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May 18, 2008 06:53 PM

Lunch between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh on the Turnpike

We're traveling from Philly to St. Louis by car and will probably stop for the night somewhere around Zanesville OH. We need somewhere to stop for lunch, probably between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. We'd love to stop at Herby's like we usually do but we're going to pass it too early. Where else can we eat that doesn't involve Sbarro? We're willing to drive 5-10 miles off the Turnpike. We'll have our 19 month old with us, so we'll need something that isn't especially slow or fancy. We just need something to eat that, frankly, doesn't suck. Anything but Indian works.

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    1. King's does a nice job--I notice they've got one at Somerset, as well.

      1. Hi Lady, I often drive Pittsburgh to Lancaster for business and my usual stops are Herby's and Passage to India in Harrisburg. Guess that doesn't help you time wise, but wanted to mention Passage to India just in case you leave late! I usually end up there for dinner and it's always excellent. I've had their lunch buffet once and it was still very good, but I would give a slight nudge to the dinner menu.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Rick

          Hey Rick- I don't think they want Indian- see OP. What is a Herby's? I go west to the 'burgh from Reading to see family and I am hating the TPKE stops.

          1. re: mkmccp

            Wow totally missed the anything but indian comment, hopefully they edited that in after I posted! Herby's is a little Mexican restaurant about 8 minutes off of exit 246 (I hope that's right, I think it's Harrisburg West). I always order three or four tacos, a tamale, and a sope. I personally think that's the best order off of the menu. It's the best Mexican I've had in PA, odd to find it in the middle of Harrisburg but . . .

        2. I think of it as a wasteland, and because my trips begin and end in the Pittsburgh area and aren't too long, and I've driven the section of Turnpike between here and Breezewood literally 100 times at least, I usually stop for nothing. (Someday we'll do some driving in some of those areas without getting on the Turnpike, but when that is not the goal, stopping is not the thing.) Only a couple times have I traveled the section between Breezewood and Carlisle, and it's now well over 15 years since I've been on the section east of that.

          Anyway, all that said, the Summit Diner (which is in the Chowhound link posted by yayadave above) looks like a good bet. Need to put that on the "stop there sometime" list. So little else comes up on the radar really.

          You won't actually be heading too close to Pittsburgh if you're going to St Louis, though, unless you have a reason to go up there. Somerset is about 2 hours west of Harrisburg, just for some time factors. Zanesville, though, is only another 3 hours west of that assuming you stay on I-70 (exit Turnpike at New Stanton and go through Washington, PA and Wheeling, WV). I can't think of a reason you'd want to stop too early in Zanesville unless it's just too much for the youngster. ;-) Although really I only pass by on I-70 so maybe there's some hidden good stuff there. I did once spend the night there at Hampton Inn with quite possibly the longest list of TV channels I ever saw in a hotel room.... Oh, 19 months is probably too young but just east of Zanesville is an unlikely wildlife preserve that maybe one time you'll want to stop at if you make this trip again. We (adults) had a great time with the tour here.

          No, unless you have reason to be at Zanesville or it's just the limit of time in the car for the day I suggest you travel on to at least Columbus (only another hour or so) where there is some reasonable stuff to sample from a Chow perspective, though the room for the night may cost more depending upon where you choose. Maybe you are asking about Ohio on the Midwest board and have already heard it from others. If lunch can be at Somerset, it seems you'd still arrive in Columbus in the late afternoon. The total driving time between Philly and Columbus is less than 8 hours, although I know stops would extend the total elapsed time by a couple more. A plenty reasonable day to me (we've done more some days) but maybe even this reasonable amount is too much with the toddler, not sure.

          Good luck.