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Aug 1, 2009 07:26 PM

Interesting Eats Near I-80

Will be driving I-80 across Pennsylvania next Friday. Looking for somewhere interesting near I-80 to stop for lunch, preferably in the western half of the state. Open to any and all types of food.

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  1. Okay....weirdest google search for food "inn pennsylvania food taxidermy."

    I recommend the Iron Bridge Inn in Mercer, PA.

    1438 Perry Hwy
    Mercer, PA 16137
    (724) 748-3626

    About 8 miles from Rte. 80, I found it last Memorial Day weekend headed back to NYC after being in Ohio.

    Decent bar type food, admirably good burgers that will get you through your road trip. The homemade potato chips are delicious--this is exactly where you want to eat for real, not fast food.

    Unforgettable part? The taxidermy. The owner collects stuffed game animals, like a huge stuffed polar bear (presumably from back in the days when you could make a trophy out of such things. As I ate, I stared back at a wildcat. The huge moose heads and deer heads--not to mention the charming collection of antique Americana--rounds this place out.

    Good food, unforgettable decor.

    Highly recommended.

    1. I love the Iron Bridge Inn as well. Haven't been up there in a while, but it doesn't seem to change that much. It's not particularly inventive or exciting food, but what they do make is good. Usually there's a long list of "specials" (somewhat of a misnomer because you get repeats on there, mostly stuff they have made before but just don't make every single day) which I think you can get at lunch as well. (We usually go for dinner.) Good house-made desserts. Generally good service (can suffer at the busiest times, which lunch on a Friday would not likely be).

      Now the point where you get off I-80 for Iron Bridge (on US 19 at Mercer) is around 20 miles from the Ohio border, I believe. So it's pretty far west, putting you either early or late depending upon which way you are driving that day. But my recollections of all the other I-80 discussions (you can search this board for I-80 and get several threads I suspect) put basically nothing between there and, say, Clearfield which is 100 miles to the east. Having driven this stretch several times in the last few years, I haven't found much of anything, although to be fair it's just not at the point we usually stop as we've only been driving for an hour or so. In Clearfield you can go to Denny's Beer Barrel Pub for a burger. They're known for making huge burgers that also have a timed eating challenge to go with it, but they also have lots of normal sized burgers on the menu and a good beer selection.

      1. Third on the Iron Bridge Inn. For a while they offered a lunch buffet on week-days. Don't know if they still do. The prime rib is good.

        If the taxidermy bothers you, the same people own Rachel's, which is only a mile or two south of the Iron Bridge on Rt. 19. Maybe it's not so "rustic."