Fairgrounds Diner – Carlisle

On Tuesday July 27, 2010 we traveled to Carlisle to visit the Fairgrounds Diner at 1111 Spring Road. The parking lot was packed and there were even a lot of cars parked on the street. The place was very busy, we were lucky to get a spot. It was nice inside, up to date, not too fancy but nice. Right away of course Craig knew the waitress, Bonnie, who was just super! We ordered our usual eggs, home fries and sides, which arrived in a little under 10 minutes. Pretty good food, plenty of home fries, normal size plates and yes, they had toast! Bonnie explained that they did a great morning business during the week because they run a $1.69 special. They also open at 5AM on car show weekends. We were pleased with our meals and this was a place we would visit again. They also play music ( country ) which was a nice change.

Category        Bill       Craig

Eggs                   2               3

Potatoes             2             2

Sides                   3               3

Drinks                 2               2

Service               3               3

Cleanliness         2              2

Atmosphere        2              2

Totals             16 / 21          17/21

The total for our meal was $11.34, in our medium range.

Cracker Barrel – Mechanicsburg

On Tuesday July 20, 2010 we found ourselves at the Cracker Barrel, located at 395 Cumberland Parkway in Mechanicsburg. The restaurant is nice, plenty of parking, attractive building and the interior is decorated in a very rustic, old time way. In other words, it’s another cookie cutter chain store that looks just like all the other Cracker Barrel restaurants. The gift shop is pretty amazing and usually the food is pretty good, home style cooking. We scanned the menu which didn’t exactly have what we usually order. Most of the breakfasts had either grits or biscuits and gravy rather than home fries. We finally settled on 2 eggs, home fries instead of grits, sausage links and biscuits and gravy instead of toast. I don’t know why we got biscuits, I just can’t believe that a restaurant that serves breakfast doesn’t have toast…Anyway, the waitress was nice, the food took about 10 minutes to come out, and it looked pretty tasty but overall the breakfast seemed kind of small, the home fries amounted to an ice cream scoop of shredded potatoes, the eggs weren’t overly large and the three sausage links weren’t exactly giants. The sausage was a little spicy, but good. It was a new experience for us to dip our eggs with a biscuit and I missed the toast. The total for our meal was $17.63, the highest we have paid for breakfast at any place that wasn’t a buffet. Don’t get us wrong, the Cracker Barrel can be a great place to eat, but unless you really like grits or biscuits and gravy there are much better conventional breakfasts out there for a much better price.

Category                       Bill                        Craig

Eggs                                 2                                 2

Potatoes                           1                                1

Sides                                2                                   2

Drinks                              2                                   2

Service                           2                                     2

Cleanliness                    2                                     2

Atmosphere                   2                                    2

Totals                         13 / 21                       13/21

The total for our meal was $17.73.

Local Restaurants Score Low in Technology, Social Networking

A good article in Readers Digest about restaurants and the internet / modern technology:  http://www.rd.com/home-garden/13-ways-your-restaurant-may-be-using-technology-to-woo-you/article183284.html

After reading it, I looked up all 26 West Shore restaurants that we have reviewed. The results are very disappointing. Here are some of the results:

Only 4 restaurants had a web site, and they were the big chains: Denny’s, Chick-Fil-A, Waffle House. Iron Skillet can be found under Petro Truck Stops. No locally owned places with a site.

Only 2 restaurants had a page on Facebook. Silver Springs Diner has a small fan page, Summerdale Diner has a fan page with over 900 members.

Few if any local places have taken the time to claim their business on Google and fill in their hours, etc.

Chick-Fil-A is the only place we have reviewed that offers Wi-Fi.

Hi Life! Diner – Mechanicsburg

On Tuesday July 13, 2010 we decided to try a new place that had just opened a few days before. It’s the Hi Life! Diner at 4890 Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg. This is the former location of Ruby Tuesday’s at the Hampden Center (near Karns and the movie theaters). The new owners completely remodeled the place, both inside and out. Fresh paint on the outside, all new flooring, booths and lighting on the inside. Also 2 big screen TV’s for your entertainment while you eat. They had a lot of employees on hand, but as we sat there the customers kept coming in, so they were ready. We had a really nice waitress whom Craig knew from somewhere else, man he knows someone everywhere we go! So we ordered our usual breakfast of eggs, home fries, toast and sausage for Craig, bacon for me. The meals came out in a reasonable time and looked pretty good. Nice size plates, a large size coke for me and plenty of coffee refills for Craig. The eggs were perfect, the bacon was good. The home fries were good too. We looked at the dinner menu too (it’s a 24 hour diner by the way) and it looked pretty good, entree’s between $10 and $15. Overall, we had a nice breakfast at a new place and the price was $14.63 for two, right in the middle of our medium range. We were happy with the meal and would eat there again. The new owners did a great job of remodeling and it appears that the Hi Life Diner will be a fixture in Mechanicsburg for quite some time.

Category                     Bill                                Craig

Eggs                              3                                      3

Potatoes                        2                                    2

Sides                              3                                      3

Drinks                            2                                     2

Service                          2                                      3

Cleanliness                   2                                      2

Atmosphere                  3                                     3

Totals                           17 / 21                     18/21

Our breakfast for two cost $14.63, which is in our medium range. Check our scorecard page to see how this place ranks with others that we’ve reviewed.

Marie’s Cafe – Camp Hill

On Tuesday July 6, 2010 we cruised up the Carlisle Pike and stopped in at Marie’s Cafe, located at 4401 Carlisle Pike in St John’s Place (plaza). It was a very quaint little cafe, open from 7AM to 2PM for breakfast and lunch. It was nicely decorated and seemed very clean and homey. We ordered our usual breakfast of 2 eggs, home fries and sausage ( I had ham today). It took about 10 minutes, but Marie’s is a pretty comfy place to sit and the time flew by. Marie herself brought our food to the table, introduced herself and welcomed us on our first visit. The food was good, perfect eggs, home style home fries and tasty sausage patty. We liked this place a lot! They had counter seating for 12, plus 2 high top tables for two in the front window and then about 6 tables for up to 4 people. We both agreed that we would visit here again. Breakfast for two came to $16.01.

Category                                 Bill                         Craig

Eggs                                          3                                 3 

Potatoes                                    3                               3

Sides                                         2                                  2

Drinks                                       2                                  2

Service                                      2                                  3

Cleanliness                              2                                  2

Atmosphere                             3                                 3

Totals                                    17 / 21                       18/21

Breakfast for two cost us $16.01, in our medium price range. Check out the Scorecard page to see how this restaurant compares to others we have visited.

Marie’s Cafe was the 25th restaurant that we have reviewed.