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Dining Suggestions for Pennsylvania, namely Grove City,Cranberry and Pittsburgh area DDD

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Hello, I am travelling from Ontario, Canada to do some well needed shopping with some girls in early December......to avoid another Cheesecake factory outing (blech) I offered to do some research to find out what is great along the way. I am not familiar with the area at all (it's our first time!) but we will be driving and if it's great, I am sure I can talk the ladies into travelling for some good grub.

Nothing too expensive, would love some diners, drive ins and dives. Where MUST we go????

PS If there is awesome dim sum, please let me know! We are avid fans!

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  1. Haven't been there myself but Crystal on Penn actually was featured on DDD. http://crystalonpenn.com/

    1. I really like the Iron Bridge Inn near Grove City. Take route 208 west (the road that the outlets are on) to route 19 north. I think it's about a twenty minute drive from the outlets.

      http://www.springfields.com/ibi_files...
      http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

      -----
      Iron Bridge Inn
      1438 Perry Hwy, Mercer, PA 16137

      1. Can't speak to Grove City, there is nothing in Cranberry of note, but there are 4 DDD places in Pgh: http://www.foodnetwork.com/search/del...

        My personal vote is Big Jim's. Not easy to find, but one meal or sandwich there will last you all the way back to Canada.

        1. There is also Rachel's Roadhouse in Mercer PA around the Grove City area.

          http://www.springfields.com/rr_files/...

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          Rachel's Roadhouse
          1553 Perry Hwy, Mercer, PA 16137

          1. Yellow Creek Inn
            1171 Franklin Rd, Jackson Center, PA 16133-2007
            (724) 662-2339 ‎
            2 reviews‎
            DirectionsSearch nearbymore▼

            This place is only about a mile off of I 79 just north of I 80. I hope that makes some sense. It's what I think of as local bar and restaurant. Just a friendly and not too expensive stop. And good food.

            Iron Bridge and Rachel's are on a different level. They are owned by the same people. You can get great burgers and sandwiches there; on the other hand, I've never gotten a bad prime rib at the Iron Bridge, either.

            -----
            Yellow Creek Inn
            1171 Franklin Rd, Jackson Center, PA 16133

            1. I went to the Grove City Outlet Mall for the first time this month. When we were done shopping, we had lunch at a place called Elephant & Castle, right on the Outlet campus, and thought the food was very good, and not that expensive. I had a turkey sandwich with cranberry mayo, and a Caesar salad. It was wonderful without being fabulous.

              I wasn't paying, so I don't remember exactly how much we paid, but I think it was ~$15 per person.

              They also have a hotel/motel, in case one day of shopping isn't enough. (There _is_ a Le Creuset store there.)

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              Elephant and Castle Pub & Restaurant
              1923 Leesburg Grove City Rd, Grove City, PA 16127

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jay F

                Ugh Elephant and Castle. Horrible food and service. You're better off going somewhere else (my opinion of course)...

                1. re: burghgal

                  Nothing about it was "horrible." But since you obviously spend more time in Grove City than I do (once in eleven years living here; not going back), I'm happy to defer to your superior knowledge.

              2. We go to this area fairly often as my son's in-laws live midway between the outlets and the Iron Bridge Inn. Rachel's is our first choice but we rarely eat there because the wait is always close to an hour. Iron Bridge Inn is our second choice and for some reason the wait is shorter there. As mentioned, they have common ownership. In defense of Elephant & Castle, it is a Canadian chain and the food was pretty good the time we ate there and we would return. Another time, we ate at My Brother's Place not far from the mall. Decent for sandwiches but not what I would call a CH-type recommendation. Thank you yayadave for mentioning Yellow Creek Inn. This gives us another place to try next trip to the area.

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                Yellow Creek Inn
                1171 Franklin Rd, Jackson Center, PA 16133

                Iron Bridge Inn
                1438 Perry Hwy, Mercer, PA 16137

                2 Replies
                1. re: jfr

                  Weird, Elephant and Castle is a Canadian chain? I am canadian, never heard of it.....

                  1. re: ilovefoodlongtime

                    I stand partially corrected. E&C started as a Canadian chain but is now American owned. Just over half its locations are in the States now. Also, to get to New Wilmington, I think you would go through Volant. There should be a bakery there with shoefly pie. Think it would make a good side trip -- lunch at Iron Bridge or Rachel's and shoefly pie not far away. This is all in the same direction from the outlets in Grove City.

                2. Also does anyone know if there are amish/mennonites around? I am very curious about Shoefly Pie......

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ilovefoodlongtime

                    To answer your last question, the area west of Grove City is a large Amish area. If you take route 208 west, you can head into New Wilmington where you can probably find a bakery. It will be about a 10-20 minute drive.

