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Jun 30, 2009 04:36 AM

Looking for good eats on or off the PA Tpke

Hi all!

My family and I will be driving to Cleveland from NJ and we're looking for recommendations on restaurants along the PA Tpke or just off of it. We don't want to go too far from the PA Tpke though.

Thank you very much!

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  1. Herby's Mexican is maybe 8 min. form the Turnpike Harrisburg exit. Stick to the tacos, they've always been my favorite.

    1. Summit Diner in Somerset is good, solid food. Nice people, too. It's just off the exit. Nice place to stop and get lunch.

      1. Stoudt's Brewery is a favorite stop of mine... The caveat is that I think the restuarant is over-priced for dinner, but that it is great for lunch. More so, I prefer sitting in the lounge and eating apps and items from the raw bar. And of course great beers.
        It is located off of Reading/Lancaster/222 Exit.

        I would also add that the Philly Steak & Gyro franchise at a number of turnpike rest stops actually has a pretty decent gyro... relatively speaking.

        3 Replies
        1. re: xtian

          Just my two cents, but whenever I drive to Cleveland from the Philly area I opt to go up the NE Extension and go across I-80. There are no tolls on I-80 (at least for now), it's a more "picturesque" drive and timewise it's about the same.

          While in Cleveland I highly recommend eating at Great Lakes Brewing Company.

          1. re: mitchh

            Yep, and I-80 is 65mph the whole way while the turnpike goes between 55 and 65. However, if you hit construction on 80 it is pretty awful.

            I never loved the food at Great Lakes (haven't been there in years), but the beer is fantastic. One of the best micros I've had, anywhere. I remember a place called the Flying Fig right by the brewpub that was great.

            1. re: mitchh

              If you take the NE Extension (I-476), you can exit at I-78 (or rt 222). You'll be on the west side of Allentown. I can't give a specific recommendation (it's been too long since I've been there), but you'll find plenty of places within a couple miles.

          2. Thank you all for your suggestions. I will definitely keep the I-80 route in mind.

            1. Hm, I-80 may be more picturesque but it's also more remote. All things being equal, I think I'd rather travel on the Turnpike. I drive the section of I-80 between I-79 and I-81 regularly, and it's just so tiring compared to a similar length section of the Turnpike. Also, assuming you're coming from near Philly in NJ, the Turnpike will be slightly more direct as the angle it takes is more gradual than taking the NE Extension and I-80.

              That said, things are not equal. Dunno what the toll is to drive all the way across these days, but it's something outrageous. 30 bucks maybe? And if a round trip, it's double that. So that kind of toll might be worth detouring around anyway.

              Good food choices from I-80 I think are generally farther from the road than the couple you might hit from the Turnpike like Summit Diner (Somerset) or Green Harvest (Bedford) which are actually pretty close. But there are some. Couple of threads on that if you search for I-80.

              2 Replies
              1. re: CrazyOne

                I-80 IS MUCH EASIER TO DRIVE THAN THE TURNPIKE. The downside is the lack of decent food stops. Nothing but truck stop grub on I-80. Pack a picnic basket. There are plenty of pleasant rest areas along the route.

                1. re: JohnnyT

                  Says you. I find the Turnpike easier to drive, probably because I've driven between Pittsburgh and Breezewood at least 100 times. That kind of familiarity makes it easier, even though now with probably half a dozen crossings I am beginning to remember I-80 as well. The Turnpike somehow seems less agonizing, even with the much heavier traffic, etc. I'm sure it's just me; I know plenty of people go out of their way to avoid it.

                  Anyway, to go back to food, there apparently are some places you can get to off I-80, but they're not always in the most convenient spots, and I haven't tried any of them yet as usually we just wait until we're off I-80 to stop as that works out well. I think a couple places in Bellefonte have been recommended. There's a place in I think Lewisburg (which is far off the highway) that came up once. And there's always Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield if you're in the mood to attempt to eat some ginormous hamburger within some time limit and win eternal fame. ;-)