New Holland Family Restaurant to close after 25 years

New Holland Family Restaurant – a staple in this eastern Lancaster County town for the past quarter century – will serve its last meal Aug. 31.

Owners Gary and Ruthie Glick broke the news on Facebook that they were retiring “to spend time with family and enjoy life,” and that they were closing the eatery at 624 W. Main St., Earl Township, with “mixed emotions.”

The couple owned the restaurant, which offers a broad menu including Pennsylvania Dutch favorites, since 1998. The property started as a Dairy Queen in 1954.

“You are the heart of our business! We appreciate serving you and all your support the last 25 years! We are closing Aug. 31st so come in say your last farewells, wish Gary and Ruthie happy retirement, enjoy our food and use those gift cards up. Make it a bittersweet shebang and help us go out in style!!”

In a letter posted on Facebook and signed by the Glicks, they wrote:

“We have worked hard along with our wonderful employees to serve you and give you a good place to eat. You have stuck with us thru the good & the bad times and for that we will be forever grateful. … Many of you are almost like family to us and we will miss you greatly.”

The feeling is mutual, judging by the more than 100 Facebook comments. A sampling:

“So sad to see a good restaurant closing. Food was always great! Wishing you the best in retirement!!”

“I am so sorry to hear that you are closing. We love your restaurant and eat there frequently. Good luck to you in the future.”

“Best rice pudding around.”

“Can’t blame you guys for wanting to retire but I sure will miss that place.”

“Definitely one of our favorite places to eat … awesome food (and) the absolute best ribs I’ve ever had, (and) I’ve had a lot. Enjoy your retirement Gary (and) Ruthie, you’ve definitely earned it.

P.S. Yo Gary, does this mean I can finally get your sauce recipe for your ribs?”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Railroad Flats to bring housing, retail to downtown Mechanicsburg

A three-building parcel in downtown Mechanicsburg is getting new life with apartments and a restaurant planned by a pair of developers.

The 11 N. Railroad Ave. site, to be known as Railroad Flats, has been under the radar and underutilized for many years, said Rebecca Yearick, community and business development manager for the Housing & Redevelopment Authorities of Cumberland County.

“It will be the most prominent and impactful redevelopment project in downtown Mechanicsburg in decades,” creating new housing and jobs, the authorities said in touting the project.

Current tenants are Revelations Day Spa, which has been there since 2020, and De’Rielle Cosmetology School.

Railroad Flats is being developed by Steve Fleming and Chris Patrick of 36 West LLC. They bought an adjoining property at 36 W. Main St. in March. Now that building has three tenants in place: Denim Coffee, Creative Grounds and a soon-to-open photography business.

Yearick said the upper floors of the three-story buildings at Railroad Flats will be converted into as many as five apartments, with the first floor to remain commercial.

A corner, two-story building is set to become a restaurant and brewery, she said.

Settlement on the parcel is scheduled for Aug. 31. Federal funding of $275,000 that comes into the county through its housing and redevelopment authorities will finance the purchase, along with $60,000 from Mechanicsburg Borough to 36 West LLC.

The next phase, costing an estimated $1.3 million, will involve the demolition of a rear section and sheds, the design and construction of the apartments and vanilla-boxing the corner building for a restaurant/brewery tenant – including adding windows along West Strawberry Alley.

Yearick said the developers’ approach “melds well with what we want to do,” including making the downtown “a more walkable area.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Your Place in Hershey to become Mexican restaurant

The former Your Place Restaurant & Sports Pub at 1077 W. Governor Road, Derry Township, has been sold for an undisclosed price to Bravo Hershey LLC, Commercial Realty Group Inc. announced.

Bravo Hershey will renovate the property and open an El Rodeo Authentic Mexican Restaurant. The company operates several El Rodeo restaurants in the Central Pennsylvania area, including Fiesta Mexico Mexican Restaurants.

The transaction included a 3,972-square-foot restaurant building, equipment, furnishings and a Dauphin County liquor license. The restaurant sits on a 0.76-acre lot and is next to Hershey Convention Center and across from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Thomas J. Mallios, of Commercial Realty Group, Lemoyne, handled the transaction.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Cousins Maine Lobster adding food truck to the region

Cousins Maine Lobster, self-described “leading food truck concept and provider of the tastiest Maine lobster rolls across the country,” is expanding further into Pennsylvania with a new food truck franchise that will serve an area from Harrisburg to Reading and Bloomsburg.

