BRUNCH DESTINATIONS to satisfy your soul
As we're working on this issue, we're in the middle of the stay-at-home order during the coronavirus crisis. By the time this issue reaches your hands, we'll hopefully have come out on the other side. While our future “life as we know it” hangs in the balance, one thing is certain: we need Sunday brunch more than ever before.
Because Sunday brunch is much more than a meal—it’s a state of mind, a respite, a soul-quenching experience that powers us through the rest of our week. And it supports local small businesses, many of them highlighted in this piece. They’ll need and appreciate our support more than ever before. Sundays offer a chance to slow down and savor life—savoring not only great flavors, but time with friends and loved ones. Sunday is a time to linger. During the week, lunch starts precisely at 12 noon. But on Sundays, brunch blurs the lines between 10 a.m. and 2-ish. Brunch is not simply a meal to eat. It’s savoring and indulging.
What’s on the menu? The better question is—what’s not on a brunch menu? Brunch is fun, playful and creative. If you’re going to indulge once a week, brunch is your chance. And it’s not just about food. Cheers to brunch beverages, whether it’s a beautiful boozy brunch or a creamy coffee brunch. Over the gorgeous brunch plates, crystal flutes and cozy coffee cups, comes conversation. Real, personal connections happen over Sunday brunch, whether it’s a chatty girlfriends’ gathering or a big boisterous family brunch.
Now let’s merge Sunday brunch with another Sunday classic: a Sunday drive to a Susquehanna Valley destination. Taking a Sunday drive, a little jaunt or journey, is a lost art that perhaps we all should rediscover. Here are 10 Sunday brunch destinations—some are hidden gems off-the-beaten-path, others offer a respite in a gorgeous location, some are within walking distance of additional attractions, and some will transport you to another place in time—but all will nourish your soul.
BRUNCH WITH A BANG
Shot & Bottle
Stroll through downtown Lancaster city’s charming historic district to work up an appetite, because Shot & Bottle is the quintessential Sunday pub grub spot. The menu from start (“fries and shine”) to finish (“drunken pig”—really) is innovative, clever, and tasty. Case in point—“ain’t afraid a no toast” features two pieces of sourdough dipped in salted caramel batter, with a sweet surprise in the middle—strawberry cream cheese. More standouts include carrot cake pancakes, shrimp and eggs, and the alarm cluck—porcini ravioli, truffle alfredo, fried egg and chives. Pair your plate with a smooth brunch cocktail featuring Pennsylvania spirits. Dutch iced coffee combines cold brew coffee with Maggie’s Farm coffee liqueur and Liberty Pole cream bourbon.
2 N. Queen St., Lancaster | shotandbottle.com
Chew and Choo
Speckled Hen Coffee & Kitchen
Make tracks to the sweet town of Strasburg for a Sunday destination. Speckled Hen is a stone’s throw from several antique shops and railroad-themed attractions including the Strasburg Railroad. Anything goes at “The Hen” for brunch—order from the breakfast-all-day menu or the lunch/dinner menu. Highlights include the French toast stacker—two eggs, smoked gouda, sausage, or bacon—between two slices of French toast, topped with maple syrup; yummy breakfast bowls; avocado toast; and a savory chickpea salad toast.
141 E. Main St., Strasburg | speckledhencoffee.com
A French rendezvous
Transport yourself to France via Citronnelle, a chic little brunch spot tucked into downtown Lancaster. Like its namesake (“Citronnelle” is French for “lemongrass”), Citronnelle’s menu and atmosphere is fresh, light, and delightful, with a hint of the exotic. The seasonal and locally-sourced menu sparkles with unique brunch options not found anywhere else across the Susquehanna Valley. We’re talking a grass-fed “Croque Madame” burger (custom-blended ground beef, authentic French cheese, natural bacon, and a fried egg—all on a toasted brioche bun with herbed butter and herbed fries to boot). Or, indulge in French toast with house-made lemon curd, warm strawberry compote, and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. More tasty options include leek and cheese soufflé or wild mushroom and Brie omelette. BYOB.
100 W. Orange St., Lancaster | citronnellepa.com
Cheers to a Brunch with HeART
The Handsome Cab Restaurant & Wine Bar
There is so much to love about a Sunday brunch at The Handsome Cab that you might as well start with a toast. Choose from bloody Marys, bellinis, or the lady in red—vanilla vodka, cranberry juice, and prosecco. Nibble from one of their cheese or veggie boards, or indulge in a chocolate board. There’s lots to love about the menu, from handmade beignets, bananas foster French toast, crab cake benedict, and creative salad options. Be sure to stroll up to the second floor to visit The Cab Gallery, featuring local artists.
