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Story Ideas: Top Food & Drink Spots Locals Want to Keep Secret

Published: Sep 6, 2016

12 Best Bets for Happy Hour & 15 Local Foodie Favorites revealed.

HARRISBURG, PA (Sept. 6, 2016) — Please note that some of the following content is from original stories that have appeared in local publications including Central Penn Business Journal and The Patriot-News/ This material is to be used for the purpose of generating story ideas and to give media top suggestions for attractions they may want to experience on media visits or site tours.

12 Best Bets for Happy Hour

Zeroday Brewing Company is a 60-seat brewery located in the Midtown neighborhood of Harrisburg. The new brewery was opened in 2015 by the husband & wife team of Theo and Brandalynn Armstrong. In the past year locals have taken to it as a great place to hang out and the owners have plans to expand its production in the coming year. The brewery is located at 250 Reily Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102. Tel: 717-745-6218. (Photo below: Zeroday tasting room in Harrisburg's Midtown District)

Zeroday Brewing Company

Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works is a new combo craft brewery & distillery that has been a dream of Pat Devlin, Matt Fritz, Tony DeLellis, and Ben Ramsay since the group graduated high school together in 2000. For the name, the owners believed that a tattered flag is not just a worn piece of cloth… but a symbol of experience and character. Threadbare and frayed, a tattered flag still represents the ideals and beliefs of those who stand behind it, constantly seeking excellence, success, and the achievement of those goals with honor. Tattered Flag is a veteran-owned operation, and therefore the owners live by the character they identify in a worn flag as they strive to give back to the surrounding communities by producing a high-quality product locally and providing local patrons and first-time visitors with a warm and welcoming experience. Tattered Flag is located at 1 South Union Street, Middletown, PA 17057. Tel: 717-616-8799 or Hours: Sun-Wed: Closed; Thur 5-9pm; Fri 4-10pm; Sat 11am-10pm.

The Federal Taphouse – Located in the center of the city of Harrisburg, this bar is known for its 100 beers on tap and live acoustic music from local artists. This is a great spot for brunch with breakfast pizzas and huevos rancheros with homemade sausage, among a dozen other foods; plus breakfast smoothies (spiked or healthy), house made Bloody Mary with house-pickled veggies, mimosas & bellini and a Founders Breakfast Stout. This beer mecca is located at 234 North Second Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101. Tel: 717-525-8077.

The Millworks & Artist Studios – The Millworks opened in March 2015 and earned the “New Tourism Business of the Year 2015” award from the Hershey Harrisburg Visitors Bureau for its outstanding approach to reclaiming space & materials to create a combination of restaurant, biergarten, and artist studios in the heart of Harrisburg’s Midtown neighborhood. The 160-seat restaurant focuses on authentic local and sustainable food sourced from growers and producers, many located next door in the Broad Street Market. The full service bar features draft and bottled microbrews, craft beers, and nano-brews from local breweries, plus a full menu of spirits and artisan cocktails. Thirty-five (35) regional artists have studios located inside the former Stokes Millworks, allowing patrons the opportunity to watch sculptors, painters, and others from the restaurant and biergarten. Local developer Joshua Kesler’s vision continues to evolve with the addition of an in-house brewery to the complex in the Fall of 2016 and the opening of Harrisburg’s largest rooftop biergarten overlooking the Midtown neighborhood. The Millworks is located at 340 Verbeke Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102. Tel: 717-695-4888. (Photo Below: The new Millworks rooftop opened in August 2016.)

Millworks Rooftop Biergarten

Troegs Brewery – Back in 2010, brothers Chris and John Trogner were sketching a vision for their new brewery on the back of a napkin. Today, when you visit the 90,000 square-foot Tröegs Brewery tucked in beside Hersheypark and The Tanger Outlets at Hershey, you will see what they came up with: a large 5,00 square-foot central Tasting Room, an open brewhouse, a self-guided tour path around a Quality Control lab, plenty of room for fermentation and a General Store for beer and goods to-go. Tröegs also provides guided tours of the brewhouse on designated days. While the new brewery HQ officially opened in 2011, the brothers’ napkin included an important yet unrealized vision which was a space dedicated to wood-aging. It would be a sanctuary for strong age-able ales, a home for wild yeast and bacteria, and a wide-open canvas for creative cellaring. From this space would grow a new series of Pennsylvania wild ales brewed with the fruit and microflora from their backyard. In July 2016 the brothers opened their “wood-aging dream space” dubbed The Splinter Cellar. The space features three 20-foot-tall “foeders” – Dutch for large oak tank – handcrafted by the 200-year-old Italian barrel manufacturer Giobatta & Piero Garbellotto from dozens of staves of Italian, Hungarian and French oak that have been air dried for three years to mellow any harsh flavors. The brewery is located at 200 East Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, PA 17033. Tel: 717-534-1297. (Photo Below: New Splinter Cellar Expansion at Troegs Brewing Company in Hershey, PA)

