Pennsylvania is well known for its wealth of culinary offerings, from fried delights to iconic snack foods and farm-fresh eats. While you’re traversing around the Keystone State, consider these one-of-a-kind food experiences, and view our listings of beer, wine, and food in Pennsylvania for more.
Fancy a culinary road trip? Check out Taste Buds on Tour, a road-trip itinerary focused on the best of PA beer, wine, and food.
The recipe for a unique culinary experience should always include a bite of something iconic.
- PA Dutch Country’s whoopie pie, shoofly pie, chow-chow (a sweet-and-sour relish made from cabbage), scrapple (loaf-pressed pork scraps, cornmeal, and flour), and Fasnacht (a type of donut).
- Drown a plate of pancakes with maple syrup (“the nectar of the gods”) tapped right in Northwestern PA.
- Savor farm-raised-elk burgers at Medix, Benezette, and Weedville hotels in the PA Wilds.
- Crunch the maple popcorn at Loch’s in Springville.
- Sample anything and everything apple from Adams County, where 20,000 of its acres are dedicated to fruit production, or attend the annual National Apple Harvest Festival in October.
- Taste Pittsburgh perfection: Squirt some Heinz Ketchup on a Big Mac, which was invented in nearby Uniontown in the 1960s, and eat a sandwich at Primanti Bros., with fries right inside. Follow that up with a plate of potato-and-cheese pierogi.
- Pop a few pepperoni balls from Stanganelli’s and save room for sponge candy (honeycomb, sea foam, or sponge toffee) from Stefanelli’s in Erie.
- Yocco’s, the Hot Dog King of Emmaus, dishes up a well-done dog in a steamed roll with chopped onions, tangy mustard, and Yocco’s chili sauce.
- Pennsylvania invented a better way to eat a sticky bun: grilled, so the glaze gets all ooey and gooey. Try ’em at Millers in Lancaster County.
Unique Food Experiences
It’s not just the food that seals a great culinary experience. Take in the sights, sounds, and smells in this collection of unique dining encounters:
- Eat your face off at The Spa at The Hotel Hershey with an edible chocolate facial. Like the smell of fresh-baked brownies, the chocolate mask helps combat the visual signs of aging.
- Before you enter the Cadet Restaurant in Kittaning, be sure to get a photo with Sam, a 30-foot-tall cowboy who has greeted diners since 1962. Then scoff down the double-decker Poorboy burger.
- Unplug and unwind (no Wi-Fi for miles) at Two Sisters Amish Cooking, a home catering company near Lewisburg where you can enjoy a family-style, gaslamp-lit meal of homegrown veggies, fresh meats, and legendary baked goods.
- If you don’t make it past the pool table at Joe’s Bar in Ligonier, the barebones dive may not impress. But head straight back to a two-story, glass-encased taxidermy treasure trove and take in the giraffe, elephant’s head, rhino, tigers, lions, and costumed squirrels.
- Have your eggs with a side of Conneaut Lake views at Silver Shores in Crawford County, which offers Sunday brunch on a paddleboat dubbed “The Barbara J.”
- Venture down an alley and up a steep flight of stairs to The Horse Inn, a converted hayloft above a former stable now transformed into a Prohibition-era speakeasy and restaurant in Lancaster. Dine amid the horse stalls and equine accessories on the popular tenderloin tips on toast.
Factory & Food-Related Tours
Munch on made-in-PA snackables.
- Go nuts on a tour of Edwards-Freeman Nut Company in Conshohocken or watch chocolate being made at Asher’s Chocolates in Souderton.
- In York County, tour Martin’s Potato Chips in Thomasville, where 50,000 pounds of fresh potatoes are transformed into chips each day. Or have a hand-dipped ice cream cone after a tour of Perrydell Farm in York, where you get to see cows being milked and calves being fed. Into the twisted? Tour Revonah Pretzel or Snyder’s of Hanover for a look at how the knotted snacks are made.
- Two family-owned candy stores in Mercer County, Daffin’s Candies in Sharon and Philadelphia Candies in Hermitage, also offer factory tours to see how their confections are concocted.
- Take the ultimate chocolate excursion to Hershey’s Chocolate World, or get the scoop on ice cream production at the Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia.
- Take your taste buds on a historic journey of Gettysburg on a Savor Gettysburg Food Tour.
- ‘Burgh Bits and Bites Food Tours offers a tasting tour of five Steel City neighborhoods. Fall in love with the pizza, pasta, and biscotti in Bloomfield, dubbed Pittsburgh’s Little Italy); or devour pretzels and potato pancakes in Northside, a historical area influenced by German immigrants and entrepreneurs like D.L. Clark and Andrew Carnegie.
Grab an apron and play with your food at a specialty cooking class.
- Learn the secrets of making flaky, flavorful piecrusts or bake a proper English scone you can slather with clotted cream at York’s Yorkitchen.
- From homemade pesto and knife skills to canning apples and cookies for gifting, Carlisle’s Kitchen Shoppe & Cooking School has a sweet lineup of classes.
- The Home Textile Tool Museum in Orwell is anything but cheesy, but you can take a beginner class there to learn the basics of cheesemaking.
- Spend Thyme In Your Kitchen in Sharon and learn to cook sushi, soups, Korean, and Caribbean. You can even sign up for special kid-themed classes featuring after-school snacks and more.
- Daily classes at The Hershey Story Museum’s Chocolate Lab offer insight into the science and history behind cocoa beans and feature the opportunity to create customized chocolate concoctions.
- Learn how to twist your own pretzel at Tom Sturgis Pretzels in Shillington.
Fun Fair Food
There’s deep-fried everything and then there’s…
- Ice-cream-topped monkey bread loaded with cinnamon and brown sugar: Huntingdon County Fair (August 9-15, 2015)
- All-you-can-eat chicken pot pie: Kutztown Fair (August 10-15, 2015)
- Red-velvet funnel cake, venison jerky, and Cajun fried chicken on a stick: Centre County Grange Fair Encampment in Centre Hall (August 21-29, 2015)
- Ox roast and maple milkshakes: Crawford County Fair in Meadville (August 22-29, 2015)
- Pretzel sandwiches and haluski (cabbage and noodles): Wyoming County Fair in Meshoppen (September 2-7, 2015)
- Fireball sandwich, bologna sticks, and sweet-corn nuggets: Bloomsburg Fair (September 26-October 3, 2015)