2018 Best of Lancaster

Results compiled by Briana Webster Hess and Abigail Sokolsky, Summer intern, Franklin and Marshall College
Profiles Written by Sue Long and Briana Webster Hess



1. Lyndon City Line Diner

Owner Lyndon Quinn grew up in the business – his father owned Bill’s Diner. Lyndon continued the tradition by opening the wildly popular Lyndon Diner in Manheim. In 1997, he and his wife, Crystal, took over an Elby’s restaurant on Manheim Pike and transformed it into a sleek, retro diner. Open 24/7, the wide-ranging menu is why the parking lot is always packed and the diner is consistently named “best” by area publications.

2. Gus’s Keystone Family Restaurant

3. Rachel’s Café & Creperie


1. Eden Resort & Suites

The Eden’s brunch continues to set the standard for what has become a Sunday tradition in Lancaster. The selection includes a salad bar, bread & cheese board, crab bisque, made-to-order omelets, waffles, pasta, sausage, bacon, pancakes, smoked salmon, a carving station … decadent desserts and a sundae station. Did we mention mimosas?

2 (tie). Rachel’s Café & Creperie and Annie Bailey’s Irish Public House


1. Isaac’s Restaurants

Who would have guessed that a restaurant that specializes in sandwiches would be around 35 years after it first opened its doors on North Queen Street? A pink flamingo, an imaginative, evolving menu and eye-catching interiors have resulted in 18 locations throughout South Central Pennsylvania. Isaac’s fundraising program, established in 2006, has helped to raise nearly $1,208,000 for area nonprofits as well as church, educational and athletic organizations.

2. Rachel’s Café & Creperie

3 (tie). Tomato Pie Café and Rice & Noodles Vietnamese Eatery


1. Belvedere Inn

Chef Corinna Killian, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu, brings a fresh spin on American classics to this dining destination that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. While dinner is reason enough to visit, the ambiance is unsurpassed. Just as the menu honors classic cuisine in a modern way, the interiors pay homage to the Victorian era in a contemporary manner.


3. Fiorentino’s Italian Restaurant


1. Belvedere Inn

The Belvedere prides itself on helping guests celebrate life’s special moments. Owner Dean Oberholtzer carries on the tradition that original owner John S. Rohrer started in 1869, when he topped his Italianate-Victorian residence with a belvedere that would allow guests to enjoy the city views. The holiday décor is a must-see!

2. The Log Cabin


Belvedere Inn. The restaurant’s leadership team of (seated left to right) John Costanzo (general manager), Dean Oberholtzer (owner), Justin Ang (manager) and Corinna Killian (executive chef) are set to toast the restaurant’s 20th anniversary with staff members in the main dining room.
What’s not to love about the Belvedere? The bar is friendly, the food is fabulous, the décor is stunning, and the staff is top-notch. Last but not least is the Belvedere’s gorgeous holiday decorations. For many, the holidays aren’t the holidays without a visit to the Belvedere.
Dean is honored that after 20 years, Lancaster continues to think of the Belvedere as being the best destination for dinner and celebrating life’s special moments.

Casual Dining

1. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

The menu is impressive, the beer extraordinary and Iron Hill’s dedication to giving back to the community is commendable. The company’s co-owner, Mark Edelson, and his wife, Maureen (a pediatric oncologist), launched CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, funding for which is generated in part by the sale of the Triple Chocolate Hill dessert item. A portion of the proceeds from sales benefits CureSearch, as well as each location’s designated charity (in Lancaster, it is Mental Health America of Lancaster County). To date, more than $200,000 has been raised for CureSearch. In addition, Iron Hill offers Give 20 to other nonprofits through which 20% of food tabs benefit their causes on designated nights.

2. Loxley’s Restaurant

3. Annie Bailey’s Irish Public House


1. Isaac’s Restaurants

Some nights you just don’t have the energy or desire to cook. It’s Isaac’s to the rescue! The printable menu and monthly calendar of soup offerings make ordering a snap.

