Several of my friends have commented on what they see as the difficulty of finding Pennsylvania Dutch restaurants on the state's roads and byways. When I did a post on Roadside America at Shartlesville recently a friend asked me to find out whether the (to her) lovingly remembered Shartlesville Inn still survived--she had had numerous pleasant meals there.
Well, it's gone; and so--my informant told me--are several other family-style Pennsylvania Dutch restaurants. As if to emphasize the point, another friend told of having a desire for some Pennsylvania Dutch food, and stopping at a restaurant called the Conrad Weiser. Under the current owners, it was a Thai restaurant with a famous old Pennsylvania German name. My friend is flexible where food is concerned, and after the initial surprise I am sure he enjoyed his meal very much. It just wasn't what he had expected.
But is the situation really as Pennsylvania-Dutch-Food-Free as it seems (to some) to be? Or are people just looking in the wrong places? It shouldn't be a surprise that some of the old places are gone. Everything is mortal, after all; and restaurants are more mortal than most things. To keep them alive seems to require both extraordinary skill and miraculous luck.
I decided to use my computer to try to determine where you can get a complete Pennsylvania Dutch sit-down meal while you are traveling in our Commonwealth. I'm going to get off to a slow start, because I am not just going to throw urls at my readers. I'm checking each to make sure it's still in business, and has not gone to internet never-never land. Oh, and by the way, if you know of a good restaurant in the Dutch category, please let me know.
For my early restaurant suggestions, I have picked The Willows at 1935 E. Willow Lane, East Texas (a hamlet in Lower Macungie Twp. west of Allentown). This restaurant suffered serious damage a few years ago, I think from a flood. When you look at a picture of it, it lacks the ambience of, say, a Pennsylvania farm kitchen; but under the circumstances that isn't surprising. It has survived, and as far as I know it's got a fine reputation. For hours and other information, phone The Willows at 610-928-1101.
Next there is Die Deitsch Eck (The Dutch Corner) at 87 Pine St., Lenhartsville. This once was the Washington Hotel, and does seem, from its pictures, to have that old, Dutch country ambience. To learn more, call 610-562-8520.
Finally--at least for this post--there's the one you can't call, because it doesn't have a phone. That's because it is an Amish farmstead, the Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant. Abram Stoltzfus bought the place in 1929, and managed to hold onto it right through the Great Depression. In 1968 his son Amos began offering meals to visitors, and that was the beginning of the restaurant.
The Amish continue to use technology as little as they need to; and no doubt this is the reason for the lack of a phone.
To compensate for that lack, the Stoltzfuses have an amazingly detailed, informative, and interesting web site. You learn the history of the family and the place; the hours, the prices. You are given menus and recipes. You are told the address two ways: Stoltzfus's is 1/4 mile east of Intercourse on Route 772. The GPS address is 3716 E. Newport Rd., Gordonville, PA 17529.
Unfortunately, the website says the restaurant is closed from December through March. I am not sure that means it is closed right now, or will close December 31.
Why not check to see what you think? The url is www.stoltzfusfarmrestaurant.com