new management, so things may have changed a bit. Primo Barone, also in Franklin, has ok food (and lots of it), but the highlight is watching the planes take off and land (it's in the airport).
If you feel like driving all the way down to Mercer, the Springfield Restaurant Group (http://www.springfields.com/) has three good places on Rt. 19 just south of Mercer.
A colleague of mine also recommends a place right in Meadville called Julian's, but I haven't been there yet.
Iron Bridge is about 2 minutes from my home. If you want to eat there on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, plan on a 1 to 3 hour wait for a table even as early as 4 pm. The food is good, but the only time I eat there is if I am driving by and for some reason there is not a line out the door and in the parking lot.
In Oil City, you might try Yellow Dog Lantern for dinner. We enjoyed it very much a couple of years ago. For Erie, in addition to Pufferbelly, there is Molly Branigan's (an Irish pub) and Waterfront Place. If you travel to North East for the wine country, the Freeport is very good (especially for breakfast - closed Mondays). If you take I-80 on the way home from Meadville, the Wolf's Den in Knox is our favorite for lunch. Take a table next to the fireplace in the bar. And, I definitely second the recommendation for the Springfield Restaurant Group's three restaurants in Mercer.
I realize this might be a little late, but it almost sounds like you expect Meadville to be devoid of anything other than McDonalds, Wendy's, etc. ("Anything edible within an hour radius?").
The Meadville area has many great places to eat other than the common chains that overrun the outskirts of a city or town.
Along with the suggestions made in other posts, there is Chovy's just as you get off of I-79. Downtown there is Peppercorn and Vine on Market St. Valenti's on Chestnut St two blocks down from Julian's. On the East Side of Conneaut Lake (10 min. away) there is the Stable Pit and Pub.
I live in Meadville, and out of all of the choices from the other posts and mine, I have to say that the Stable Pit and Pub is the best of them all with the Pufferbelly in Erie second.
There are more places, but half the fun is finding them on your own. Please remember that just because we may not be a major metropolitan center, don't think that all we eat is wild game and dried cornfrom the root cellar.