16 Central Pennsylvania Places to Get Great Burgers (Including Meatless) and Hot Dogs | Mimi’s picks
Sometimes burgers are best eaten on someone else’s deck. Kick back and relax at these local hotspots and let them toss and turn on the grill. I’ve included a few “Impossible Burger” options in this list. These plant-based patties taste remarkably similar to the real thing. And I never thought I’d say this, but Red Robin makes the most delicious version of these fake meat burgers. Also check out the others on this list.
Food 101101 Chambersburg Street, Gettysburg, 717-334-6080
The locals don’t want you to know about this super cool local cafe. The place does not take reservations and there is often a wait at the door. Look no further than The Burger ($15.50), an 8oz Angus prime rib and ground beef brisket patty, patted and cooked to perfection. Smoked cheddar, caramelized onion, roasted garlic aioli and applewood-smoked bacon are also found under the brioche roll. It will wow your taste buds.
Parkside Hotel3 E. Derry Road, Hershey,
Renovations have softened and refined this once smoky dive bar across from Hersheypark. The small eatery with a people-watching porch is known for its smoked pork barbecue and pit beef sandwiches made on Kaiser buns with squirts of horseradish sauce. The ½-pound grilled Black Angus burgers ($11.50) include massive amounts of fresh-cut fries. Twin Coney Island Hot Dogs ($8) protrude from both ends of the bun. Pass around a basket of crunchy, golden beer-coated onion rings ($7.50) with a spicy chipotle dip.
At Dave & Buster, Capital City Mall, 3503 Capital City Mall Dr., Camp Hill, 717-934-4400
Dig your teeth into these juicy flame-grilled burgers ($12.50 to $15.50). The Mushroom Stout Burger is a double handle, featuring a patty of fatty beef, cremini mushrooms sautéed in butter and caramelized onions, a rich bacon jam and a cushion of Guinness-style dipped and seared mozzarella . Never mind the over 1000 calories you will need to burn playing one of the arcade games.
Iron Hill Restaurant and Brewery101 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey Towne Square, 717-312-5164
The uplifting and gregarious bar and restaurant are so new and inviting that it’s impossible to walk in and find a seat without a reservation on weekends. The beers are good, especially the ever-popular and hoppy Lap Bar IPA, but this place is also known for offering decent and different pub fare, such as the best-selling pub burger ($16.95). The burger patty is grilled to perfection. If you like them rare, you’ll love this crimson patty topped with crispy bacon strips, grilled onions and smoked cheeses. Ask them to toast the bread.
Babe’s Grill House & Sports Bar, 312 E. Main St, Palmyra, 717-838-8200
In warm weather, the best seat in the house is outside on the enclosed patio next to the stacked stone fireplace. For a neighborhood sports bar, menu items are inventive and comforting, like the mushroom truffle burger ($19), tumbling with local truffle-flavored mushrooms. Swiss fondue and roasted garlic aioli punctuate this succulent pack of burgers.
Rookies Burger Bar, 2238 Derry Street, Harrisburg, 717-561-0030
“The best burger in town” is their truthful motto. Half a pound of fresh (not frozen) Angus beef makes up these huge patties with crispy edges. If you really want to go crazy, try tackling the Double Dribble ($17.99), which is two half-pound burger patties smothered in three cheeses. Wear your favorite jerseys and watch the football on the flat-screen TVs while munching on the Touchdown, which features blue cheese and hot sauce.
Artisanal cuisine and Ad Lib bar, 1 N. Second St, Harrisburg, 717-237-6400
The succulent Ad Lib burger ($16) is on the dinner menu. Beneath its sturdy sea salt pretzel roll, you’ll find a hand-grilled burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Vermont cheddar cheese.
The Jackson House1004 N. Sixth St, Harrisburg, 717-238-2730
The Jackson House is always a no-brainer in the quest for the best burgers in the area. Grilled burgers give off barbecue smells in the garden of this longtime legislative hideout. Patrons in business suits and those in T-shirts and jeans converge at lunchtime to gulp down mouth-watering burgers licked off the grill with bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.
burger yum, 400 N. Second St., Harrisburg, 717-727-7127
A halo of misty smoke lingers over the open kitchen here like during a barbecue in the garden. BurgerYum cooks are encouraged to press down on the meat as it cooks, resulting in very juicy charcoal-crusted patties (single $4.99, double $5.99). The special “Yum” sauce adds a final touch of rich and tangy flavor to these “delicious” burgers prepared on Martin’s potato buns. The hand-cut fries are $2.95 and the all-natural beef dog is $3.97. This affordable burger shop is probably the only place that hasn’t raised prices in the past five years.
