If you’re planning a visit to Hershey and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the many excellent restaurants in the area. Here are a few of my favorites.
And if you’re looking for lodging suggestions, read on to the end!
I had an amazing brunch with friends at Cafe 1500, located in midtown Harrisburg. The delicious food was punctuated by a bright, bustling atmosphere, fantastic cocktails and excellent service.
We stared with mimosas – because how else would you begin brunch? – until a server passed with a tray of Bloody Marys. I’m not a Bloody Mary drinker, but I loved looking at it and my friends told me it was perfectly spicy and savory.
When the food was served, we had a lot of variety at our table. I ordered the Egg BLAT: bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato with a fried egg and jalapeno aioli. It was fresh and tasty with a side of crispy hand-cut fries. I also sampled the Cafe 1500 Benedict, the creamy cheddar grits, the huevos rancheros, and the incredible french toast bread pudding bites with a bourbon-maple glaze.
With tons of window light and an industrial-chic décor, Cafe 1500 is open for brunch, lunch and dinner. And I hear they have a great happy hour with some unique cocktails.
Tröegs Independent Brewing
Tröegs Independent Brewing is an experience, not just a restaurant. It’s a full production brewery where you can tour, taste, eat, and then shop at their General Store. There’s even a small art gallery to enjoy.
Its large, open-industrial eating area is known as the “Tasting Room / Snack Bar.” At first glance, it seems like there’s low emphasis on the food. When you are seated, a server will come for your beer order, but you have to walk back to the snack bar to order your food. You’ll get a beeper so you can pick it up when it’s ready.
But “Snack Bar” is an understatement because the food here is rich and delicious. I had a crispy grilled cheese with a side of luscious tomato soup. Our table of friends ordered several snacks to share and I loved the Spicy Tempura Cauliflower. Their french fries with spicy ketchup were also outstanding.
Tröegs offers several in-depth, guided tours of the brewery, or you can follow a self-guided tour path. I found the self-guided tour to be excellent and informative, with details painted playfully on the windows looking into the brewery.
While this is a restaurant review, I do need to mention the beer at Tröegs is fantastic. They have so many unique offerings. Their “Scratch Beer” series offers a constantly changing variety of small-batch brews – their way of testing out some of their wildest dreams. If you like beer (even a little), don’t miss Tröegs Independent Brewing.
Harvest at The Hotel Hershey
Harvest is a beautiful restaurant with sweeping views and food inspired by local and regional ingredients. Family-friendly, but still perfect for a romantic evening, Harvest offers American cuisine kicked up a notch.
Take, for example, the potato skins. Not your average skins, but treated with braised beef short ribs, monterey jack cheese, and pickled onions. Combine those skins with a blackberry lemon mule cocktail, and I died and went to heaven.
For my entree, I had the Pittsburgh Salad. This mesclun mix salad is topped with thin strips of skirt steak and shoestring french fries, and it’s an absolutely perfect meal. I have only seen this salad once before – in Pittsburgh – and I was happy to find it again at Harvest!
The Bears Den
Located in the Hershey Lodge, the Bears Den is a sports bar with a hockey-rink atmosphere in honor of the local Hershey Bears team. Sports fans will love the 28 HD TVs and one enormous 7′ x 12′ TV. The night we visited, my son parked himself right in front of that big screen so he could keep an eye on his fantasy football players. He was in heaven.
I was in heaven testing out some of the delicious chocolate martini recipes. It was hard to choose between options like the Frozen Chocolate Buzz Martini and the Hershey’s Special Dark Martini. Ultimately, the Peppermint Patty won out. It was fantastic.
The Bears Den offers classic American fare. Burgers, sandwiches, and salads dominate the menu. We gobbled down nachos for an appetizer and savored juicy burgers for dinner.
Located in midtown Harrisburg, The Millworks is a restaurant, brewery, and art space. Much of the interior has been built from reclaimed wood and brick, giving it a warm, historic vibe. Their menu changes seasonally and is largely based on what local farmers have to offer.
I enjoyed my chicken sandwich lunch, but the real highlight was walking through the art galleries where local artists can be found creating and selling their work. You’ll find paintings, jewelry, soap and more.
The Millworks has a rooftop beirgarten, a great bar, and an outdoor courtyard when the weather is nice. I’m not a huge beer fan, but I loved their Cherry Berry Gose and bought some to take home.
Greystone Public House
The original stone building at Greystone Public House was built in 1798 by Godfrey Fritchey, one of Harrisburg’s earliest settlers. Fritchey designed the house to resemble his former home in Bavaria. In 1805, Fritchey obtained a liquor license to operate Fritchey Tavern.
While some of the smaller rooms characteristic of this type of tavern have been opened up to provide large spaces, the restaurant still keeps much of its history and feels like a “house.” My friends and I ate upstairs in a small room that gave us privacy and a very intimate feel.