Cindy and Peter Sztankovits, who joined the Cousins Maine Lobster system in 2019 when they launched their first food truck in Trenton, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, lead the new franchise. The Szankovitses have grown to have three trucks operating throughout northern New Jersey and Philadelphia to Allentown.

The couple will celebrate with a grand opening of their market expansion and fourth food truck from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 1, at Setter Ridge Vineyards, 99 Dietrich Valley Road, Kutztown.

“We wanted to establish a deeper presence throughout Pennsylvania and this expansion has allowed us to increase our ability to expose more consumers to the Cousins Maine Lobster brand and lobster rolls,” Cindy Sztankovits said in a release. “Last year, we took one of our food trucks on tour to the Harrisburg area and the response at each one of our stops was incredible.”

“Cindy and Pete have been very thoughtful in their growth,” added Jim Tselikis, Cousins Maine Lobster co-founder. “They have been just as focused on bringing Cousins Maine Lobster to the cities in their territory as they have been in reaching smaller towns. The mobility of our food trucks creates an opportunity to provide the best lobster in the world to guests in markets where lobster or seafood traditionally would not be available. And as a result, they have built a loyal following and great demand.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

PA tourism bouncing back to pre-pandemic level

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office reported Thursday that the state’s tourism industry is returning to 2019 levels. 

Pennsylvania welcomed 180 million visitors in 2021, and tourism spending is generating more than $66 billion for the state’s economy and supporting over 452,000 jobs. Visitor spending also contributed $4.2 billion in local and state taxes. 

Released in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), the 2021 Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism report provides state, regional, and county levels that show the contributions of the tourism industry to the state’s economy. 

Carrie Fischer Lepore, Department of Community and Economic Development Deputy Secretary of Marketing, Tourism & Film, said in a press release that tourism is a significant economic driver that injects billions into Pennsylvania’s economy and helps fund vital services such as education, infrastructure, public safety programs, and transportation. 

“Each household in Pennsylvania would need to pay an additional $802 in taxes to replace the tax dollars generated by the tourism industry which were received by state and local governments in 2021,” Lepore said. “We know that these numbers will continue to grow as consumer trends show, yet again, significant enthusiasm for travel to Pennsylvania.” 

Containing the most recent available data, the report reveals that visitor activity in Pennsylvania significantly increased in 2021. The rise is related to the reopening of businesses and venues and a boost in traveler confidence. 

Notable 2021 results included the following: 

  • An increase in visitors of more than 28 million from 2020. 
  • $66.3 billion in state and local taxes. 
  • 452,885 jobs supported, a ratio of 1-in-17 jobs in the state. 
  • A $9.1 billion increase in direct visitor spending to reach $38 billion, which includes hotels, restaurants, retailers, and tourism related businesses. 

Visitor spending produced $8.8 billion in government revenues, while state and local taxes generated $4.2 billion in 2021, an increase from 2020 of $614 million. 

Contributing the most to the economic recovery is the growth in overnight visitor spending, which increased by $7.5 billion in 2021. More than 60 million trips resulted in the spending of $23.2 billion. 

The Economic Impact of travel and Tourism report is compiled at the Pennsylvania Tourism Office at DCED. Information for the report is supplied by Tourism Economics, and data is provided by Longwoods International and STR, the latter delivering analytics and marketplace insights for the hospitality industry. 

Longwoods’ tracking study of American travelers indicates that 93 percent have trips planned in the next six months, the highest level since 2020.

Best gas station food? Survey says it’s Wawa

Wawa beats out other gas stations nationwide for having the best food, in a new survey from Payless Power.

The suburban Philadelphia-based convenience store chain, which is expanding farther into central Pennsylvania as well as other states, was the top choice in this category among 1,011 Americans asked about their gas station preferences.

Costco and Sheetz, which also have a presence in the region, did well, too.

Some other highlights from the survey:

· Overall, Costco was No. 1, Sam’s Club No. 3, Wawa No. 4 and Sheetz No. 5 in the ranking of America’s best stops.

· Costco was the cleanest and cheapest gas station. Wawa was fourth cleanest.

· Wawa had the most spent on each visit on average, $84.46, and the shortest average time, 16 minutes.

· Sheetz and Costco ranked third and fourth, respectively, as having the best food.

