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Jul 9, 2007 10:44 AM

Dining in PA Dutch Country

My husband are staying in Lititz (in PA Dutch Country) for a mini vacation this upcoming weekend and we are looking for some recommendations for lunch, dinner, and even some good places for snacks and to stop for a drink.

For dinner, we are trying to keep costs down and would love to find a place with reasonable prices, a great atmosphere (outdoor patio would be perfect), and if possible BYO (since we drink lots of wine and want to keep costs down). So far we have reservations for General Sutter Inn in Lititz and are also booking the Wine and Cheese Train in Strasburg. Any other suggestions?

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  1. Make sure to stop in to Cafe Chocolate on Main Street in Lititz for lunch or a light snack. It's wonderful. (

    1 Reply
    1. re: lee.

      I believe that Cafe Chocolate is also BYO, so this might be a very good option for you.


    2. The General Sutter will not disappoint you. Not sure if you'll find a lot of BYO's, and I don't usually seek them out so perhaps others will make suggestions on that for you.

      For lunch - I suggest the Udder Choice near Ephrata. Great soup and sandwiches and really good ice cream.

      Some nearby popular places that I would NOT recommend include Lincoln House, Lily's on Main, and Piero's.

      Are you staying at a B&B? I've stayed at Speedwell Forge ( recently and loved it.

      Have fun!

      2 Replies
      1. re: GDSinPA

        Thanks for the recs. We are staying at a B&B - at the Alden House right in the center of Lititz. It is in walking distance from the General Sutter, the Chocolate Cafe, Wilbur Chocolates (yum!).

        Do people typically bring wine to the Chocolate Cafe? I had been there once last year and it semed very casual, not like the type of place people typically bring wine. However, if that is standard there, that is a great idea for lunch one day.

        1. re: AmblerGirl

          I'm not sure if people actually bring drinks to Chocolate Cafe or not. I had lunch their when they first opened. We spoke with the owner, and she encouraged us to come back for dinner sometime and to bring some wine along with us.


      2. If you're going to be in Strasburg, you won't be far from the outlet-mecca area of Lancaster, where there's actually a fairly good Asian-fusion BYO called Olive & Jasmine Asian Bistro. It's right on Rt. 30, in the same location as Texas Roadhouse, Applebee's and a few other chain restaurants. The Asian Bistro is NOT a chain; the decor is simple but very nice (white tablecloths), the food and service are quite good, and the prices are very reasonable.

        3 Replies
        1. re: CindyJ

          Yes, the Asian Bistro is very good and BYO.. portions are big and deserts are creative.
          Mazzi in Leola is also very good for brunch or early breakfasts as well as dinner. they do
          have a bar, but you can take your own wine (corkage fee)

          1. re: CindyJ

            This place is wonderful and everyone going to the outlets or somewhere in vicinity of the area should stop by Asian Bistro. The food quality is superb. Yumm.....the Roti Canai, Malaysian Beef Satay, and their Jungle Roll are the most tasty and beautifully presented foods that I have came across. The staff is also very well trained to meet the demands of the customers and serving with quality service. The building itself is as interesting as their food, their design, furniture, and decorations help create a romantic and elegant atmosphere; including their restroom which surpasses any 5 stars hotel bathroom. All the luxurious things that you can in this incredible restaurant located in a small town like Lancaster is fascinating.

            1. re: CShum10

              My husband and I have dinner there at least 2-3 times a month, and we're always impressed with the quality of the food and service. They've even started to add evening specials to the menu, and the fact that it's BYO makes it even more appealing. We're always there during the week, and often find very few other tables occupied, and that always surprises me. Asian Bistro is SO much better than any of the other adjacent restaurants (Applebees, Fudrucker's, Roadhouse, etc.), whose parking lots are often packed. Are people such creatures of habit that they're afraid to try independent restaurants?

          2. Thanks for the great recs. I went online last night and saw there was a seafood restauant called The Cove in Lancaster that looked pretty good. Good fresh seafood menu and an outdoor deck by the looks of the website. Has anyone ever been?

            Also, has anyone done the fixed price menu at Alois at Bube's Brewery? I have heard mixed reviews on these boards about Bube's and was wondering about everyones thoughts on Alois? (not sure I spleed it right)

            3 Replies
            1. re: AmblerGirl

              The Cove is a relatively new restaurant. It opened last year or the year before. Before that it was one of my favorite German restaurants. The location is really nice, but I have not had a chance to try it out since it switched to the new place, nor have I heard any reports yet from anyone who has. I've had the fixed price menu at Alois three times over the past 10 years or so and have always enjoyed it. I'm not sure what it costs now, as it was a year or so ago that I last had it, but I usually think it is a pretty good value. But then again, I also like the bar at Bube's and I know a lot of people here don't.

              Also, in terms of other recommendations, the Fixed Price chefs menu that includes wine at Doneckers in Ephrata looks really good. I keep meaning to get up there and try it, but haven't gotten around to it. You could probably get there in about 20 minutes or so from Lititz.

