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Jul 6, 2007 08:51 AM

CT Hound seeks I-80 road food on drive through PA

Hi PA dogs,

I'm heading out this Sunday to Cleveland, driving alone, looking for some lunch choices within ten minutes of I-80.

No cuisine preferences and I'm not on a time limit, but want something casual and want to hear about some local favorites.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Unfortunately there's not much to report...

    In Cleveland, however, I highly recommend Great Lakes Brewing Company.

    There's also a couple of local chains, Mavis Winkles (Irish) and The Winking Lizard, that are worth eating at as well.

    1. I do the trip once or twice a year, going from Cleveland to visit my family back in CT. There's not a whole lot along I-80 outside of fast food and Dutch Pantry, TravelAmerica and Buckhorns truck-stop type places.

      It's more like 15-20 minutes off I-80, but Baby's in State College, PA is a nice stop. It's a retro-looking 50s-style diner with good food right off the Penn State campus.

      There's a Wegmans grocery store off I-81 in Wilkes-Barre that is a nice stop for the restroom, lunch and shopping. I miss Wegmans.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Chicklet

        I agree with you that Wegmans is great, but I wouldn't say that it's a viable stop from Route 80. Going there will cost at least 30 minutes of driving time.

        1. re: mitchh

          Depends upon the route from CT. If you're starting on I-84, then you'll go right by where the Wegmans is. Honestly, though, I don't think it's any better than anything else right there. We stopped there once, it was okay, but we couldn't figure out what was so particularly great about it. If the routing is strictly I-80 all the way, then it's definitely too far.

          At the other end of PA, near the Ohio border, I recommend checking out the Iron Bridge Inn. It's on US 19, a few miles south of I-80 exit 15. It's casual, a local place, you may have to wait if it's a weekend at dinner time. This may be too far for lunch on Sunday unless you leave really early. At that time on Sunday it would be brunch and I'm sure it's busy. Can't attest to what brunch there is like, though; I always go after brunch is over, which might work for you too if you can wait that long. ;-)

          1. re: CrazyOne

            Sunday brunch is a $14.95 bargain. Off the menu, the burgers are good and, on the other hand, the prime rib is always great.

            1. re: yayadave

              We just can't get away from the dinner special list, although I'm sure one day our ride to that area will coincide with brunch. I don't think I've ever ordered anything on the standard menu. And save room for dessert!

              The sister restaurants Rachel's, Springfield Grille (though it was always the one in Mars, not the one on 19 near Iron Bridge) and Log Cabin Inn (not relevant to I-80) have never quite measured up when we tried them, and we've been to each of those others at least twice. They were okay, sure, but something about Iron Bridge makes us really wish it was closer whereas anymore we don't bother with Log Cabin or Springfield even though they are quite a bit closer to home. Seems to come back to the specials, often much more varied at Iron Bridge vs the others. (Although really, some of those "specials" are on there so often that they might as well be on the regular menu.)

              1. re: CrazyOne

                Agree. Our experiences with Springfield Grills in Boardman and Seven Fields have found them to be adequate. My one experience with the Log Cabin was a disaster. I ordered black bean soup. It tasted like they opened a can of black beans, dumped it in a pot, and thinned it with dish water. I sent it back after two spoonfuls. I think the only thing I had that was edible was the salad.

      2. It depends where you will be at lunch time. In the Poconos, in Blakeslee, there is Murphy's Loft on Rt. 115 about a mile south of I-80. The food is quite good and customers can use the pool, too. In Emlenton, there is there is a truck stop that is the only decent one along I-80 (other hounds have agreed on another board). In Knox, there is the Wolf's Den. Sit at the bar and enjoy a good sandwich and great atmosphere to boot. At the western end of Pennsylvania, there is the Middlesex Diner at the Sharon exit -- Rt. 18 at Rt. 60 in West Middlesex. Good food at good prices. Also, I can second the recommendation for Iron Bridge Inn and its sister restaurant Rachel's (I think) just down the road both a mile or so south on Rt. 19 at the Mercer exit.

        1. I'd go with the State College stop - don't know anything about Baby's, but it's probably the only area on I-80 West of the Poconos where you'll have a reasonable chance at something delicious - typical college town, lots of ethnic places, lots of cheap places, a smattering of "better" restaurants. Plus it's a nice town for a stroll, even if you're not a Nittany Lions fan (and I'm not).

          Unless there's something new in the past 18 mos, there's nothing but the usual chains in Williamsport on the US15 loop, so don't get your hopes up for that metropolis.