2. Rice & Noodles Vietnamese Eatery

3. Caruso’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

Outdoor Dining

1. Tobias S. Frogg

Have you ever wanted to take a South Seas vacation? You can do it without having to leave Lancaster. The getaway is courtesy of Tobias S. Frogg, where waterfalls, firepits, outdoor-dining areas, a palapa area, Tikis, sun shades and other amenities provide “a change in latitude.”

2. T. J. Rockwell’s American Grill & Tavern

3. Funck’s Restaurant & Bar


1. Shady Maple Smorgasbord

What began as a roadside stand in 1962 has grown into a complex of shops, stores and eateries, the centerpiece of which is Shady Maple Smorgasbord, which debuted in 1985 and, thanks to several expansions, has grown to accommodate 1,200 guests and a 200-foot long “smorgasbord” of food. Pennsylvania Dutch specialties are complemented by fare such as steak, prime rib and seafood.

2. Miller’s Restaurant & Smorgasbord

3. Dragon Hibachi & Sushi Buffet

Hotel Restaurant

1. John J. Jeffries

Chefs Michael Carson and Sean Cavanaugh brought their dream of creating a restaurant that focuses on fresh, local and sustainable food to Lancaster in 2006. These cooking pioneers searched out local farmers and sources to create their menu items. Today, they work with as many as 40 farmers and growers to assemble seasonal, sustainable and fresh products for their kitchen. The restaurant carries through with the Arts Hotel’s mission to showcase local art – the walls of the dining areas are decorated with farm-inspired paintings.

2. Penn Square Grille

3. Loxley’s Restaurant


1. Annie Bailey’s Irish Public House

Modeled after a Victorian-era pub in Dublin, Annie Bailey’s is owned by brothers Joshua and Jacob Funk, both of whom graduated from Penn State’s hotel, restaurant and institutional management program. A blend of tradition, character and quality defines Annie Bailey’s ambiance, food (traditional Irish fare and modern American dishes) and extensive drink selection.

2. Bulls Head Public House

3. Quip’s Pub

New Restaurant

1. Callaloo Trinidadian Kitchen

From the moment it opened, Callaloo wowed Lancaster. Walk through the door, and you’ll know why: the aromas are intoxicating and instantly transport you to the Caribbean! The cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago, which is the inspiration for Callaloo, is a melting pot of African, Asian and Creole influences.

2. Primanti Bros.

3. Goldie’s Bakery



1. Stockyard Inn

Filet mignon, prime New York strip, prime rib, tenderloin beef tips and one of the tastiest burgers around are part of the Stockyard Inn’s allure. Regarded as one of the oldest and continuously operating steakhouses in the United States, the Fournaris family’s secret to success is undoubtedly their in-house butcher shop, where steaks are hand-cut and trimmed. And, those burgers? They are made from the filet trimmings.

2. Johnny’s Bar & Steakhouse

3. Belvedere Inn


1. Capt. Gus’s Steak Shop

Fifty years ago, Gus Karpouzis – an avid fisherman, hence the Capt. in the name of the shop – launched an eatery that specializes in subs and cheesesteaks. The shop is now under the command of Gus’s second mates, his son, Nick, and daughter, Phyllis Rothweiler.

2. Smith’s Hotel & Bar

3. Caruso’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

Capt. Gus’s Steak Shop. When asked why he thought Capt. Gus’s Steak Shop continues to be voted No. 1 year after year, Nick G. Karpouzis says, “Well, we’ve been using the same ingredients since day one.”
Capt. Gus’s, which was started by Nick’s father, Gus Karpouzis, will be celebrating 50 years on December 4.
“We’ve made a lot of friends over the years here,” says Nick’s sister, Phyllis Rothweiler.
Part of the reason Nick says he loves Lancaster is because “we get to know so many people.”


1. Kyma Seafood Grill

Shrimp, lobster, crab legs, oysters, clams, tuna, mussels, calamari, scallops, salmon, tilapia, mahi mahi and something called the Colossal Crabcake (“1/2-pound crab and that’s it,” proclaims the menu) – this Denver restaurant is a seafood lover’s paradise! The décor is inspired by the sea, as well. All that’s missing is a cast member from Deadliest Catch.