                    The Iron Bridge is a great place to eat, but beware that there are extremely long waiting times on the weekends (can be 1 - 2 hours prime time). I can't comment on the wait at Rachel's. Near the outlet malls, there is a nice little Mexican restaurant just on the other side of I-79 called Compadres--pretty good stuff. Another place of interest in Slippery Rock (~15 minute drive) is the North Country Brewing company. Nice brew pub, decent food, nice atmosphere, but also can be quite busy on weekends as it appears to be the hot eating spot in this college town. Ironically, I discovered this place after my wife and I walked out of the aforementioned Elephant & Castle!

                    1. re: MrKotter

                      +1 on the Amish in New Wilmington. I graduated from Westminster College which is in New Wilmington and you will encounter Amish everywhere. In Volant I think there is (or was, 20 yrs ago) a little are with local crafts and there was a bakery there, which had Shoefly pie. good luck and have fun.

                  2. Thanks everyone!!!! Keep em coming! If you all ever need suggestions in my neck of the woods, just message me!

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: ilovefoodlongtime

                      As a resident of Grove City, most of us avoid the Rachels/Iron Bridge/Elephant and Castle places. The locals all go to Compadres which is probably the best place in town, and also another little gem is North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock which is just a tiny bit south of Grove City. There is a road right down from Compadres which you turn right and it takes you right to Slippery Rock and the restaurant is easy to find.

                      http://www.northcountrybrewing.com/

                      http://www.compadres-restaurant.com/

                      1. re: Euryale

                        Thank you! So helpful!

                        1. re: ilovefoodlongtime

                          I am sorry to say, but we had a terrible meal at Compadres. We wound up going there because the wait at Iron Bridge was going to be an hour and a half. It was probably one of the worst Mexican meals I have had. The appetizer sampler platter was the standard fare of fried stuff (cheese and jalapeno), but the guacamole was flavourless. I had this chicken burrito, fish taco and tomatillo dish, and honestly, only the chicken burrito was passable. I had dinner with 4 other people, and none of them were impressed with the meal.

                          However, on the previous night, we wound up at a restaurant just up the road from the Iron Bridge, called "Springfield Grille" and had a really nice meal there. Almost every dish that was ordered was to everyone's liking - the menu was fairly diverse. The seafood pappardelle was excellent, one of the best I have had anywhere. I had a steak dinner that came with a very interesting soup (it was a spicy tomato-based okra soup with turtle meat). Now, that is not something you would expect. I would recommend this restaurant for a nice sit down meal. Prices were also quite reasonable.

                          1. re: liverwurst

                            What about going a little bit west into Hermitage? Is Combine Bros still around? They had great fried smelts and liguine with red clam sauce. Again, this is my tongue remembering from 20 yrs ago...

                            -----
                            Combine Bros
                            # 518, Hermitage, PA 16148

                            1. re: liverwurst

                              Just for general interest, Iron Bridge, Rachel's, and that Springfield Grill in that area are all owned by the same people. They have a few other places with varied names and other Springfield Grills.

                              http://www.springfields.com/

                              1. re: yayadave

                                Yes, I did forget to mention that Iron Bridge, Rachel's Roadhouse and Springfield Grill were owned by the same folks. We were in Grove City from Canada on a shopping trip, so I will have to look into Combine Bros the next time I am down there. We'd tried Rachel's Roadhouse a few years ago and it was an enjoyable meal (lively atmosphere). One thing I should mention is that if you are driving from the outlet mall to this strip of restaurants, the roads get quite dark at this time of the year. We almost ran over a deer in the area one night.

                                -----
                                Combine Bros
                                # 518, Hermitage, PA 16148

                                Rachel's Roadhouse
                                1553 Perry Hwy, Mercer, PA 16137

                                1. re: liverwurst

                                  Not all Smithfield Group restaurants are equal. They added an existing place called Log Cabin Inn to their wagon train a few years ago. We stopped there and I ordered Cuban Black Bean Soup. They brought a really big bowl that tasted like they poured a can of black beans into a bowl, added some dish water, and didn't heat it. Maybe the Springfield Group has worked their magic on the place since then.

                                  We had a great meal a couple of weeks ago at
                                  Lake House Restaurant
                                  3100 North Service Road
                                  Vineland, Ontario
                                  if you're familiar with it.

                                  1. re: yayadave

                                    Thank you for the Log Cabin story. As much as we enjoy Rachel's, Iron Bridge, and Springfield Grille when we are in the Mercer area, I always remember stopping at their Hickory Grille in Hermitage one St. Patrick's Day. I ordered the corned beef and cabbage. It turned out to be a plate of cabbage with bits of corned beef. Thinking of jarred spaghetti sauce, I suggested, to be accurate, they should call it cabbage flavored with corned beef. According to our waitress, I was not the only one to complain. The waitress apparently was going to steer others away from it. That said, my wife did enjoy her meal off the regular menu.

