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Nov 5, 2008 02:43 PM

Lancaster: last minute suggestions

Decided to head up to Lancaster tomorrow for an overnight stay. Would love a good dinner and a few lunch suggestions. We were looking at the Iron Horse Inn, which looks nice at least from the outside. Any thoughts? We will have 2 kids with us, 5 and 7. Children are well behaved, but we want a nice meal where we can all be happy. Nothing formal, but a good meal and no buffet type places. Not looking for a chain type restaurant. Something fairly easy to find (especially at night). I thought there was a new brewpub downtown, can anyone comment on that? Thanks.

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  1. The newest brewpub is the Iron Hill Brewery on Harrisburg Pike across from Franklin & Marshall. Good beer decent food (burgers, grilled chicken, etc.) good for kids. The other brewpub is Lancaster Malt Brewing Co. (on E. Chestnut maybe?). Haven't been there for a while. Gibralter has excellent Mediterranean food and is one of the best restaurants in Lancaster - they are in the College Center within walking distance of Iron Hill on Harrisburg Pike. Doc Hollidays steakhouse is in the College Center as well. Other good choices - The Belvedere on Queen St., The Pressoom just off the square on King St. and Haydn Zugs on Rt. 72 in East Petersburg just outside of the city. Isaacs Deli (local chain) is great for lunch with kids. Many locations (

    1. If you are looking at the Iron Horse, then I am guessing you will be outside of Lancaster city proper, and out by the tourist areas. You're going to have a hard time finding good food out there. may be an exception on the Rt. 30 stretch, but I can only base that on what I've heard from others. is another Asian that has always been good, is also on 30, but I haven't been in a while. is always excellent, and while not in the main tourist area, is in the Eastern part of the county.

      If you do plan on making a trek into the city, I agree with all of the recommendations listed previously, except perhaps Lancaster Malt Brewing - can't think of any specific reason, but it never occurred to me to take my kids there. My kids are also 5 and 7 and enjoy the other places listed, especially Isaacs for lunch.

      1. We were in Lancaster recently and ate dinner at the Lancaster Brewing Company. It is in the city proper but several blocks off the beaten path. The food was solid pub food, nothing special, but their beer is mighty tasty. It would be fine for kids -- they have a large dining area and it's very casual.

        Another casual, unique spot is the Lancaster Dispensing Company. It's located by the central market. I have not eaten there but they have an excellent selection of beers on tap. It's sort of an old pub atmosphere. I think it would be fine for well-behaved kids.

        1. If the Iron Horse is the place I'm thinking of on Rt. 741 in Strasburg, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. I've only been there once, and it was totally forgettable. Mediocrity at its best.

          My favorite spot in the Lancaster area is Gibraltar, on the F&M campus; I'm just not sure how happy the kids will be there. As for other non-chain, easy-to-find, family-friendly places, I'd recommend Olive & Jasmine Asian Bistro in the heart of outlet country in back of Applebees.

          3 Replies
          1. re: CindyJ

            Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Gibraltar had a great menu, but there was nothing we thought the kids would eat.
            It was raining, the kids were getting nuclear, so we ended up at Carrabba's. I know, I know, but my 5 year old niece eats only mashed potatoes, pasta with butter, mac and cheese,bread and butter, pizza and ice cream. Seriously, that's it; I am not exaggerating. It's torturous going out with her. We wanted to try El Serrano, but there was nothing there she would eat either. So to Carrabba's as it was near out hotel and she could get pizza. (she did find a piece of basil in the pizza, which is akin to one of us finding a toenail or a finger in our food...major scene).
            Anyway, on a good note, we stopped at The Whip on the way into Lancaster. It was great as usual, and they serve mac and cheese and bread and butter, so the torturous one was happy. We had Welsh Rarebit, fish and chips, and beer. What a great stop and only a few miles off of 41, which is how we came into Lancaster (from NJ). One good meal isn't bad, I suppose.
            We stopped at Sonic in Lancaster today as the kids were dying to try it. Not getting what all the hype is about. I am completely unimpressed with everything we had there. Next time we go up and it's not raining, we will give the Iron Hill a try.
            Thanks again all.

            1. re: mschow

              Sounds like your neice should move to Lancaster. The things you listed are pretty much the staple diet here. If you had to pick a chain, Carrabba's is probably your best bet around here. Sonic sucks, big time.

              1. re: mschow

                That's actually really unfortunate, and just so you know, Iron Hill has a really great kid's menu. I think they may actually have everything you listed that is in her "diet".