2. Mr. Bill’s Seafood

3. Gibraltar


1. Harvey’s Main Street BBQ

Pulled pork, beef brisket, Cajun sausage, wild boar, BBQ chicken, St. Louis-style ribs, chicken & sausage gumbo, and a bourbon BBQ bacon burger are just some of the items you’ll find on the menu at this Mount Joy restaurant. Pitmaster Harvey Schademan brings cred to his title, as he has won a dozen awards on the East Coast, as well as in Ohio and Canada.

2. Hess’s Barbecue Catering

3. JoBoy’s Brew Pub


1. Horse Inn

Imagine biting into a burger made from a custom blend of short rib, brisket, chuck and 10% dry-aged beef. Top it with only the freshest lettuce, tomato and red onion. Then, for the finishing touch: American cheese and a special sauce. It’s all served in a bun from the legendary Alfred & Sam’s Italian Bakery. Owners Matt and Starla Russell describe their menu as “fresh, flexible, casual and approachable – a bit like the Lancaster we love!”

2. Lancaster Brewing Company

3 (tie). Foklift & Palate (Spooky Nook) and Appalachian Brewing Company


1. Isaac’s Restaurants

Scarlet Ibis, Whooping Crane, Finch, Gooney Bird, Salty Eagle, Phoenix, Mockingbird, Magpie, Flamingo, Hummingbird, Black Heron, Mallard … bird lovers can undoubtedly picture these winged creatures, but fans of Isaac’s know them as sandwiches.

2. Craving’s Gourmet Deli

3. Primanti Bros.


1. Caruso’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

Pizza is just a slice of the menu at this restaurant that has six locations in Lancaster County. In addition to Neapolitan and Sicilian-style pizzas, there is a wide range of gourmet offerings, including Bianca/White, Grilled Chicken, Gluten-Free, Philly, Hawaiian, Veggie, Meat Lover’s, Vegan, Garden, Full House, Chicken Ranch, Chicken Buffalo and Western.

2. Two Cousins

3 (tie). Venice Pizza & Pasta and House of Pizza

Fish Tacos

1. Appalachian Brewing Company

This category was added to our list two years ago due to popular demand. It seems fish tacos are huge coast to coast! ABC calls theirs Rockfish Tacos. They are comprised of four tortillas stuffed with beer-battered rockfish, cabbage, tomatoes, red onions and chipotle cream. They’re served with cilantro lime sauce and a choice of salsa or honey-habanero sauce. ABC recommends pairing their version with Outta Focus Double IPA.

2. Mad Chef Craft Brewing

3. The Brasserie Restaurant & Bar


1. Mojo Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar

The menu is out of controll – if sushi isn’t your thing, fear not, there are taste-tempting Asian entrées to savor. Back to the sushi, however. The Special Sushi Rolls have names like Fancy Dragon, Rainbow, Tiger, Jumbo Spider, Sea Scallop Supreme, Dynamite, Samurai, Godzilla, Bikini Bottom and Blushing Lava. The Tokyo features shrimp tempura inside and eel and caviar outside. The namesake Mojo is comprised of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, special sauce, avocado and caviar.

2. Wasabi Japanese Restaurant

3 (tie). Blue Pacific Sushi & Grill and Café East


1. Root of Lancaster

Beet tartare. No, it’s not a typo. It’s something from Root’s list of appetizers. You can also indulge in oyster mushroom scallops, lentil lettuce cups, eggplant bruschetta, a kale Caesar salad, Buffalo eggplant pasta and even a jerk burger, which is made from blended chickpeas, onions, eggplant, jerk seasoning and topped with lettuce tomato and avocado. Even the bar offerings – beer, wine and liquor – are vegan-friendly.

2. Upohar Ethnic Cuisines

3. Rice & Noodles Vietnamese Eatery


1. Ciro’s Italian Bistro

How good is Ciro’s? I took a friend there on a Friday night, and he made a return visit the very next night! If you’re in the mood for Italian, make a reservation at Ciro’s. The wide-ranging menu starts with antipasti and goes on to include fire-roasted pizza, soup (do try the roasted tomato-basil bisque), entrée salads, pasta (the Frutta di Mare is very tasty), cucina classicas such as marsala and piccata, entrées (steak, seafood, chicken), panini and desserts, including a gelato bar.