                                    -----
                                    Springfield Grille
                                    1226 Perry Hwy, Mercer, PA 16137

                                    Hickory Grille
                                    1645 N Hermitage Rd, Hermitage, PA 16148

                                    Log Cabin
                                    31 N 2nd St, Coplay, PA 18037

                                    1. re: yayadave

                                      Log Cabin has been theirs for some years, long as I can remember although I don't know how far back that really is ;-) At least a decade anyway. Still, I don't necessarily disagree with not enjoying it as much as the others. Iron Bridge is still my favorite. Haven't been to any of them in many months though. The Springfield in Mars is not that far, but it's not quite as compelling, some of the same things like crab cakes cost more there and the specials aren't usually as interesting. I like Iron Bridge's revolving list of specials.

                                      1. re: yayadave

                                        No, I've not been to the Lake House. Took a glimpse at the menu, and it looks pleasing. I'll remember that if I'm ever in the Niagara area - thank you. The Niagara wine region has some excellent upscale restaurants.

                                        1. re: liverwurst

                                          This restaurant has a sister restaurant in Burlington (where I live) called Stone House. Don't go for lunch.....only dinner. Dinner is fantastic.

                                2. re: ilovefoodlongtime

                                  Let me 3rd North Country Brewing. Nothing fancy, but always get an enjoyable meal. The approach there is sustainability - a lot of local products. Can be very busy on weekends.

                                  Further south in Cranberry you won't find much of note, unless you get lucky and the second location of Tamari is open by then (assuming it's as good as the original location closer to downtown). You might want to check closer to your departure to see if it's open yet.

                                  Also in Cranberry, higher end, is Echo. I have only had apps and a sandwich at lunch time and have not been impressed. It has received some raves on various foodie sites, but if you're spending the money, might as well keep on driving into the city and go to Salt of the Earth or Eleven.

                            2. Sorry if this was already suggested, but if you'll be in Pittsburgh you must go to Primanti Brothers http://www.primantibros.com/, famous sandwich shop on Forbes Ave near Univ of Pittsburgh campus. It has been featured on the food network. There's also a famous breakfast spot called Pamelas nearby http://www.pamelasdiner.com/.

                              -----
                              Primanti Brothers
                              11 Cherry Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: WhatsEatingYou

                                I know I am in the minority, but I find Primanti Bros. awful.

                                1. re: wadejay26

                                  Blasphemy!

                                  1. re: wadejay26

                                    I wouldn't call it "awful". But it's not particularly good either. It's filling and it's consistent.

                                    The only real problem I have with Primanti's is that it's become iconic. And do we really need an overstuffed sandwich to be perceived as our city's contribution to the food world? Kind of embarrassing actually.

                                    Not to mention that if you HAD to have a sandwich represent your city, then Pittsburgh's should be Big Jim's. Now those are sandwiches!

                                    -----
                                    Big Jim's
                                    201 Saline St, Pittsburgh, PA 15207

                                    1. re: Panini Guy

                                      Panini, I really like Primanti's...but I still agree with everything else you say. Big Jim's does have better sandwiches, and it's more "Pittsburgh" style!

                                      http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

                                      -----
                                      Big Jim's
                                      201 Saline St, Pittsburgh, PA 15207

                                      Panini's
                                      317 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

                                      1. re: Panini Guy

                                        Fat Heads!! Fat Heads!! Fat Heads!!!

                                        Skip Primanti's - it's true claim to fame is as the place to go after the bars close.

                                      2. re: wadejay26

                                        I'm with you wadejay :)

                                        1. re: burghgal

                                          Thanks for all of your help! I am surprised this post has been restarted almost a year later, I was just about to say that we are going back this Friday so any more suggestions are welcome!!!!! We ate at some "mexican" restaurant last time, I think it was a chain.....can't remember the name but if I can avoid it I would like to.....my travellers just liked the gigantic margaritas that they had but I would like something different..

                                          1. re: ilovefoodlongtime

                                            Just happened to stumble on this restarted thread... Primanti's has opened just outside the Outlets...that being said (although I get the blasphemy thing) I wholeheartedly agree with Panini guy's 1st comment...

                                            Personally, I could eat all my meals at any of the Springfield Restaurants on Perry Highway (Rachel's, Iron Bridge or Springfield Grille) just depends what atmosphere you prefer. Been going for 10+ years and have never been disappointed. Had a nice lunch at Rachels in Sept. and it was great (as usual).

                                            -----
                                            Springfield Grille
                                            1226 Perry Hwy, Mercer, PA 16137