Troegs Splinter Cellar Area 2016

Midstate Distillery – Opened near the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in January 2016, this new attraction will have the distinction of being the first distillery in Harrisburg since Prohibition. Midstate produces small batches of Shaky Jake's Rum (a super smooth with a hint of vanilla and a sweet finish) and Pennsyltucky Moonshine with plans to make Iron & Ice Vodka. Visitors can stop in for cocktails, take a tour, shop in the retail store and purchase bottles to take home. Midstate joins a growing list of distilleries already operating in this region of Pennsylvania from Thistle Finch Distillery in Lancaster to Old Republic Distillery in York County and Hidden Still Spirits in Lebanon. The distillery is located at 1817 North Cameron Street, Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17103. Tel: 717-745-5040.

Note Bistro & Wine Bar – This is a new offering in Harrisburg’s Midtown neighborhood offering a classic yet casual European dining experience to the region. An eclectic menu is paired with an Old World dominated wine list complete with a full bar serving modern drinks and classic cocktails. This small and intimate bistro & wine bar is located at 1530 North 2nd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102. Tel: 717-412-7415. (Photo Below: Happy Hour at Note Bistro in Harrisburg Midtown Neighborhood.)


Cork & Fork – This unique offering for dining in the heart of Harrisburg opened near the Capitol Complex in 2014. Owners work with local farms and purveyors to maintain sustainability and seasonality, resulting in an always-new and interesting menu that includes extraordinary cured, cooked and smoked meats with wonderful artisanal cheeses, pastas made in-house, and gourmet pizzas with a perfected crispy outer crust. The restaurant features an extensive wine list and is ideal for happy hour, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant is located at 200 State Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101. Tel: 717-234-8100.

The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey – The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey is located on a farm just outside of Hershey. The founders believe in the principle that enjoying a bottle of wine or a cold craft beer is meant to be a shared experience with family and friends. In the summer this is a great venue for live music on Fridays and the venue hosts a full calendar of special events indoors as well throughout the year. The property is located at 598 Schoolhouse Road, Middletown, PA 17057. Tel: 717-944-1569. (Photo Below: Decked-Out Live entertainment at The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey)

Decked Out Live at the Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey

Spring Gate Vineyard & Brewery – This family-owned vineyard opened in 2014 on 60-acres of former farmland located just outside of Harrisburg that dates back to pre-Revolutionary war. The brewery later opened in 2015. Guests can relax and enjoy a tasting of the wines & craft beers in the warm & welcoming tasting room or easily retreat to a scenic outdoor setting overlooking beautiful fields and streams, with an occasional visit from a roaming rooster or grazing goat. This serene property is located between Hershey and Harrisburg at 5790 Devonshire Road, Harrisburg, PA 17112. Tel: 717-884-8048.

Appalachian Brewing Company – ABC is the most unique brewpub and banquet facility in the area, housed in a 100-year-old brick building with exposed brick wall interiors and wooden beams, hardwood floors and ceilings. The brewery serves fresh innovative cuisine to match their tremendous handcrafted ales and lagers, and they brew their own craft sodas. The huge brewery and restaurant is located at 50 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101. Tel: 717-221-1080.

Lancaster Brewing Company – Harrisburg's hotspot for award-winning, micro-brewed beer and great tasting American cuisine. Conveniently located just off the I–283/83 interchange near the Harrisburg Mall, LBC exudes the rustic charm of a historic ale house, but with a clean, sophisticated, contemporary flair.

