Adapted from an Original Story on Pennlive.com by Mimi Brodeur - April 15, 2017.
HARRISBURG, PA (Sept. 1, 2017) – These restaurants have stood the test of time as local favorites for dining over the past 25-100 years from donut shop to gritty steakhouse and dark taverns, locals and visitors alike are welcomed.
At first, I didn’t get it. How could a place like Progress Grill maintain its clientele and prestige without, well, progress? The menu has stayed basically the same for at least three decades. The décor has been updated four or five times but still retains an old-fashioned vibe with its gilded heavy-framed artwork, patterned carpeting and dimly lit timeless dining rooms. The secret is in the consistency of the food from Day One to the present. Some of the same menu items have stayed put since the 1940’s and no one is complaining. Favorite dishes: golden brown crab cakes and house crème brulee. 3526 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA.
This family owned restaurant has been in business since 1969. The original Funck’s in Palmyra has a split personality. Choose either broad, springy booths across from mega multiple stooled bar counter or quiet, wholesome tables reminiscent of Denny’s on the opposite side of the fireplace wall on the ground floor. Wherever you sit, waitresses are quick to accommodate with massive, plates of comfort food. Favorite fare: $6.99 burger and fries every Monday, Funck’s 4piece Signature hand-breaded and deep-fried chicken platter is so good the recipe has stayed on the menu since opening day. 664 West Main Street, Palmyra, PA.
Established in 1980 by Doug and Debbie Krick, their son, chef Dougie has taken over in the kitchen. Featured on the Food Network Series Restaurant Impossible the restaurant got a second chance to woo back the waning public. Revamped and rustic main dining room and streamlined menu rekindled customer’s love of this family owned steak focused menu. Famed French Onion soup, steaks and eggs benedict are favorites here. 1037 Paxton Street, Harrisburg, PA.
Word of mouth decrees of wonderful breakfasts and home baked pies set this roadside restaurant on the map when it opened in 1990. Recently renovated, everything from floor to ceiling is new except for the granite counter running across the back of the room. Rustic neutral shades and textures warm up this quaint and boxy eatery. Fresh Shasta Daisies add sprigs of color and novel metal top tables increase an already built in cacophonic din. The restaurant does not accept reservations and waiting area is limited indoors. Favorite breakfast items: Stuffed French toast, oversized cinnamon rolls and omelets. 801 East Chocolate Avenue, Hershey, PA.
Dating back to the early 1800’s, the hotel/tavern used to be a very rural midpoint for travelers. People would hang out at “the Eagle” while hogs, sheep and cattle auctions took place on the square. There was dancing in the 1920’s and 30’s and a menu boasting crab cakes and beer for .15 cents. Steve and Sia Paterekas bought the centuries old, three story building in 1976 when it still had rooms to rent upstairs and as their son Bill puts it “a much rougher bar crowd”. The place has passed through many families over the years but the Paterekas family has owned it the longest, over 40 years. Everyone knows the favorites here are wings, burgers, crab cakes and of course, peanut butter pie. 1361 North Mountain Road, Harrisburg, PA.
This diner hasn’t’ changed much since it was brought by train from New York and opened more than 80 years ago. "We frequently get asked if we still make a certain recipe from 40, 50 even 60 years ago. And most of the time the answer is yes” says Carol Kupp, who owns and operates the diner with husband Greg. Burgers, fries and oyster pie are signature items. Hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, celery and seasonings plump up the double-crusted scoop of textured pie. Unfortunately, oyster pie is only on the menu from October-April and even then, it only appears the last Friday of the month. And as always, the diner only accepts cash. 12 Brown Street, Middletown, PA.
“Make the Red Rabbit a habit” drive in has been around since the 1960's. Blink your headlights to get car service at this long-running iconic burger shack. Everyone remembers the time when they bit into that first bunny burger. Small and compact, these slim burger patties have crisp bacon, shredded lettuce, onion and special sauce that no one has a clue how to make. If you want more meat, go for the double bunny burger ($7.60). Save room for either chocolate and vanilla swirl cones or straw-standing thick milkshakes. Peanut butter milkshakes are new this year. 60 Benvenue Road (located on route 322), Duncannon, PA.
Dive bar along the Susquehanna River has long been known for good steak dinners and rough crowd. You will literally laugh when the USDA choice Delmonico 23-24oz is placed under your nose. The toppings of mushrooms and onions alone could sink a motorboat, piled so high over top you can only see the outline of the steak. Top choices include New York Strip Steak, 23-24oz or choice porterhouse, 24 ounces. One tip, wear expandable yoga or sweat pants. 4745 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA.
It has been over 40 years since the late Alfred D. Pellegrini converted historic Raymond-Young mansion built in 1888 from declining residential brownstone to his dream ornately decorated restaurant, Alfred’s Victorian. Throughout the past four decades, the lavishly decorated three- story restaurant has served its customers by “specializing in special occasions.” Original Northern Italian and old-fashioned, American recipes have stayed on menu pages including wispy puff pastry nest of escargot, favorite veal dishes such as saltimbocca and flaming tableside Victorian salad, a twist of the classic Caesar. 38 North Union Street, Middletown, PA.
This mom and pop storefront is best known for serving freshly baked donuts for over 30 years. This place is still one of the great places to go for a very cheap breakfast, omelets are under five dollars and creamed chip beef over toast with fries $5.15. It’s also home to the Filling Station Gut Buster ($6.60), which stacks 5 eggs, home fries, 2 sausage patties, cheese and 3 slices of bacon between sourdough toast slices. 320 West Main Street, Palmyra, PA.
ABOUT VISIT HERSHEY & HARRISBURG
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg is the official non-profit partnership-based Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) leading economic growth through destination sales, consumer marketing, public relations, and tourism development in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The organization, accredited by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) since 2010, is committed to actively marketing the tourism assets in the Hershey & Harrisburg Region to business and leisure travelers both domestic & international. The bureau also leads regional sales efforts to attract meeting & event organizers, sporting event producers, and group tour leaders. For more information go to VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org or call 877-727-8573.