March 1, 2023
Planning an exciting Lancaster PA vacation often requires getting down to the little details, like figuring out where to have lunch between your hike and museum visit. We know how difficult that can be when you have no idea what the area offers. Don’t worry; at the Historic Smithton Inn, we take food very seriously! We’ve put together a list of the best restaurants in Ephrata, PA, just for you! Start your day with a mouthwatering breakfast, stop for lunch to grab a locally sourced sandwich, and take your sweetheart on an unforgettable date at these wonderful local, privately owned restaurants. As you’re making your plans, make sure you take a look at our “Things to Do” page! It has even more great recommendations for things to do in the area, like museums, shops, outdoor activities, events, and more restaurants.
The first three diners are all within a stones-throw of one another. All of the diners has it’s own vibe / character and local following. They’re the places workers grab breakfast early in the morning before their roofing job starts. It’s where retired guys meet to talk politics and grandmothers take their grandkids for special lunches. You get the idea! These are ‘salt of the earth’ diners where you can get delicious food & large portions at great prices.
Javateas is located in a historic, restored bar and the interior has exposed beams, brick and stone with comfortable seating areas. This is the place to go for great coffee concoctions, breakfast sandwiches, and great lunch choices too. In the evenings, Javateas makes the food served at Olde Republic Distillery next door.
Griddle & Grind is a super-cute coffee shop and creperie. Their innovative menu includes sweet or savory breakfast crepes, lunch crepes and dessert crepes. Their baristas whip up fancy coffee drinks too.
Udder Choice is an ice cream shop and restaurant set in a big barn with a cow out front. The ice cream is all made on-site with local ingredients. The walls are decked with old ice cream and milk signs, ice cream scoops and other memorabilia. They make a mean sandwich and have the best soup menu in town!
Scratch Bakes is a wonderful local sandwich & cupcake shop that’s very ‘Martha Stewart’ inside. In fact, Martha Stewart herself has actually eaten there! This great gathering spot in the dead-center of downtown Ephrata has wonderful salads, soups and sandwiches, but be sure to save room for dessert because the cupcakes are to DIE for!
Fox Meadow has quickly become a beloved ice cream shop and restaurant in Ephrata. They were voted “Best Ice Cream in Pennsylvania”!!! The farm behind the restaurant is where the cows produce the milk that goes into the delicious ice cream, making their “Cow to Cone” slogan absolutely perfect. Sit on the back porch or in the airy indoor dining area and enjoy delicious soups, salads and sandwiches. They even have a little shop where you can buy tasty Lancaster County treats to take home with you.
Stone House Cafe is located in a historic stone building on the west side of town. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The old stone walls & exposed wood beams are contrasted by hip, comfortable sofa and chairs. The menu is varied & unpretentious. Check the website to see if they’re hosting live music (weekends).
Wired Cup Cafe is located on 272N near CVS. One item making them unique among the Ephrata coffee shops is their amazing NY-style Bagel Bar! The independently owned coffee shop roasts their own coffee & smokes their own lunch meats. The décor has a nostalgic big city vibe. Another plus is that they’re open on Sundays and Mondays!
The Tin Roof is open from 7 am – 9 pm, Monday – Thursday and 7 am – 9:30 pm on Friday & Saturday, making it a great option for breakfast, lunch, dinner & especially dessert! The breakfast menu has all the classics plus a few creative and fun options. For lunch & dinner, their collection of wraps, burgers, melts and chicken options are delicious and moderately priced. If you want to host an event there, they’ll rent the place out on a Sunday.
The Olde Lincoln House Tavern is definitely an Ephrata favorite, probably because their menu has something for everyone. Looking for a burger or wings? They’ve got that. Or are you craving Prime Rib, Sauteed Scallops or a Roasted Chicken Dinner? You can get those there too! This casual pub / restaurant offers the option for a laid back pub dinner or a fine dining experience, just take your pick! We highly recommend starting out with the Baked Tomato Soup… its oh-so-good!
Nonna Rosa is the place to go for some of the best homemade Italian food you’ve ever had. This family owned restaurant makes all their own pastas and sauces. The portion sizes are huge, but if you can, save room for dessert!
Three Sisters Park is a fantastic Khmer-Thai restaurant serving up authentic dishes in a casual atmosphere. This business is fueled by local word of mouth & passionate supporters. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked. They’ve become so popular they’re even opening a 2nd location in Lancaster!
As the name suggests, The Deck is just that, an entirely outdoor restaurant! While they’re only open from late spring to fall, The Deck is one of the most popular restaurants in town when they’re open. The menu is light-fare and all hand-crafted. They’re most famous for their Toasted Cheeseburgers & Hand Cut Fries with Cheese & Old Bay Seasoning!
Weathered Vineyards Ephrata is a small wine bar housed in the Historic Smithton Inn Bed and Breakfast. The menu is lite Mediterranean fare with some pub appetizer options as well. This restaurant is only open on weekends (Friday, Saturday & Sunday). Every Friday & Saturday night from 5 – 8 pm they have live music, year round.
St. Boniface is Ephrata’s first craft brewery. Their menu is basically what you’d find at a great pizza shop: Individual pizzas, calzone, sandwiches, etc. The kitchen is open to the bar, so you can watch the staff make your meal as your beer is poured. Everything is good, but “The Shire” mushroom pizza is truly out of this world, just sayin’!