106 N. George St., York | thehandsomecab.com
Come in for a Landing
Roost Uncommon Kitchen
Brunch is actually a common occurrence at downtown York’s Roost Uncommon Kitchen. That's because brunch is an all-day everyday experience—so you know it's gonna be good—so good that menu starters include not one, but three, types of scratch-made biscuits. Sandwiches include the porkstrami reuben, a Cubano sandwich, and a shrimp po boy—and they all come with fantastic house-made pickles and chips. We also recommend the apricot curd pancakes, shrimp & grits, and a full vegan menu including a cauliflower po boy and a falafel smash burger.
35 W. Market St., York | roostuncommonkitchen.com
A Brunch Fiesta
El Sol Mexican Restaurant
Spice things up by heading to Harrisburg, and imagine you’re south of the border at El Sol Mexican Restaurant. Happiness and Mexican cuisine go hand-in-hand—and speaking of hands, you should definitely have yours around one of their refreshing margaritas. The brunch menu is filled with happy combinations: Mexican toast features browned cinnamon-cocoa sweet bread served with homemade hibiscus syrup, whipped cream, and fresh fruit. Or, go traditional with huevos rancheros or mahi mahi tacos. Try to save room for dessert—tres leches cake.
18 S. 3rd St., Harrisburg | elsolmexicanrestaurant.com
A Hand-Crafted Brunch Experience
The warm tones of wood, paying homage to Millworks’ past, create a warm atmosphere for conversation and creativity. Whether you dine indoors or outdoors—in the courtyard or atop the rooftop biergarten—you’ll be inspired by artist studios, exhibits, and shops throughout. On the brunch menu, standouts include scallops and grits, smoked brisket and egg tacos, or go big or go home with wood-grilled steak and eggs. Be sure to add a hand-crafted brew or cocktail.
340 Verbeke St., Harrisburg | millworksharrisburg.com
Photo courtesy Home 231
A Cozy Brunch Spot
Two important words launch your cozy brunch at Home 231: house donuts. They’re served warm with three dipping sauces—chocolate, crème anglaise and salted caramel. There’s lots of love baked into the brunch menu—chicken and waffles, pecan pie pancakes, and a great eggs benedict—especially if you add the fried tomato. Be sure to sip one of their colorful cocktails, too. Tucked into Harrisburg’s quiet, tree-lined North Street, you’re two blocks from the Capital complex—the perfect place for a Sunday stroll.
231 North St., Harrisburg | home231.com
A Sweet Escape
The Barn Restaurant at Allenberry Resort
It’s truly a treat to escape to Allenberry’s beautiful location along the sparkling Yellow Breeches Creek. The Barn Restaurant’s rustic décor, stone walls, and big deck among the treetops sets the scene for a farm-fresh, locally-sourced menu. Creative choices include lemon-ricotta pancakes, featuring Eight Oaks Distillery’s apple jack and a citrus apple chutney with Caputo Brothers’ ricotta, house granola, and maple syrup. We also recommend the sweet potato and egg grain bowl. And you must take home a box of their famous sticky buns.
1559 Boiling Springs Rd., Boiling Springs | allenberry.com/barn-restaurant
Beer & Brunch by the Battlefield
Fourscore Beer Co.
No matter where you live in the Susquehanna Valley, chances are Gettysburg is one of your favorite daytrip destinations. Now, you can combine your visit with an amazing brunch and brew experience at Fourscore Beer Co. Sunday brunch menus creatively marry the two. For example, a limited-release s’mores stout was recently paired with s’mores waffles. Other fun menus have included sticky buns, chicken and waffles, and shrimp polenta.
603 S. Washington St., Gettysburg | fourscorebeer.com
10 Classic brunch spots in the susquehanna valley
Looking for the quintessential big brunch experience? Over-the-top tastiness? Bloody Mary bars and brunch buffets? We’ve got you covered in this handy guide.
Ad Lib Craft Kitchen & Bar, Hilton Harrisburg | 1 N. 2nd St., Harrisburg | adlibrestaurants.com
Café 1500 | 1500 N. 6th St., Harrisburg | cafe-1500.com
The Circular, Hotel Hershey | 100 Hotel Rd., Hershey | thehotelhershey.com
Eden Resort & Suites | 222 Eden Rd., Lancaster | edenresort.com
The Imperial, The Holiday Inn Lancaster | 26 E. Chestnut St., Lancaster | theimperialrestaurant.com
One Lincoln, The Gettysburg Hotel, Est. 1797 | 1 Lincoln Sq., Gettysburg | onelincoln.net
John Wright Restaurant | 234 N. Front St., Wrightsville | jwrpa.com
Plough, Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square | 25 S. Queen St., Lancaster | ploughrestaurant.com
The Pressroom | 26-28 W. King St., Lancaster | pressroomrestaurant.com
T.J. Rockwell’s American Grill & Tavern | 896 W. Grantham Rd., Mechanicsburg | 800 Mt. Gretna Rd., Elizabethtown tjrockwells.com