Culhane Steakhouse, 1 Laurel Road, New Cumberland, 717-938-0930
You’ve probably passed Culhane’s Steak House hundreds of times en route to and from Maryland via I-83. Next time, leave exit 36 and head into the parking lot of this long-standing family establishment. Since 1956, Culhane’s has been luring customers with excellent, affordable Midwestern steaks hand-cut by an in-house butcher, as well as delicious burgers. My favorite here is the western burger, 1/2 pound of freshly ground beef topped with thin, crispy homemade onion rings, barbecue sauce, bacon and cheddar cheese.
Ted Bar & Grill, 7300 Allentown Blvd, Harrisburg, 717-652-3832
The premium half pound Angus beef burgers here are phenomenal. Try the Rise and Shine burger ($10.99), with a runny fried egg and bacon tucked under the bun. Cooked the way customers like it, from rare to well done, their signature burgers are loaded with ingredients. One thing is certain, these pancakes do not come out of the freezer.
Mount Gretna Craft Brewery and Red Canoe General Store, 2701 Horseshoe Pike, Palmyra, 717-838-3545
Drive east along Route 322 to Campbelltown’s historic Leed’s Corner (Route 117 and Route 322) to discover this local secret. Be sure to order the small ales made on site, as well as the local pub fare when seated. Rustic-industrial decor runs the length of the open restaurant. Fat and juicy double fist burgers and the best hand cut fries you’ve ever had await you here. The house specialty, the locally sourced farmhouse artisan burger ($17.50), is spiked with smoked bacon, onion fries and beer cheese.
Red Robin gourmet burgers and beers, 6560 Carlisle Pike Suite #450, Mechanicsburg, 717-766-5400
Park at any Red Robin and park at one of the curbside2go locations. Call the number on the sign, place your order and within 10-15 minutes a waiter appears with your takeout bag. For an additional cost, Impossible Burger Patties can replace any of the fresh Angus beef burgers listed under the gourmet burger headings. Except for a slightly spongy texture, the plant patty looks, tastes and smells like a regular meat patty. Arrived ready to eat in your vehicle, the burgers are wrapped in paper halfway up.
at Flinchy, 1833 Hummel Ave, Camp Hill, 717-761-9000
Celebrate on the terrace on the busy terrace. A train whistle brightens up the patio with good humor. Delicious 8oz Certified Angus Beef Burgers are grilled just the way you like them, from the Chesapeake burger with a lumpy crab cake on a beef patty, to a unique plant-based Beyond Burger topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, sliced avocado and bean sprouts. Siracha mayonnaise gives this meatless burger its spicy side.
Duke’s Bar & Grill West, 5302 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg, 717-478-3853
Dukes Bar & Grille West doesn’t have a view of the river like Dukes Riverside Bar & Grille in Wormleysburg, but it does have Route 581 and the all-important Carlisle Pike, which directs customers to this restaurant. There’s so much on the menu it’s mind boggling trying to decide what to order. Stick to what they do best here – fresh wood-fired 1/2 pound black Angus burgers with the Crisfield burger ($16) slathered in house crab dip, ham, pepper jack and cheddar cheeses.
blue sky tavern, 895 Old Trail Road, Etters, 717-822-0500
Blue Sky Tavern is an easy downgrade from I-83 on Old Trail Road. This rustic and popular drinking hole attracts a lively bar scene of beer, cider and seltzer lovers who choose from dozens of draft, can and bottled choices. The long bar counter, the huge fireplace and the wooden furniture enhance the cozy and friendly setting. Descend to the ground floor in the cavernous Honky Tonk living room, framed by exposed stone walls and dark wooden beams. High seats line the bar counter in front of numerous draft and craft beer selections. Live bands frequent the upper and lower levels of the building and karaoke, open mic and trivia take to the stage when scheduled bands aren’t playing. Angus burgers, like the Yo Mamma burger ($15) made with bacon and peanut butter and colossal, crispy, breaded onion rings, are the go-to menu choices.