Hungry in Harrisburg: A community blog

Join recent transplant Joelle Shea as she discovers food in central Pennsylvania for the first time. Get information on the restaurants she tries, as well as recipes and cooking tips.

A newcomer’s first observations about food in Central PA

Written by Joelle Shea, Community blogger | Apr 24, 2012 8:17 PM

Part of what I hope to contribute here at WITF is a look at the food in our region through a fresh set of eyes. My husband and I just moved here last year from the DC area, and we have been at times thrilled, perplexed, disappointed and blissfully content with what Central PA has to offer. 

So to kick us off, I want to bring to your attention a couple of traits of dining in Central PA that are totally foreign to outsiders (or, at least, to the sample population of me and The Husband):

1.  East Shore/West Short Rivalry – I'm not from the area, so I have no East Shore/West Shore baggage to carry around with me. The Market Street Bridge is only about 1,400 ft. long, yet for some people it would take an act of God to get them to visit the opposite shore. I've learned that if you live on the East Shore, you've probably never roamed the aisles of Wegmans or checked out Josie's German Market. And now I'm looking at you, West Shore. If you won't cross over, you've missed out on the candies and nuts at Zimmerman's and the offerings of the Broad Street Market.

Here's another reason to rid yourself of your East Shore/West Shore blinders: these two shores are like two lungs, we need them both to breathe. If we don't support businesses on BOTH sides of the Susquehanna, the whole area suffers.

And if you are going to continue to encourage this enmity, there should at least be some sporting event a la The Hunger Games to entertain us all. 

2. BYOBs –The rest of the world doesn't live like this. You can just pack up a bottle of wine to bring with you to dinner, saving tons of money along the way. Bottles of wine are marked up 100-200% in restaurants, and you, fine people of PA, do not have to take part in that scheme.  What a way to live! It does take some getting used to, though, as my husband and I have had several accidentally "dry" dinners because we forget that every establishment won't be able to serve us booze.  Also, it's taken us a while to get used to buying alcohol at a separate store, but that's for another day.

And so, those are my first observations about eating in Central PA after being here a matter of months. I can't wait to write about restaurants, food and cooking in upcoming posts. Is there any restaurant in particular you'd like to hear about? What about a food or cooking question? Is there a place you'd recommend to someone newly settled in the area?

Just leave a note in the comment section, and welcome to Hungry in Harrisburg!

Published in Hungry in Harrisburg: A community blog

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