              I'd be interested to see how you like the wine and cheese train in Strasburg. I've been thinking about giving that a try as well.


              1. re: sballard

                Thanks I actually did the fixed price menu at Doneckers last year and it was absolutely amazing!!!! I would love to go again but, unfortunately, it is a bit out of our budget this year (though I agree it is a great deal for what it is). Plus, my husband and I are suckers for all of the "additions" so our bill really seemed to add up quickly!

                1. re: AmblerGirl

                  I think you'd enjoy the fixed price at Aloises. The quality won't be quite as good as what you had at Doneckers, but I think for the price it is a darn good and enjoyable meal. Aloises is actually an old mansion with the rooms converted to dining rooms. The atmosphere is really interesting.


            2. Thanks for all of the great suggestions. We had a great time and were able to successfully avoid all of the family style smorgasboards (they were every where)!.

              We had some great sandwiches and beer at Bubes Brewery (Mt Joy) and the Iron Horse Inn (Strasburg). I would recommend both of those places. Also had a great pizza at Souudt's (Adamstown). Of course, beer too!

              We had a wonderful dinner at Cafe Chocolate. Food was great - all organic. Menu was small but everything we had was good. We brought some wine, sat outback, it was a great relaxed atomosphere. Great service.

              We had dinner at the Cove in Lancaster one night, great location right on the water. Great food, great service.

              My only disappointment was at General Sutter Inn in Lititz, which is where I was most looking forward to. I ordered seared med rare tuna and I got back a chunk of overcooked mush. Service was nice, if inexperienced (server did not know how to open wine and spilled it). Outdoor patio was great though.

              Looking forward to our next trip!

              6 Replies
              1. re: AmblerGirl

                Thanks for the update, sounds like you had a nice time. I'll have to give Cove a try, and head back over to Cafe Chocolate for dinner one of these evenings while its still warm outside.


                1. re: AmblerGirl

                  What about the wine and cheese train?

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    Yes, I forgot the wine and cheese train. It was great. It was $27, and you take a one hour ride through the very scenic country side. It is in the first class parlour car, the atmosphere is very nice. They served a huge passed tray of all kinds of fun cheese - horshradish cheddar, smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, swiss, etc. All high quality, not the Acme slices of american with saltine crackers ;) They also passed a huge fruit tray. They offered four wine selections - a sweet red and sweet white (from a local winery, Twin Brook) and two dry selections , red and white.

                    I definitely recommend it. My only advice is you need to purchase tickets well in advance because it sells out quickly.

                    1. re: AmblerGirl

                      I've heard tell that the Akron Restaurant has reopened of late, though under new greek ownership. Anyone been recently?


                      1. re: Pool Boy

                        Tried it last week.

                        They claim to also be the "French Toast Factory" and that's one of my favorite foods. Turned out to be a HUUUUUUUGE disappointment.

                        Went there with an associate who also loves FT. The menu is actually quite impressive with something like 20 different types listed. Some where merely standard FT, with various toppings like strawberry, blueberry, apples, or whatever. But a few use special batter or a specific type of bread. So we were pretty excited at first, and had difficulty choosing.

                        Soon after we ordered, the waitress brought over a huge pitcher of syrup. This got us worried that this was not maple syrup, which we both love, and kindof expected to have available at a place focussed on such a breakfast. She did not know what it was, but went to the back to find out, and it turns out they don't have any. I went back later to their web site and it turns out they have a menu choice that actually includes maple syrup in the description. Go figure. I think that might be a good topic for another board.

                        I ended up ordering the "Grape Vine Toast" which is described as FT using thick cut cinnamon raisin bread. It was decent enough bread, but was actually quite a bit thinner than your average sliced bread. It was cooked unevenly, so there were some dry spots and some gooey spots. The batter added nothing in terms of flavor at all whatsoever.

                        My companion ordered the Island Lovers, which was supposed to be Hawaiian bread with a pineapple topping. This was a major disapointment. All he got were 3 slices of toasted bread with a half slice of canned pineapple on top of each. They clearly did not dip the bread into any kind of egg batter. It was totally baffling.

                        The FT dishes are not served with sausage bacon or anything like that, so we feel totally jipped spending 7 bucks each for what amounted to 3 slices of bread.

                        Some of the regular food being brought out looked OK, but I'm not sure if I'll bother going back, even though it's very close to where I work. I'd love to hear if anyone else has tried this place yet.

                        1. re: GDSinPA

                          We are in Lancaster for a weekend and this morning we tried the Akron Restaurant. I totally concur with your review.

                          The french toast was not eggy in the least. I got the "Akron Signature" FT and for my $6.95 I got three thin slices of bread with canned pears on top with a little cinnamon.

                          The menu looks great but for a place that claims to be a french toast factory, it's a major letdown. The kitchen is slow too.

                          Also, we tried some of the baked goods: Whoopie pies and apple dumplings. Don't waste your money or the calories.