Hidden Gem Restaurants in Lancaster PA

June 20, 2023

101+ of The Best Lancaster PA Restaurants You’ve Never Heard Of

Patty Melt
Patty Melt from Cabalar

A couple years ago I posed the question on a foodie FaceBook group page, Lancaster County Take Out & Dining, “What are the GREAT restaurants around you that no one knows about?”.  The response was pretty fantastic and every single one of the restaurants that was called-out on that post can be found in the list below.

This list is all about those restaurants only the locals know about.  Maybe they’re on back roads that don’t get much traffic, maybe they’re small, maybe they’re super-niche.  Regardless the reason, there are a whole bunch of people in Lancaster County who think these hidden-gems should be more well known & popular than they are!

What’s ALSO on the list:

  • Some places that I felt were left off from everyone’s suggestions.
  • Some NEW places that have opened since the initial question was posed back in 2020.
  • A few places where you think to yourself, “EVERYONE knows that place!”. For example, Quips Pub is on the list.  And while we’ve all driven by Quips, and we’ve definitely heard of it… SO MANY people have never actually eaten 

What’s NOT on the list:

  • Did I miss something? Let me know!  The best thing about blogs is that they’re easy to edit!!
  • Restaurants that have closed! It was so sad to me to see the volume of great hidden gem restaurants that are no longer open.  Sure, Covid caused the demise of some… but that’s not the only reason.  A restaurant can only make it so long when prospective customers keep MEANING to try them out.

My biggest take away from putting this list together is that we all need to find a way to actively & consciously support local restaurants (and retail stores…). 

Some possible ways to support these Hidden Gem Restaurants:

  • Eat out at one restaurant you’ve never been to 1x per month.
  • Any time you eat at a favorite restaurant that’s a ‘hidden gem’, post about it on social media. Sure, it could become popular & busy… but that’s exactly what the owner needs to survive!  Keeping the secret to yourself won’t help you much if the restaurant goes under!
  • Drive further than you’re used to going for dinner, 1x per month. If you only eat out in a 10 mile radius of where you live, you’re probably missing out.
  • Grab a friend who always eats a the same-old-places and bring him/her to one of the restaurants on this list that neither of you have ever eaten before… then share it on social!

OK, enough talking… here’s the list, broken down by town… with Lancaster broken down further by “type” because there were so many great-but-not-known restaurants listed there.  Bon Appetite!!




