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Oct 14, 2012 09:31 AM

Lunch Near Dutch Wonderland

We are heading to Dutch Wonderland from Philadelphia next Saturday and are looking for a lunch place along the way. We will be a total of 7 people (3 kids). Any good Amish options?

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  1. The Amish themselves I don't think have any restaurants. PA Dutch style cooking (of which I'm no fan) can be found at Shady Maple Smorgasbord which is nearby and a good example of that food.

    There are plenty of chain restaurants in the DW vicinity...which are what they are.

    Not sure I'd want a full belly on some of those coasters though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sal_acid

      Unfortunately, the fact that people consider Shady Maple a "good example" of PA Dutch food is the reason many are "no fan." However, I can't personally recommend a place that truly is a good example along your route, because it is truly home, farm, cooking and doesn't translate well into a restaurant setting, IMO. I've heard from many that Deiner's on Rt. 30 is a better example than Shady Maple (which is more about quantity than quality) but I haven't been there personally. Please, avoid places like "Plain and Fancy," and "Miller's Smorgasbord" - they are truly awful tourist traps.

      Good luck, and enjoy Halloween at Dutch Wonderland.

      1. re: centralpadiner

        I'll check out Deiner's and let you know about your recommendation.

        1. re: sal_acid

          Diener's is the best of a bad lot, but be aware, most non-tourist places in the area are closed Sunday.

    2. I know I am a broken record on this but it is the only place in the immediate area that I can honestly, with first person experiences, say provides good food and service, The Stockyards Inn. You are not too far from Stoudt,s Black Angus (30-45mins) but toward Reading, not on your immediate route. This is the Stoudt's Beer people who started by running a steak house 30 years ago and do have some good burgers and beef. On a previous post John J. Jeffery in the Arts Hotel, in down town Lancaster City was mentioned as excellent. We get there only a couple of times a year so I am not up to date with the latest and greatest.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Bacchus101

        Bachus, you mention 3 excellent restaurants, but as a local and a parent, I would only consider taking 3 kids bound for a day at Dutch Wonderland (which typically means they are all under 10, and probably on the younger side of that) to Stoudt's. I would certainly trust my 10 and 11 y.o.'s at the other 2, but probably wouldn't want to spend the money on a day trip that involved amusement park rides. At least in my world, no matter how much I am trying to raise foodies, that means quicker and more family friendly than Stockyard or John J. Jeffries. Not only that, but none of these offer anything close to PA Dutch food, which the OP specifically asked for.

        1. re: centralpadiner

          Why not steer them towards a good pretzel place? That's what they're known for. or ice cream!

          1. re: Chowrin

            It doesn't necessarily have to be PA Dutch food. I just figured if that's where we're going to be...

            We would also prefer to stay close to our route in and out of Dutch Wonderland. I'm sure there are great places in and past Lancaster, but we're just looking for a nice, family friendly place to get something.

            Does anyone know if Dienner's is connected to a place with the same name in the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia? I have had food from there and it is good. If the one near DW is the same, that's exactly what we are looking for.

            1. re: Philly Ray

              I don't know if it is the same family(Dienner is a fairly common name) but the Rotisserie chicken served at both places is quite similar.(The family that owns the Lancaster County Dienners are Mennonites-can't remeber if the Reading Terminal Dienners is run by Amish or Mennonites)

              The Dienner buffet is good, basic comfort food at a reasonable price. Very good kids prices.

              Expect a wait on Saturday.

              1. re: brookquarry

                Brook, Always looking for good comfort food when in that area, somehow it just seems like the thing to do. Dienner's sound like a direct hit, never been there, good to know!

                1. re: brookquarry

                  Funny, I'm looking at the menus for Dienner's and Miller's. Since Miller's charges over $20 for their smorgasbord and Dienner's charges around $10, why would anyone ever go to Miller's?

                  I think we will try Dienner's.

                  Thanks to everyone who replied. I will write back after the trip.

                  1. re: Philly Ray

                    Well, Millers is more upscale (no prime rib at Dienners) as well as much more attractively drecorated.
                    However, they have cut back on their Pennsylvania Dutch specialties. That is why we almost always go to Dienners (or occasionally Shady Maple)

            2. re: centralpadiner

              Central, good points for sure. I had heard of a good place in Strausburg but I fear it is a restored Inn or Hotel , it is relatively close direct route, but may not fit requirements. The old train would be added attraction. Really just too bad that area is populated with faux Dutch and common chains.

              1. re: Bacchus101

                "Really just too bad that area is populated with faux Dutch and common chains."

                With this statement, I could not agree more. It is truly the state of the area. I go out of my way to NOT dine there, and most often find myself at Cracker Barrel if I absolutely must.

                And Chowrin, my point was just that we should try to answer the question that was asked. Like I said, the restaurants mentioned are all excellent - I laud them on this board regularly - but just don't fit the requirements of the OP. They didn't ask about pretzels or ice cream, thanks for another insult of PA Dutch food. If they didn't want to stay East of DW, I probably would have suggested Country Table in Mount Joy or Oregon Dairy just north of Lancaster.

                1. re: centralpadiner

                  don't take an insult where a compliment was meant.

          2. Here is my report...Unfortunately, we never made it to DW. My wife and I spent 4 hours in an ER in Philly due to my wife injuring her knee on Saturday morning.

            Oh well, maybe next year. Thanks again for all of the suggestions.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Philly Ray

              Oh NO! Wishing your wife a speedy recovery!