15 Restaurants Locals Want to Keep Secret

The Hershey Pantry - For over two decades, customers have lined up to dine at this country cozy eatery on the cuff of Hershey. Locals know to sweeop in for an early breakfast before the wait gets too long later in the day. Thick cream cheese-frosted cinnamon rolls ($5.25), warm baked oatmeal ($5.75) and flavored cream cheese stuffed French Toast ($7.75) are signature items. Or keep it simple and cheaper by ordering griddle crispy home fries, two eggs and toast ($4.75). The Hershey Pantry’s desserts – especially oversized muffins and pies were so good and in high demand, the owners Jim and Cindy Hess opened Desserts, Etc. in 2012 across the street. The couple owns Irv’s Pub, also across the street. They recently opened The Pantry Café at The Hershey Story Museum. 801 E. Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA. 717-533-7505.

Irv’s Pub - With the classic image of a “neighborhood restaurant” in mind, the owners Jim & Cindy Hess created this contemporary, rustic-inspired spot in Hershey for elevated yet affordable comfort food, rotating craft brews & artisan cocktails. Their “scratch kitchen” provides a modern comfort menu of seasonal, chef-driven, bar-centric cuisine and their signature cocktails are inspired by vintage and contemporary recipes with house-made syrups and freshly squeezed juices. Irv’s Pub is located at 814 East Chocolate Avenue, Hershey, PA 17033, Tel: 717-533-7505 x3, Twitter: @HersheyPantry; Hours: Closed Mon; Tue-Thur 4-10pm; Fri 4pm-Midnight; Sat 10am-Midnight; Sun 10am-9pm.

Char’s Restaurant at Tracy Mansion – This historic property overlooks the lovely Susquehanna River. Built in 1913, the mansion has regained its long-lost elegance as this American Brasserie. The Dining Room serves as the perfect showcase for Chef Ron Canady’s celebrated menu. The warm, convivial Bar features Sal Pantano’s spirited creations, as well as our Small Plate Menu, while the McKee Library is the perfect spot for a cocktail or to relax with after dinner drinks. Join another dining party in the Gallery – also our private room – where we display a rotating exhibit of blown glass and sculptures by artists Ona Magaro and Glenn Zwyegardt. In the warm months, the Veranda is THE Spot to have Sunday Brunch and relax with family, friends or the New York Times. Whether it is a formal meal for a special occasion or a casual light-bite, Char’s has the menu, the atmosphere and the welcoming service to make you and your guests feel special and satisfied. Char’s is located at 1829 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102, Tel: 717-213-4002, Web:, Twitter: @CharsRestaurant, Hours: Mon-Sat 5:40-10pm; Sun 5-9pm. Bar opens at 4pm. Happy Hours Sun-Thur 4-6pm.

Fire House Restaurant – This hip & hidden hot spot for locals, located in a completely restored 1871 Harrisburg Firehouse, specializes in New American Cuisine. The multi-level dining rooms offer a variety of dining options from a secluded private table to an area for parties up to 60 people. The menu includes a variety of steaks, seafood, pasta, sandwiches, and salads. The Fire House Restaurant is located at 606 North 2nd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101-1001, Tel: 717-234-6064, Web:, Hours: Mon-Thur 11:30am-10pm; Fri & Sat 11:30am-11pm; Closed Sundays.

Home 231 - This comfortably stylish restaurant that serves seasonal American food inspired by the farm and the garden is located on a quiet, tree-lined street just a block from the PA Capitol. This is not just another award-winning addition to the fine dining restaurants found throughout the Hershey Harrisburg Region. At Home 231 they are committed to supporting and utilizing the best of what the region’s small farmers have to offer. Here guests will find the season’s best from local growers and farmers at their peak with premium pastured meats, farm fresh vegetables and dairy, plus local cheeses. Brunch features pan scrambled eggs – highly recommended; buttermilk pancakes; country fried chicken; and quiche of the day. Home 231 is located at 231 North Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101, Tel: 717-232-4663,, Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm; Dinner Mon-Thur 5-10pm; Fri & Sat 5-11pm; and Sunday brunch 10am-2pm.