Custom Bar at Decades

Horse Inn | 540 E Fulton St, Lancaster | Website

Conway Social Club | 28 E King St, Lancaster | Website

Quips Pub | 457 New Holland Ave, Lancaster | Website

The Fridge | 534 N Mulberry St, Lancaster | Website

Zoetropolis | 112 N Water St, Lancaster | Website

Decades | 438 N Queen St, Lancaster | Website

Big Dog Craft Brewing | 1559 Manheim Pike, Lancaster | Website

Our Town Brewery |  252 N Prince St, Lancaster | Website

Lancaster Dispensing Company (DipCo) | 33 - 35 N Market St, Lancaster | Website

American Bar & Grill | 1081 N Plum St, Lancaster | Website



Central-South American

chicken platter
Source: Frisco's facebook page

Chellas Arepa Kitchen (food truck) | 1830 Hempstead Rd, Lancaster | Website

Plaza Azteca | 1700 Fruitville Pike, Lancaster | Website

El Cubano | 33 Ranck Ave, Lancaster | Website

Frisco’s Chicken | 454 New Holland Ave, Lancaster | Website

Cocina Mexicana | 112 N Water St, Lancaster | Website

Gran Sabor Latino | 120 N Franklin St, Lancaster | Website

Flora’s | 306 N Mulberry St, Lancaster | Website

Tequila Mexican Grill & Bar | 109 Richmond Square, Lancaster | Website



Callaloo | 351 N Mulberry St, Lancaster | Website

Caribbean Wave | 701 E Chestnut St #3125, Lancaster | Website



Finazzos | 2121 New Holland Pike, Lancaster | Website

Valentino’s Café | 132 Rider Ave, Lancaster | Website

Pasquales | 1657 Old Philadelphia Pike, Lancaster | Website

House of Pizza | 23 W Chestnut St, Lancaster | Website



Nepalese dish
From Himalayan Curry & Grill's Facebook Page

Hong Kong Garden (Chinese) | 1807 Columbia Ave, Lancaster | Website

Himalayan Curry & Grill (Nepalese) | 22 E Orange St, Lancaster | Website

Onion’s Café (Korean) | 340 N Queen St, Lancaster | Website

Norbu (Bhutanese and Nepalese) | 38 N Christian St, Lancaster | Website


Middle Eastern

Tanzeel International | 798E New Holland Ave, Lancaster | Website



Neptune Diner | 924 N Prince St, Lancaster | Website

Central Manor Bakery & Grill | 3667 Blue Rock Rd, Lancaster | Website

George’s Kendig Square Restaurant | 2600 Willow Street Pike N #9388, Willow Street | Website

The Pantry Restaurant | 2715 Marietta Ave, Lancaster | Website

The Bread Peddler | 116 W Orange St, Lancaster | Website



Soft Shell Crab
Soft Shell Crab at Mr. Bill's

Mr. Bill’s Seafood  | 430 Harrisburg Ave, Lancaster | Website



Big Five African Cuisine | 630 N Plum St, Lancaster | Website


Fine Dining

John J. Jeffries | 300 Harrisburg Ave, Lancaster | Website

El Serrano | 2151 Columbia Ave, Lancaster | Website

C’est la Vie Lancaster | 18 N Market St, Lancaster | Website

Bistro Barbaret | 26 E King St, Lancaster | Website

Josephine’s | 50 W Grant St, Lancaster | Website

Citronnelle | 110 W Orange St, Lancaster | Website


Burgers / Sandwiches:

Route 66 Burgers!

Route 66 | 45 W Liberty St #2700, Lancaster | Website

Double C | 220 N Prince St, Lancaster | Website

Cabalar | 325 N Queen St, Lancaster | Website

Savory Truffle Lancaster | 398 Harrisburg Ave #250, Lancaster | Website

Blazin J's | 15 E King St, Lancaster | Website



coffee & crepe
Griddle & Grind Crepes & Coffee

Griddle & Grind | 20 W Main St, Ephrata | Website

Stonehouse Café | 2415 W Main St, Ephrata | Website

Nara Cafe | 415 E Main St, Ephrata | Website

Hills to the Sea Restaurant | 433 N Reading Rd, Ephrata | Website

DiMaria’s Pizza | 1278 Division Hwy, Ephrata | Website

3 Sisters Park | 119 E Main St, Ephrata | Website

La Borimex | 1623 Division Hwy, Ephrata | Website

Black Forest Brewery | 301 W Main St, Ephrata | Website

Olde Lincoln House Tavern | 1398 W Main St, Ephrata | Website

Javateas | 1 Dutchland Ave, Ephrata | Website

Little Nicki's | 1635 W Main St, Ephrata | Website

Tin Roof Cafe & Sweets | 108-I N, Reading Rd, Ephrata | Website

Wired Cup | 440 N Reading Rd, Ephrata | Website




Source: Tied House Facebook Page

Tied House | 27-31 E Main St, Lititz | Website

Brazilian Table | 26 E Main St, Lititz | Website

Café Arabella | 40 E Main St #1947, Lititz | Website

Picollo | 53 E Main St, Lititz | Website

Chilangos Authentic Mexican | 56 N Broad St, Lititz | Website

Brunnerville Hotel | 1301 Front St, Lititz | Website

Blackworth Live Fire Grill | 52 N Broad St, Lititz | Website

Bull's Head Public House | 14 E Main St, Lititz | Website

Per Diem | 50 Rock Lititz Blvd, Lititz | Website


Stevens / Denver / Reinholds / Reamstown:

