By Peggy Mazyck
The holidays are just around the corner. It’s a great time to uncover authentic, mouth-watering local food offerings in Mercer County PA. In addition to countless holiday events and festive main streets, the foodie experience is enticing. The atmosphere here is energetic, but without stress and traffic congestion of the city, and the parking is free. So visitors love to come to Mercer County to eat, sip, and relax. Plan your visit to coincide with holiday magic taking place in each downtown. Here are five reasons you should head to Mercer County PA to experience foodie paradise.
The Mercer County area is home to eight family-owned wineries producing premium wines. Enjoy personal service, tastings, and special events throughout the holiday season. Sample their wines and see for yourself that each offers a truly unique experience. Most offer entertainment on the weekend. The list includes Conneaut Cellars Winery & Distillery, Fractured Grape Wine Cellars, Knockin Noggin, Lago Winery, Nova Cellars Winery, Volant Mill Winery, Webb Winery and Wilhelm Winery.
New Kids in Town
The micro-brewing scene is growing with five open for business and two more in the works. Each of our breweries has their own distinctive atmosphere, and the same could be said of their beer. In addition to great hand-crafted beer, enjoy a wide selection of sandwiches, burgers, artisan pizza and small plate items. Specialty taprooms include Brew 32, Brewtus Brewing Company, Mortals Key Brewing Company, Stone Church Pizza House and Brewpub, and TimberCreek Tap and Table.
Some places never go off the bucket list of travelers who believe a great trip is about the journey . . . to their favorite restaurant. Meat lovers savor the premium steaks, ribs, and seafoods at Cannon’s Chophouse. The Springfield Restaurant Group (Iron Bridge Inn, Rachel’s Roadhouse, Hickory Bar and Grille) have set the standard for quality and service since 1979. Take a walk down memory lane at Donna’s Diner, an old-fashioned ‘50s diner, or check out the motor sports-themed atmosphere of the original Quaker Steak & Lube. For outstanding Sicilian specialties, heavenly desserts, and delicious cappuccinos, try Nonni’s Corner Trattoria. J Hicks on the Square features fine food, while 18 taps pour some of the country’s finest craft beer. Experience the Caribbean flair at Haitian Sensation; a traditional British Pub at Elephant Castle Pub and Restaurant; or the finest German drinks and food at Apollo Maennerchor of Sharon, PA. Tasty traditional American fare is enjoyed at Talbot’s Tap Room & Terrace and The Cornerstone 1908.
Fresh Grounds Coffee House and Café offers an amazing variety of homemade baked goods, coffees, chocolates and teas, in addition to smoothies and other cold drinks. Ice cream, old fashioned sodas and malts never go out of season at Mercer Mercantile & Soda Shoppe; Sweet Jeannies or Cravings Café and Creamery. For delicious cupcakes, turnovers and pies place a stop at The Bake Shoppe on your must do list.
Atmosphere and Imagination
The Bent Fork mixes the love of art with simple and delicious dishes. The owners of the Bent Fork built their restaurant almost entirely from recycled materials. The results are an amazing fusion of art and function. Their theme is, “We take the time to make your meal the hard way because we believe a meal should be both rich in quality AND quantity.” Stonewall’s Tavern at Tara- A Country Inn is one of three restaurants in a luxury mansion themed after the movie “Gone With the Wind.” The inn showcases elegant gardens and stunning antiques throughout the yards and mansion. Tara is the ultimate in world-class country inns.
A unique member to the downtown Sharon Culinary Experience is Thyme In The Kitchen. This culinary boutique offers cooking classes for all cooks, from novice to expert. Local chefs lead participants through the process of preparing a meal to be enjoyed at the end of the class. There is something to delight everyone’s palate and meet everyone’s cooking skills, from beginner basics to French pastries, Turkish delicacies to Indonesian specialties. So gather a group of friends and sign up to prepare your own special meal at Thyme In The Kitchen. This is great way to learn a new recipe, make friends, and enjoy a great meal.