HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA was originally built for workers in the Hershey chocolate factory, and it’s now frequented by flocks of families visiting the amusement park or by spa-goers looking for specialty treatments. But there’s more to Hershey than roller coasters and chocolate mud wraps.
Inside Hershey Lodge, the interior of the restaurant features exposed wood beams in the high loft ceiling, and there’s a prix-fixe menu with an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $25. I skipped over the main dishes and went straight for the dessert – chocolate mousse parfait and lemon ricotta cheesecake – since if you skip the entrée, you have to get two desserts, right?
The wine list is fairly extensive with options by the glass and by the bottle, so if you want a $265 bottle of Opus One Meritage from Napa Valley or a $7 glass of Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais from France or something in between, you’re set.
During the summer, you can dine outside on the patio.
325 University Dr.
The Iberian Lounge over at the fairly posh, if a bit staid, Hotel Hershey serves some strong and tasty cocktails for $12. Many of which, as you’d guess, are chocolate flavored – like “death by chocolate” with 360 chocolate vodka, dark chocolate liqueur, and dark crème de cacao. There’s also a selection of whiskeys from across Scotland, from the Highlands to Cambelltown to Speyside.
Oh, and there’s food. It’s not a huge menu, but I liked the smoked chicken panini, and there were a few pasta and meat dishes as well as a handful of desserts.
100 Hotel Rd.
In the Hershey Press Building in downtown Hershey, this restaurant serves daily fresh fish specials as well as high-end (or high-end to me) dishes like roasted duck flatbread with fig barbecue sauce, seared Georges Bank scallops, and grilled salmon panzanella. A Kansas girl, I bypassed the fish and went for the Kansas City strip steak, and I’d recommend it with the side of lobster mac & cheese (I had to get my seafood in there somewhere).
The wine bottles lining one wall, dark wood furnishings, and the dim, what I suppose is more romantically or technically called “mood” or “atmospheric” lighting in the evening, make the place seem ideal to go on a date.
Happy hour is from 4:30 to 6:30 during the week with $4 and $5 appetizers and $1 off draft beer and $5.95 martinis and cocktails.
27 W. Chocolate Ave.
Fire Alley is a popular spot with locals, and serves up a fairly eclectic combination of dishes. I’d recommend the udong chicken noodle soup that’s seasoned with cilantro and lime, the fresh tuna tower served with mango habanero salsa, and the pork chops topped with mango chutney (If you can’t tell, I like mango).
Or you can go for one of the food theme nights – Monday is Italian night, Tuesday is prime rib night with a $13.95 prime rib, Wednesday is wing night where you can get a dozen wings for $5 – so delicious and so messy, and Thursday is $4 margaritas – not technically a food, but still a special.
There’s a separate bar and dining area. Over the bar are TVs broadcasting, as you might guess, sports, and there are happy hour specials from 4 to 6pm Monday to Friday – half off drafts and house wines.
1144 Cocoa Ave.
Appalachian Brewing Company
Not technically in Hershey, ABC is only 20 minutes away in Harrisburg. In a building restored in 1995, the brewery started production in 1997 and the 50,000 square foot facility is one of America’s largest microbreweries. Tours are every Saturday at 1pm.
Live music every weekend and on the odd weekday night is in the Abbey Bar on the second floor of the brewery. The brewpub serves classic pub grub – sandwiches, burgers, and the like. But it’s a brewery, so the focus is on the beer. They serve their “flagship” beers year-round, like the organic brown ale and Susquehanna Stout. They also make a barley wine. Every month, they make specialty beers like the espresso stout in January or the Bavarian style Kipona Fest amber lager.
50 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg Editor’s Note: Trip sponsored by Hershey tourism but opinions those of the author.