3. Lombardo’s Italian Restaurant

Mexican/Latin American

1. El Serrano

Peruvian food has been all the rage around the world for the last few years. That comes as no surprise to Lancaster food lovers who are fans of El Serrano, which is owned by Manuel Torres, who hails from Peru and graduated from the Restaurant School of Philadelphia. Over the years, the restaurant has grown to include Clementina’s (for private functions) and Culturas, which is dedicated to tapas dining. As for the atmosphere, it’s as if you’re visiting a beautiful Peruvian hacienda.

2. El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant

3. La Borimex Mexican Restaurant


1. Hong Kong Garden

Hong Kong Garden has been at the same location and owned by the same family since it opened in 1980. While the menu is extensive and includes items such as soup, fried rice, cellophane noodles, chow mein, chop suey and entrées (pork, poultry, seafood, beef and vegetables), the staff works to accommodate dietary needs and spice preferences. There is also a children’s menu that aims to introduce the younger guests to Asian cuisine – with French fries on the side!

2. Café East

3. Tony Wang’s


1. Oka Asian Fusion

The menu takes you on a culinary tour of Japan, China and Thailand. In addition to favorites such as seaweed salad, vegetable tempura, General Tso’s chicken and pad Tai, there’s an impressive selection of sushi, sashimi and rolls. Plus, you’ll find entrées that star red snapper and sea bass.

2. Mojo Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar

3 (tie). Sukho Thai Restaurant and Rice & Noodles Vietnamese Eatery


1. Himalayan Curry and Grill

This family-owned eatery, which specializes in Indian and Nepalese food, is one of the reasons why Thrillist Travel named Lancaster – along with Santa Fe, D.C. and Honolulu, among others – as a “surprising food destination you have to visit.” The travel writer called Himalayan’s Indian food the “best I’ve ever had.” Local fans, who pack the small restaurant for its lunch buffet (Monday-Saturday, plus Monday evening) and dinner service, agree. The food is healthy (minimal frying) and tasty (the spices!).

2. Taj Mahal

3. Namaste Restaurant

Pennsylvania Dutch

1. Shady Maple Smorgasbord

You name it, and they probably have it … scrapple, puddins, corn fritters, stuffing (filling), real mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, country sausage, chicken corn soup, liver & onions and the list goes on.

2 (tie). Dienner’s Country Restaurant and Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord

Beer Selection

1. Federal Taphouse

One-hundred craft beers – from as near as Lancaster to as far away as California and Belgium – are always on tap, some rotating in and out on a weekly basis. The selection covers all styles and includes cider, mead and gluten-free. Hoppy Hour is offered Monday-Thursday, 4-5 p.m.

2. Funck’s Restaurant & Bar

3. The Fridge

Wine/Spirits Selection

1. Pour

This little slice of heaven prides itself on providing guests with wine, beer and cocktail lists that, “strive to deliver the best libations the world has to offer.” Peruse them and you’ll discover that indeed, the world is well-represented. The crafted cocktails have dreamy names like Lavender Sky (lavender-infused gin, Creme de Violette, St. Germaine and lemon). The food perfectly complements the drink selection and includes a tasty charcuterie menu.


3. Horse Inn


1. Barberet Bistro & Bakery

L’opéra, Napoléon, Les éClairs, Azure, Les Macarons Parisian, Les Truffles, Vanilla Crème Brûlée. Yes, the menu at the downtown bakery and bistro definitely has a French accent. Pastry Chef/Owner Cedric Barberet, who hails from France, brings 25 years of experience to Lancaster, having worked in such American culinary destinations as Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Palm Beach. The Bistro menu also emphasizes French dishes.

2. Lancaster Cupcake

3. Fox Meadows Creamery


Grocery/Food Store

1. Stauffers of Kissel Hill

It all began in 1932, when Roy S. Stauffer, Sr. began operating a fruit stand along Route 501 in Lititz. Success led to opening a store (now the site of corporate offices) that also offered trees and other landscaping needs. Expansion ensued and Stauffers opened several locations in Lancaster, all of which focused on fresh produce, incredible baked goods, the finest meats and seafood, as well as gardening needs. Ten years ago, the Rohrerstown location became a destination in itself with the construction of a state-of-the-art grocery store and garden/outdoor-living center. Customer service has always been a Stauffers’ trademark, and the newest offering is online shopping.