Mangia Qui Ristorante & Suba Tapas Bar - From the Alps to the Islands...explore the classic tables of Italy. Mangia Qui embraces locally grown, farm raised and sustainable products. Our focus is to provide food that is healthy and tastes great in an unpretentious environment. We invite you to join us in experiencing a taste of Europe. This is a popular brunch spot for Executive Chef and co-owner Rosemarie “Qui Qui” Musarra’s artistic takes on asparagus and tomato timbale, El Benedicto and eggs Benedict (Serving brunch 10am – 2pm Sunday). Located at 272 North Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101, Tel: 717-233-7358,, Twitter: @MangiaQui, Hours: Lunch - Mon-Fri 11am-2pm; Dinner Mon-Sat 5-10pm; Brunch served on Sunday 10am-2pm. Suba Tapa Bar: upstairs at Mangia Qui. It is only open Tue. thru Sat. starting at 5pm. Food until 10pm on weekdays or 11pm on weekends and usually closes at midnight. Live music on Fri.-Sat. starting at 9pm until 11pm. (Photo Below: Couple dining at Rubicon - French Restaurant with the same owner as Mangia Qui located next door.)

Dining at Rubicon HBG

The Vietnamese Garden - Sick, depressed, unhappy? Cheer up immediately over a steaming bowl of pho noodle soup at Vietnamese Garden Restaurant. Three crispy deep fried papery egg rolls are stuffed with flavorful strands of vermicelli noodles, shrimp, chicken and veggies ($3). Simple and straight forward brimming white bowls of shimmering broth and vermicelli noodles showcase chicken, seafood or shrimp (or various combos of these ingredients). Plastic baskets containing fresh handfuls of cilantro and basil, lime wedges and bean sprouts come alongside ready to be strewn into the pho. 304 Reily Street, Harrisburg, PA. Tel: 717-238-9310.

Los Tres Cubanos – This little slice of Cuba is tucked away in Harrisburg’s quaint neighborhood of Shipoke and offers authentic Cuban cuisine. The atmosphere of the restaurant that opened in 2016 is all about fun and festivities with special attention to mojitos, ceviche and slow roasted pork shoulder. The owners have roots in Cuba so the authentic décor includes old and new photos of Cuba, busts of author Ernest Hemingway, and Cuban patriot and hero Jose Marti. The 65-year-old wooden bar came from Idaho where it hosted celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine. This new restaurant is located at 540 Race Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104. Tel: 717-635-8145. (Photo Below: colorful dinner entree at Los Tres Cubanos)

Los Tres Cubanos - Food Image

Greystone Public House – This new endeavor set to open in spring 2016 will take over the historic space previously occupied by the Mount Hill Tavern that closed in June 2015. Greystone will be a family-friendly gathering place for happy hours, casual dinners, or for celebrating birthdays and special occasions. The new restaurant will double the size of the previous bar, expand dining to the second floor, and offer extended outdoor seating. For the menu, the chef promises recognizable food that is easy to understand and cover everything from burgers and sandwiches to entrees, and a bar menu. The new restaurant and bar will be located just outside of Harrisburg at 2120 Colonial Road, Harrisburg, PA 17112. Tel: 717-487-8275.

The Wharf - Decked out with flowers and foliage, outside tables are enclosed and buffered from traffic and indoor bar noises. Huge smothered helpings of pasta or simplified grill-marked steaks with brunchy, deep-fried waffle fries are equally substantial and sumptuous. Premium choice grill-marked twin pork chops ($15.95) are a customer-favorite. Bring on The Warf house-fried chips with Key West Seasoning. Seafood is simple and satisfying like broiled haddock ($13.95) that needs nothing more than lemon butter and splash of white wine to bring out the flavor. Pan-seared scallops and grilled shrimp make an exceptional composed salad combined with glazed nuts, dried cranberries and subtly sweet Vidalia balsamic poppy seed dressing ($12.95).

Alvaro’s Bread & Pastry Shoppe - Hidden behind stacks of crusty artisanal round and rectangular loaves at the cashier station, Lina or Sal Alvaro are busy in the kitchen preparing daily lunch and dinner specials as well as freshly baked breads and assorted baker items. The mom & pop family-owned business close to the Governer’s Residence is a neighborhood favorite. Arrive at the end of the lunch business and you could (or probably will) miss out on house-made gnocchi with thick pounded chicken Parmesan. As an alternative, heat-laced sausage and strips of colorful peppers match up with al dente penne pasta and hefty chunk of Italian bread. Make reservations if you want a seat at tables squished next to bakery cases for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. And don’t miss out on homemade creamy rich flavors of gelato such as Marsala wine with raisin or white chocolate. When the weather gets warmer, al fresco dining at sidewalk tables is preferable. This neighborhood hideaway is located at 236 Peffer Street, Harrisburg, PA. Tel: 717-238-1999. Hours: Closed – Sun; Mon-Wed 10am-6pm; Thur-Sat 10am-9pm.