Black Forest Brewery is a cozy restaurant / brewery with a loyal crowd of locals who support them multiple times a week because the menu is just that good & varied! The chef does a great job of making common menu items like a Nashville Hot Sandwich or Shrimp Quinoa Bowl extra special & delicious!! You definitely should give this place a try, the regular menu is delicious & they always have a few specials on tap too.
Brewster’s BBQ started out as a portable trailer in a parking lot and grew into a permanent location along the Ephrata Rail Trail on Steinmetz Road. You can also hire them for private events.
Pour Man’s is Ephrata’s newest of the three brew pubs in Ephrata and growing fast. They started out with a hip location on S. Reading Rd (next to Rita’s), but after a few years that included one of their beers winning “Best in Pennsylvania” two years running, they decided to expand. Their Reading Road location will be devoted to brewing operations and they’ve converted the old Sprecher Hardware Store (downtown Ephrata) into a fantastic Bier & Hoagie Haus that includes special event space upstairs.
La Borimex offers wonderfully authentic Mexican food in Lancaster County! They started out as a Mexican grocery store with one or two tables where you could order just a few items. Their reputation for authentic, delicious food led to the restaurant fulling taking over the building and the menu expanding. BYOB.
Ephrata’s newest restaurant is winning over customers! Nara Cafe offers all you can eat appetizers, sushi and dumplings for a stunning price of $20/person. Prefer to order off the menu? You can do that too, for either dine in or take out.
Taco’s El Gordo started out as a food truck that parks in the parking lot of the “old Kmart” building on 272 in Ephrata. These folks developed a strong & loyal following because their food is freaking outstanding!!! We can’t wait until they move into their new ‘brick & mortar’ building in the heart of downtown!
This location in the Redners strip center has been home to Asian restaurants for years, but Hills to Sea has been earning RAVE reviews that we haven’t seen at that location in a long time. The menu offers plenty of options for guests including appetizers like Spring Rolls, Dumplings & a Dim Sum Combo. Soup choices include Tom Yom & Wonton soup. For Entrees there are Noodle, Curry, Rice and House Special entrees… but what everyone is praising most are their vast selection of Sushi rolls & combos.
Hillside is a satellite location for Hillside Distillery, so their specialty is terrific craft-cocktails, but they also offer a whole assortment of craft beer and wine options as well. For food they currently have 2 companies operating on the premise: Tsunami Sushi & Dee’s Dough (Pizza).
I’m not sure why, but Ephrata is home to a TON of pizza shops! If you ask the locals, they will passionately tell you that one of these is exponentially better than the rest. At the end of the day, each one is someone’s favorite so maybe you just need to try them ALL to find yours! The two that are located the closest to the Historic Smithton Inn are Little Nicki’s and Maria’s.
La Promesa serves up fantastic, authentic Ecuadorian cuisine. They’re moving to a new location just a few doors down from their original shop.
Rumor has it that a new restaurant is coming into Ephrata to replace Lily’s on Main!! The new owner has a track record of opening & running successful restaurants, so we’re super-optimistic.
The Log Cabin is Fine Dining at it’s best. The restaurant is a mainstay in Lancaster County & the place where locals go to celebrate “Birthdays ending in zero” and the like. Everything from the atmosphere and service to menu and wine list are tops.
Gibraltar is an upscale Mediterranean seafood restaurant that’s won “Best Seafood Restaurant” in local surveys many times. Every item they serve is Instagram-photo-worthy and tastes as good as it looks.
Stubby’s is a local pub & sports bar with a great outdoor patio. This is the place to go for wings, burgers, pizza or their famous Stromboli. And of course, they’ve got plenty of massive TVs if you’re hoping to catch one of the games.
Both restaurants are in the same building. Kyma is upstairs and Johnny’s entrance is downstairs and around the back of the building. Kyma is one of the best seafood restaurants in the area and Johnny’s offers wonderful steaks in a cozy art deco style restaurant. If you want to eat outside, they have a great patio called “The Dock” too.
The Penguin is a local pub with great burgers that’s one of those ‘hidden gems’ in the area. It’s off the beaten track & many locals don’t even know it exists… but they SHOULD!
Rural City Beer Co. is set in a historic building with super-tall ceilings and really cool architectural details including a gorgeous bar. The food is your typical pub fare – Wings, Smash Burgers, Nachos & loaded Hippy Dogs. The staff is super friendly and the beers are terrific!
Doc & Bubba’s is a relatively new restaurant in the area. It’s an easy drive from Ephrata and it’s 100% worth driving a few extra miles to check this place out! /The restaurant has a large but cozy bar area and indoor dining with elegant atmosphere. The real treat however is the tented in “outdoor area” where you feel like you’re outside during cold or inclement weather, but you’re under cover & climate controlled when you need it. This area has lots of light, plants, water features & occasionally hosts live music. Best of all, the food and service are both fantastic. We highly recommend giving Doc & Bubba’s a try!
All that wonderful Ephrata food will give you enough energy to explore the Lancaster area, but can also make you want to go home and nap all afternoon! That’s when you need a comfy bed to sleep in. Come home to a cozy room at the Historic Smithton Inn and unwind for the rest of the day! Our charming accommodations are the perfect nest for you and your significant other.
Take our Red Rose Room for example! It’s ideal to relax in a historical setting while still enjoying access to modern comforts. Take full advantage of the beautiful glass rain shower, slip into one of our luxurious, complimentary robes, and snuggle by the fireplace with one of our special glasses of wine! Get a good night’s rest in your queen bed and wake up feeling fully energized. Did we mention our delicious homemade breakfast? Let’s just say it will turn any night owl into an early bird!
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