2. Giant Food Stores

3. Darrenkamp’s (Sadly, the store is in the process of closing all of its locations.)

Farm Market/Pick-Your-Own

1. Lancaster Central Market

Dating to 1730, Lancaster Central Market is the oldest, continuously operating public market in the nation. The modern-day market house dates to 1889 and is currently undergoing a renovation project that will see the roof replaced with slate. A very successful fundraising effort – Raise the Roof – coupled with grants enabled the project to move forward. Beneath the roof, more than 60 vendors offer everything from homemade pet treats to farm-grown fruits, vegetables and flowers, as well as premium meats, poultry and seafood. Organic has become a much-used word at market, and food with an ethnic flair has joined the Pennsylvania Dutch fare.

2. Root’s Country Market & Auction

3. Cherry Hill Orchard

Coffee/Tea Shop

1. Prince Street Café

Open since 2006, it’s rare to pass by and not see the tables in the oversized windows that define the café filled with friends sharing a meal, business colleagues networking or a person seeking some alone time with his or her laptop. The coffee selection is a team effort that seeks to offer customers a quality roast and a journey along the supply line that matches the café’s values. The menu offers items that take customers’ concerns and lifestyle – dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan – into consideration.

2. The Coffee Company

3. Mean Cup

Food Truck

1. Lancaster Cupcake

Emily Mitchell aimed to become a nurse, but cupcakes got in her way. By 2011, she had launched a business. A year later, she and her husband, Jeff, appeared on an episode of The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, placing second. Two storefronts and a kiosk later, they now also operate two cupcake trucks that are hard to miss due to their pink-and-white color scheme. In addition to their regular stops, the trucks are fixtures at community events, food festivals and occasions such as weddings and birthday parties.

2. Souvlaki Boys

3. Penny’s Ice Cream

Baked Goods

1. Achenbach’s Pastries

You haven’t lived until you’ve sampled a Long John. Available with vanilla, chocolate and peanut butter frosting, the Long John can now be enjoyed in a cake format. If it’s your birthday, stop by for a free one. And, per Achenbach’s policy, if you order 12 items, you’ll walk away with a baker’s dozen (13).

2. Lancaster Cupcake

3. The Bake Shoppe at Country Table

Pretzels/Snack Food

1. Hammond’s Pretzel Bakery

In 1931, William Lichty launched what is now regarded as America’s oldest pretzel bakery (hand-rolled) that has been continuously operated by the same family. The recipe for Lancaster’s favorite pretzel was provided by Lichty’s grandfather, William Hammond. The business is now led by Lichty’s grandchildren, Brian Nicklaus and Karen Achtermann.

2. Auntie Anne’s

3. Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery

Hammond’s Pretzels. Using the same recipe of high-quality ingredients their great-great-grandfather, William Hammond, used in making his hand-rolled sourdough pretzels, Brian Nicklaus and Karen Achtermann continue the tradition of making some of the best Pennsylvania Dutch-style hard pretzels loved by locals and pretzel fans across the U.S.
“It means the world to us to be supported by the people of Lancaster. We’ve always had a great customer base. It’s been phenomenal to have that local support,” Karen shares. “It’s nice to know that people appreciate the art of making a pretzel the old-fashioned way by hand, and we continue to stick with the tradition that our great-great-grandfather set.”

Ice Cream

1. Fox Meadows Creamery

It can’t get any fresher than Fox Meadows – the farm on which the cows are raised is visible from the creamery. The dairy farm has been a family affair since the 1950s and is an industry leader in quality and production of milk. In 2014, the family opened a creamery and country market. Ice cream flavors are divided among Classic, Featured, Sweet, Fruit, Nut, Chocolate and Dairy-Free flavors. Always experimenting, their newest flavor is Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice. I must admit, if I’m ever north of Route 30, their Honeyed Lavender flavor calls to me.