The Brownstone Café - This former bank building dates back to 1892. Teller gates, vault door and safety deposit boxes are worked into the décor. As for the food, you won’t want to have breakfast anywhere else. On weekends, lines form out the front door. Melt in your mouth Banana’s Foster walnut pancakes are drizzled with warm caramel sauce and strawberry shortcake French toast is stuffed with strawberry cream and loaded with whipped cream, fresh berries and intense strawberry sauce. Make sure you also try crumbled bleu cheese and candied walnut sprinkled nutty chicken salad with house made walnut vinaigrette and their exquisite seasonal strawberry studded pie. Located at 1 North Union Street, Middletown, PA. Tel: 717-944-3301.

Au Bon Lieu - Au Bon Lieu is unique; it just serves crepes but locals fill the close-knit tables. The crepes at this city spot are labors of love. Take time to enjoy these individually made succulently stuffed packets. A small amount of batter is poured on to the heated surface of an electric crepe maker. Excess batter is quickly scrapped away using a special rake-like tool. The end result is a pancake so thin it’s crispy and golden brown, not doughy. The piece de résistance is a coconut and dark chocolate filled crepe for $4.50. Fine European chocolate is grated over the crepe and moist threads of sugary coconut are sprinkled over the top. Additional chocolate shavings and piped rosettes of whipped cream top off the crepe before it’s ready to eat. Crepes are as thin as Parisian scarves and as tender as thinly sliced jambon. Locations in Harrisburg and Hershey.

Lisa’s Café - The former Turkey Hill Market turned boxy bistro still draws a large local following, particularly at peak lunch hours because of its made-like-mom menu and ever-efficient staff. The restaurant does not take reservations, so you may end up waiting on the short bench for a while. You’ll need both hands to pick up even a half of a grilled Rachel (with coleslaw) or grilled Reuben (with sauerkraut) for $9.50. Crisp, golden brown slices of thick marble rye hold together cole slaw or sauerkraut tangled amidst Thousand Island dressing and melted Swiss cheese. Corned beef is my meat of choice, which is thinly sliced and thickly layered between the bread. Deep fried battered fat onion rings are crisp and sweet. 600 East Main Street, Palmyra, PA. Tel: 717-838-9855.

Jackson House - For more than 30 years the Jackson House has been the hands-down widely acclaimed “Best Burger in Town” by remaining true to their winning formula: Keep it simple. As in, fresh ground beef. Hand-rounded patties. And hamburgers seared and sizzled to order over an open flame. All the other burger bells and whistles don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that smoky-flavored thing, according to owner Dave Kegris, who packs as much personality as his patties. Dave is often roasted by locals and loyal fans for his sometime surly demeanor. But it’s all part of his painstaking practice of selling no hamburger before they are just right, and that takes time. These hulking, half-pound patties take a full 20-minutes to smoke and sizzle on the charbroil grill, over a lapping, open flame. So, you’ll have to excuse Kegris if he grows short with impatient customers. After all, he has a hot grill spitting fire in his face all day. The wafting smoke flavors the beef. The spitting flames char the burger in mysterious, wonderful ways. All part of why this place is a regular top place winner in the local Burger Battle Championships. Kegris must be doing something right. His customers have been lining up over lunch at the Jackson House for more than 30 years. Now, the secret is out: There is no secret. Nothing ever seems to change at Jackson House. Not the interminable wait for a hamburger. And not the rich, mouth-watering reward once you finally bite into one.



Mary Smith, President & CEO of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau is available for media interviews regarding the contents of this news release. Please try to make interview requests at least 12-hours in advance. The bureau will make every effort to accommodate all interview requests. Contact or cell 717.884.3328.


The HHRVB is the official non-profit partnership-based Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) leading economic growth for Pennsylvania’s Hershey & Harrisburg Region through destination marketing and tourism development. The organization, accredited by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) since 2010, is committed to actively marketing the tourism assets in Dauphin & Perry County 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 or call 877-727-8573. Media can use #HHRVB and #HHRVB4Media when tagging stories and social media posts related to the region.

Author: Rick Dunlap

Public Relations Director
Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau
3211 North Front Street, Suite 301 A, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Rick's Twitter 
Cell: 717.884.3328

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