Lancaster, PA is a must-visit food travel destination in Pennsylvania and not just for the famous Amish food of Lancaster County. The Lancaster area food scene for breakfast, lunch, or dinner has never been better. There’s no shortage of options from casual to fine dining for tasty bites and beverages. The pandemic hasn’t slowed down the opening of new restaurants in the City of Lancaster and surrounding areas. Here’s what has opened in the past couple of years, which should soon put Lancaster on your must-visit list, or visit again if you're up for a day trip or weekender.
Josephine’s Downtown opened in September 2019 at 50 West Grant Street in downtown Lancaster next to Central Market and the Fulton Theatre. Josephine’s is a French-inspired fine dining restaurant led by Executive Chef Daniel LeBoon, who spent time honing his culinary talent in Paris and the celebrated Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia. It offers a complete package of great food and outstanding hospitality in an elegant atmosphere—a perfect location to treat yourself after a busy day of shopping at the various Lancaster shops and boutiques.
C’est La Vie
C’est La Vie, a casual bistro, opened in November 2019 at 18 North Market Street, next door to its sister restaurant Josephine’s. It is also a nod to Chef LaBoon’s classical French training with the addition of brick-oven pizzas. The restaurant also features a full-service bar offering cocktails, draft beer, and wines by the glass. Unlike Josephine’s, it is also open for lunch, making it a fun option as you take in the sights of downtown Lancaster.
Conway Social Club
Conway Social Club opened on the 2nd floor of Annie Bailey’s Public House at 28 East King Street in November of 2019. The speakeasy-style cocktail bar in this historic 100-year-old building offers a large selection of whimsical libations developed by beverage manager Ben Hash and a small yet elevated menu of upscale fare by executive chef Federico Canavesi, a native of Milan, Italy.
Double C Restaurant & Bar
Double C Restaurant & Bar opened in July 2020 at 220 North Prince Street as a casual neighborhood spot focusing on local ingredients from Pennsylvania farms. The farm-to-table approach here isn’t a gimmick; owner-partners Chefs Sean Cavanaugh and Michael Carson are the majority partners in Lil’ Ponderosa Enterprises, a USDA-inspected butcher shop located in Chambersburg, PA. The menu offers a variety of burgers, tacos, seasonal salads, and rice bowls. The bar specializes in fresh-squeezed margaritas, "interesting" wines, bourbons, and 16 Pennsylvania craft beers on tap.
Tied House, a St. Boniface Craft Brewing-owned establishment, opened in August 2020 as a bar & restaurant offering a libation-focused dining experience celebrating everything Pennsylvania at 27-31 East Main Street in downtown Lititz, PA. The beer menu is all St. Boniface beer brewed locally. The cocktails use only Pennsylvania-crafted spirits and some St. Boniface beer. The restaurant side boasts an inspired menu featuring locally sourced, house-smoked, and roasted ingredients. The wines are, you guessed it, all Pennsylvanian.
Our Town Brewery
Our Town Brewery, a brewery & restaurant located in a 100-year-old building at 252 North Prince Street, was opened in September 2020 by Rob Tarves and Rob Patz, childhood friends who had a passion for brewing beer. The brewery offers a rotating list of up to 12 beers on tap with seasonal brews. On the food side, the menu features American favorites such as burgers, sandwiches, and small plates to complement its crafted beers. It also offers creative brunch fare on Sundays with coffee drinks by Lancaster’s Passenger Coffee Co.
Cafe 1832, formerly Trackside Cafe, opened in November 2020. Located on the platform of America’s oldest operating railroad, Cafe 1832 at the Strasburg Rail Road in Ronks, PA offers a unique, family-friendly dining experience. Led by Executive Chef Jeffrey Merrill, the quaint trackside eatery provides a variety of sandwiches, burgers, salads, and family-style meals such as meatloaf, rotisserie chicken, lasagna, and more.
Norbu, a new BYOB offering Bhutanese and Nepalese cuisine, opened in May 2021 at 38 North Christian Street. Himalayan food is a dynamic blend of Indian and Chinese cuisines, with some Western influences. This small, family-owned & operated eatery joins an already diverse Lancaster food scene with an under-represented cuisine.
As you can see, Lancaster is a hot food city. Make it a weekend by staying at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, which added an entire second tower in 2019, revamped its main restaurant, and opened a 3,500 square foot rooftop bar on the second tower.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Lancaster, PA? Let me know in the comments!
Marilyn Johnson is a freelance food and travel writer covering the food and drink scene of Philadelphia, South Jersey, and beyond. Food news: email@example.com. Travel tips: firstname.lastname@example.org.