The Penguin Hotel

The Penguin Hotel | 55 E Church Rd, Stevens | Website

Giovanni’s Pizza | 188 E Main St, Reinholds | Website

Castanedas | 323 Main St, Denver | Website

Courtyard Cafe | 349 Main St, Denver | Website

Rural City Beer | 6 N Reamstown Rd, Reamstown | Website

Johnny's Steakhouse & Kyma Seafood | 1640 N Reading Rd, Stevens


Boehringers Drive In (seasonal) | 13160 N Reading Rd, Adamstown | Website


Jack’s Family Tavern | 15 S Prince St, Millersville | Website

Copper Hill Public House | 1 Crossland Ps, Millersville | Website



Hinkles Restaurant | 261 Locust St, Columbia | Website

Rocky’s BBQ | 28 N 3rd St, Columbia | Website

Columbia Family Restaurant | 3985 Columbia Ave, Columbia | Website

Griddles Malt Shop | 315 Locust St, Columbia | Website

Cafe 301 Food Truck | Mobile, but primarily Columbia-Area | Website


Railroad House Inn | 280 W Front St, Marietta | Website

McCleary’s Public House | 130 W Front St, Marietta | Website

Shanks Tavern | 36 S Waterford Ave, Marietta | Website

River Trail Brewing | 40 E Front St, Marietta | Website



The Shack (seasonal) | 662 S Oak St, Manheim | Website

Cat’s Meow | 215 S Charlotte St, Manheim | Website

Radazzo's Italian Restaurant | 1981 State Rd, Manheim | Website

Twisted Sister's Ice Cream & Handmade Chocolates | 47 N Main St, Manheim | Website

Artiface Ales & Mead | 55 N Main St, Manheim | Website



Miss Callee’s Eats & Treats | 329 Main St, Salunga-Landisville | Website

Jake's on Main | 188 Main St, Salunga-Landisville | Website


Square Mile Public House | 14 W Main St #1632, Mountville | Website


East Petersburg:

Mad Chef | 2023 Miller Rd, East Petersburg | Website



Conestoga Wagon Restaurant | 2961 Main St, Conestoga | Website


Strasburg / Ronks:

Café 1832 (at Strasburg Railroad) | 305 Gap Rd, Ronks | Website

Fireside Tavern | 1500 Historic Dr, Strasburg | Website

Speckled Hen | 141 E Main St, Strasburg | Website

Route 30 Diner | 2575 E Lincoln Hwy, Ronks | Website

Agape Cafe & Grill | 366 Hartman Bridge Rd, Ronks | Website


Hudson Botanical Café | 2433A Old Philadelphia Pike, Smoketown | Website


Black Gryphon | 54 Mt Gretna Rd, Elizabethtown | Website




Gracie’s on Main | 264 W Main St, Leola | Website


New Holland:

Palermo’s | 351 W Main St, New Holland | Website

Dutch Country Pretzels | 2758-1 Division Hwy, New Holland | Website

Lickety Split | 209 E Main St, New Holland | Website



Frogtown Café | 684 Marticville Rd, Pequea | Website



Outside of Lancaster (but not that far!)



The Brickhouse Pub | 1348 Brooke Blvd, Reading | Website


Mount Gretna:

Timbers  | 350 Timber Rd, Mt Gretna | Website

Porch and Pantry | 106 Chautauqua Dr, Mt Gretna | Website



Hallamshire Restaurant | 480 W Market St, Hallam | Website



Post House Restaurant | 2458 Baltimore Pike E, Nottingham | Website


Spend the Night at a Hidden Gem Bed and Breakfast – the Historic Smithton Inn

Lancaster PA Bed and Breakfast The thing about bed and breakfasts that’s different from traditional hotels or even AirBnBs is that the owner is actually involved, available and engaged with their overnight guests.  At the Historic Smithton Inn, you’ll meet the innkeeper each morning at breakfast where you’ll be served a delicious freshly cooked meal. This is typically the time when guests ask for help figuring out what to do during the day (if they need it).  We’re absolutely happy to help you explore the myriad of fun things there are to do in Lancaster (just like we’re helping you find these hidden-gem restaurants)!!

table and bed
Smithton Loft

Then come back to your well-appointed guest room or suite (we have 9 to choose from!) for a relaxing night’s sleep.  Every guest room has either a queen or king bed, working fireplace, private in-room bathroom, large flat screen TV and fast/reliable WiFi.  Click here to see photos of all the rooms.

If you stay with us over a weekend you can visit our own HIDDEN GEM, Weathered Vineyards Ephrata wine bar, with live music performed every weekend (Friday & Saturday from 5-8 pm).  Guests can enjoy appetizers or a light meal along with their choice of wine, craft beer or craft cocktails.  Fun fact:  Weathered Vineyards Ephrata was voted “Best Winery 2023” by the readers of Susquehanna Style Magazine!

CLICK HERE to see rates and availability.


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