Of the 57% men and 43% women surveyed, 10% were baby boomers, 22% were Gen X, 43% were millennials and 25% were Gen Z.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Pair of Harrisburg-area restaurants to close

Two midstate restaurants recently announced that they’re closing, although one plans to reopen under new ownership.

The Midtown Tavern, at 1101 N. Second St., Harrisburg, and Smoke & Pickles Artisan Butcher Shop, 30 S. Market St., Mechanicsburg, revealed the news in Facebook posts.

After 41 years, The Midtown Tavern will shut its doors this month. The building, however, has been a gathering spot for more than a century, and will continue on as an eatery with a new owner under a new name.

The Burg reported that current owner Sotirios Ntzanis, whose father bought the tavern in 2000, said he plans to sell the establishment to restaurateur Adam Sturges, owner of The Sturges Speakeasy on Forster Street and McGrath’s Irish Pub on Locust Street in Harrisburg.

“So, here’s to all of you who’ve made some good memories here; you’re all the reason it’s becoming hard to say goodbye,” the tavern’s Facebook post read.

The last day of operation for Smoke & Pickles, a butcher shop and restaurant that opened in 2018, will be Nov. 23.

According to its website, the business was “inspired by the nostalgia and Old World charm of a traditional family-owned shop with a refreshing twist of modern culinary artistry.”

Owner and chef David Mills III said on Facebook that he is moving out of state to be with his wife, Kelli.

“This has been the adventure of a lifetime,” he said. “My wife and I would like to thank all of our customers, social media followers, the downtown community, our friends, our family, Wolf Brewing Co. and especially anyone that worked with us and helped us live out this dream.

“You all made Smoke & Mirrors Artisan Butcher Shop a success and without all of you, none of this would have been possible.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

New tourism trail targets coffee drinkers

Cafe One Eight at 18 W Orange St, Lancaster, is one of 21 coffee shops on the Discover Lancaster Coffee Trail. PHOTO/CAFE ONE EIGHT

Discover Lancaster is rolling out a new initiative that puts coffee drinkers on the road to Lancaster County coffee shops.

Some 20 unique coffee shops, in fact, are spread across Lancaster County and reach from Lancaster City to Ephrata.

“The rollout comes at a time when tourism has traditionally seen an uptick in out-of-town visitors arriving for the popular fall harvest season,” said Ed Harris, President & CEO of Discover Lancaster. “This is one more fun activity to add to a jam-packed itinerary to enhance the visitor experience. There’s plenty of options to find a great coffee and pumpkin-spiced latte.”

Developed in partnership with Bandwango, the Discover Lancaster Coffee Trail is the first in a series of themed trails to be rolled out in future seasons to enhance the visitor experience. Harris said the mobile passport offers a curated collection of coffee shops in Lancaster, as well as exclusive deals and discounts to favorite local coffee spots.

“From Lancaster City, to Intercourse, to Ephrata, and everywhere in between,” said Harris, “there’s a wide range of unique coffee shop experiences that can be found in our towns across Lancaster County.”

The list of participating shops on the Coffee Trail include:

Aura Espresso Room; Bird-in-hand Bakery & Cafe; Butter & Bean; Cafe 301; Cafe Arabella; Cafe One Eight; Coffee Co – Lancaster; Copper Cup; Courtyard Cafe on Main; Hudson Botanical; Javteas Gourmet Coffee Cafe; La Mattina Caffe; Mill 72 Bake Shop & Cafe; Passenger Coffee & Tea; Prince Street Cafe; Rachel’s Cafe & Creperie; September Farm Cheese; Speckled Hen Coffee; Square One Coffee Roasters; The Houston Co. Cafe; and The Roasted Rooster

“Our new mobile-based coffee trail highlights the many small businesses who have poured everything they have into opening the coffee shop of their dreams,” Harris said.

Visitors to the participating coffee shops can check-in digitally at each stop to count towards their prize. After 5 stops visitors earn a Discover Lancaster Sticker & Coaster. After 10 stops, a Discover Lancaster Coffee Mug. A Discover Lancaster Canvas Bag is earned after 15 stops. Prizes can be redeemed at Discover Lancaster visitors center.

“This is an invitation to celebrate Lancaster and bring more business to our small businesses,” said Harris. “Our mission is to educate people about what’s in our back yard. We have expectations for an ice cream trail, a brewery trail. We’re excited to roll this out and test it.”