2. Pine View Dairy

3. Penny’s Ice Cream


1. Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate

Now under the direction of a third generation of Nissleys – founder J. Richard Nissley’s grandson, Jonas – changes are in the air at this vineyard. Events such as Yoga in the Vineyard, Run in the Vineyards, and Sip & Savor (a wine/food pairing event held in conjunction with Giant Food Stores) have joined the summer favorite, Music in the Vineyards. Nissley, which participated in last month’s Cornucopia Wine Quest (sponsored by Hershey-Harrisburg Wine Country), has also begun to host weddings on the property. As for wine, their latest is Strawberry Kiss, a sparkling fruit wine.

2. Waltz Vineyards

3. The Vineyard at Grandview


1. Lancaster Brewing Company

Originally known as Lancaster Malt Brewing, this is the company that put Lancaster back on the brewing map in 1995. It also helped to launch an era of adaptive reuse, as it is located in the historic Edward McGovern Tobacco Warehouse. Names/styles such as Milk Stout, Strawberry Wheat, Hop Hog IPA, Lancaster Lager and Double Chocolate Milk Stout pay homage to Lancaster’s agricultural heritage. Tours are held weekdays at 1 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. (reservations required).

2. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

3. Spring House Brewing Company

Whoopie Pies & Milk

Photography by Jordan Bush

There’s nothing more Lancaster County than whoopie pies and milk! Unfortunately, both have been under siege over the last several years.

Let’s start with whoopie pies. Lancaster County has long been considered to be their birthplace (on American soil, anyway). Then, a couple of years ago, Maine claimed them as their own, going so far as to name them the “Official State Treat.” Massachusetts then got on the bandwagon, as did Virginia. An uproar ensued. Martha Stewart refused to be brought into the fracas and provided a compromising, “Whoopie pies have been a lunch-box staple for generations” observation.

However, it seems that food historian, William Woys Weaver, was willing to weigh in on the controversy. In his book, As American as Shoofly Pie, Weaver makes an argument for Massachusetts, specifically the Berwick Cake Company, which had purchased a pound cake recipe from another bakery and refined it so that it could be made with Berwick’s machinery. Subsequently, an employee created a fondant-based filling. The nameless creation debuted in 1926. A year or so later, Eddie Cantor was in Boston with the smash Broadway show, Whoopee. Berwick had a promotional idea – when Cantor sang Makin’ Whoopee, which was innuendo for dessert of another kind – the audience would be showered with the “whoopee” pies. The ploy worked, the name stuck and the company altered the spelling and patented them as “whoopie pies.”

So, where does that leave Lancaster County? The other states suggested that perhaps Lancaster County should atone for the erroneous claim and call their creations whoopsie pies. (I admit that’s fake news, but stay with me.)

The trail picks up during the 1950s, when a wondrous ingredient called Marshmallow Fluff became the darling of home bakers. The manufacturer flooded mailboxes and stores in the Midwest with advertising pamphlets that contained recipes. According to Weaver, one of those recipes was for whoopie pies. The Amish and Mennonite women got hold of the recipe and put their spins on it. The recipes made their way along PNN (Plain News Network) and by the 1970s, the whoopie pie had become a sensation in Lancaster County.

Of course, the Amish saw a winner in this new delicacy and began offering it to the tourists via roadside stands and markets. Then, the fancy bakeries followed suit and began offering crazy flavors such as pumpkin spice, as well as macaron-sized whoopie pies. Hershey Farms even launched a Whoopie Pie Festival.

Now, hold your horses! In an LNP article from July 2018, several people with connections to the Plain community insisted they remember their elders talking about making whoopie pies as far back as the 1920s. And, who knows what went on before that!

Legend had it that Plain-made whoopie pies were indeed very special, as they were only made when women had leftover cake batter or butter. The legend also holds that when children or menfolk would open their lunch kettles and discover the special treats, they would yell, “Whoopie!!” and, hence, the real origin of the name. That sentiment probably had to do with the fact that the construction of a whoopie pie is genius. Because the frosting/filling is in the center, you don’t have the annoyance of having the frosting on a piece of cake or a cupcake stick to the wrapping paper.
Weaver – as well as other whoopie pie authorities – does make an argument for Lancaster County as being the birthplace of the whoopie pie due to a genetic connection. It seems a similar item was made in medieval Germany, the mother country of many Plain sects.