The food at Greystone is excellent. My group shared raw oysters and a unique vegetable platter. My entree was a rich, tender braised short rib. For dessert I savored the Double Fudge Cast Iron Brownie with white chocolate peppermint ice cream.
Greystone Public House is open for lunch and dinner and also offer a Sunday brunch.
One thing I’ve noticed about eating in the Hershey-Harrisburg area is that almost every restaurant looks to local sources for their food. With such rich farming land all around, it’s so nice to know the chefs take advantage of it.
Char’s at Tracy Mansion
If you are looking for a cozy, intimate, incredible meal with your significant other or group of friends, Char’s Restaurant at Tracy Mansion is the place. For ambiance, Char’s gets 100% in my book.
Tracy Mansion was built in 1913 and has been a home, a hospital, a mental health facility, and now a fine dining establishment. It is located on North Front Street in Harrisburg with beautiful views of the Susquehanna River. It’s many rooms – the bar, the gallery, the library, and the dining room – showcase the mansion’s beauty along with murals, sculpture art and Char’s handmade jewelry.
Again, my friends and I shared a variety of appetizers before our main entrees. Char’s General Tso Cauliflower with fried rice was one of my favorite bites of the weekend. I also enjoyed their pomme frites with truffle oil and roasted garlic aioli.
For my entree, I had a bacon-wrapped beef entree that was so delicious, I didn’t even photograph it. And I don’t remember an exact description of what it was. Though that might have something to do with the two very strong lemon drop martinis I drank…
My experience at Bricco in Harrisburg was out of the ordinary. Thanks to Visit Hershey & Harrisburg, my friends and I were treated to a chef’s table experience with six courses and wine pairings.
Seated directly in front of the kitchen, we watched Chef Jared Upperman prepare and present six courses:
- Madhouse oysters with smoked serrano butter
- Boston Bibb lettuce with candied walnuts, apples, and gorgonzola cheese
- Spinach, red pepper, and parmesan ravioli
- Antarctic salmon with fennel, leek, and potato brodie
- Sous vide lamb rack with cherry glaze, broccoli rabe and delicata squash
- Candied walnuts, quince paste, and local cheeses
Bricco was probably my favorite meal in Harrisburg. The food was exquisite. The spinach, red pepper and parmesan ravioli was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted and I wanted a huge bowl of it! My only disappointment was the final course. I really wanted to top that meal off with a sweet dessert that included chocolate.
You can reserve your Table at Bricco experience here. But if you’re just looking for a nice night out with fantastic Mediterranean-Italian cuisine (and I hear they make a mean pizza!), check out Bricco.
Read more: Did you know the Hershey-Harrisburg area has wonderful wineries and breweries with all kinds of special events and fun activities happening year-round? You can read more about the vineyards in Hershey-Harrisburg here.
Where to Stay in Hershey-Harrisburg
There are many hotels to choose from in the area, from budget to luxury. Here are three that I’ve stayed in and can recommend.
The Hershey Lodge goes all-on on its chocolate theme. We were greeted with Hershey Kisses on our pillows and bedside table. In the bathroom, we found more Kisses on the wallpaper and imprinted in the soap. And the cocoa-infused shampoo, conditioner, and lotion made me feel like I was bathing in fudge – in a good way.
The lobby and huge fireplace provide a warm, rustic, lodge feeling. And there are several restaurants in the hotel, as well as activities for the kids. Read more in my review of the Hershey Lodge.
Hershey Lodge is just minutes from Hershey attractions. We could see the Hersheypark roller coasters from our room! They also offer a free shuttle to help you get around town if you don’t want to drive.
Best Western Premier – The Central Hotel & Conference Center
The Best Western Premier Central is a good location if you’ll be visiting Hershey and Harrisburg. We had a suite with two queen beds, a king bed in a separate room, and a large bathroom/dressing area. It was a great size for my family of four and gave my two teenagers space to themselves.
The large lobby is nicely decorated and accented with Hershey Kisses. My family also enjoyed dinner and a great buffet breakfast at the attached restaurant, O’Reilly’s.
I do suggest requesting an outside room, though. Our suite overlooked the indoor pool and our room had a pretty strong chlorine smell.
Crowne Plaza Harrisburg
The Crowne Plaza Harrisburg is in a great downtown location. It’s within walking distance of the Susquehanna River, the State Capitol Complex and restaurants Bricco and Char’s. The hotel is also just a few minutes drive to The Millworks, Cafe 1500, Riverfront Park, and more.
I had a comfortable, quiet room and enjoyed the Starbucks in the lobby.
These restaurant and hotel suggestions should help you get started on planning your own visit to Hershey-Harrisburg. Here are a few more ideas for what to do in the area:
I was a guest of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg to facilitate my review of these restaurants and hotels. All opinions are my own.