Whatever its origins, it appears the warring states have reached a compromise and, according to the website, What’s Cooking America, the whoopie pie is now regarded as a “New England classic and an Amish tradition.” The website also declares that a “big glass of milk is mandatory for eating a whoopie pie.”

We won’t argue with that! As a county that proudly lays claim to being first in dairy production statewide and eighth nationwide (according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture), Lancaster Countians agree that milk pairs with just about anything. There was one exception in my family and that was fish – my grandmother and, subsequently my mother, never allowed us to mix milk and fish. After eating fish, we had to wait an hour before we could drink milk. Who knows the logic behind that one!

Unfortunately, as those who follow the news may know, dairy farmers are facing their fair share of challenges. Prices are down, costs are up, competition from goats and almonds is fluid and, well, people just aren’t drinking milk like they used to. Even the schools have been impacted – kids are turning their noses up at the “watery” versions that up until last year were mandatory in school cafeterias. The government took notice, and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the return of 1% flavored milk in 2017. Three-hundred schools in Pennsylvania added it to the menu and sales improved. A bill in Congress – HR 5640 – calls for returning whole milk, which is no longer viewed as evil, to cafeterias as well.

I get that kids are not fond of skim and fat-free milk. My mother used to try to con us into drinking skim milk when she was on one of her diets. My sister and I hated that stuff. Give us full-strength milk, and we’d drink it all day long. Milk, you see, coursed through our veins. My grandfather operated Ritchey’s Dairy, which he founded in 1919 on Cabbage Hill. Whenever he was making chocolate milk, my sister and I would beg to visit.

The reason I know the year was 1919 is that as I was recently dusting one of my prized milk bottles, I noticed the date. While the milk industry may be going through some ups and downs, as it relates to antiques continues to gain collectors. The All-American Dairy Show, which was held in Harrisburg in September, even hosted a dairy-themed antiques and collectibles show.

My Ritchey Dairy collection has grown to include bottles of various eras, shapes and sizes, as well as milk boxes, milk crates and marketing notions. Most of my bottles came via people who had them stashed in their garages or basements and called my mother offering to sell them. When the milk bottle craze first took off, still other people made it a hobby to poke through junk yards to find bottles from Lancaster County’s small dairies, most of which are long-gone. Quite a few Lancaster-related bottles are sold through online sites such as eBay.

While bottles don’t fetch as much as they once did, I view their value strictly from a sentimental perspective. And, yes, I continue to drink milk, which I credit for my doctor announcing that I have “bones of steel” as he reviewed a recent bone-density scan.

With that said, do yourself and a dairy farmer a favor and drink a glass of milk.

– Sue Long

Things to See & Do

Live Music

1. Tellus360

No matter your era or taste in music, it’s bound to be heard or performed at Tellus360. The talent ranges from local to international. Live or DJ-supplied music can be heard nearly every night. Events such as Open Mic Night (Mondays) and Wax on Wednesday (an ode to vinyl) are also held. Tellus360 is also one of the venues for Lancaster’s Roots & Blues Festival. Love to dance? Tellus has you covered with Silent Dance Party (Thursdays), DJ Dance Party and Salsa & Wine (instruction provided).

2. Long’s Park Summer Music Series

3. Chameleon Club

Performing Arts

1. Fulton Theatre

Built in 1852 to serve as a community center, the Fulton nearly met its demise in 1962, until a group of concerned citizens raised money to purchase it and, in doing so, create the Fulton Opera House Foundation. Another fundraising effort commenced in 1989 to refurbish the Fulton, which was carried out in 1995. Now, the Fulton is primed to undertake yet another ambitious project that will change the face of the first blocks of West King and North Prince streets. Under the direction of Marc Robbins, the Fulton’s offerings have wowed audiences. Next up is 42nd Street (main stage), Christmas Carol (Family Series) and The Mystery of Irma Vep (Studio Series).

2. American Music Theatre

3. The Ware Center

Museum/Heritage Site

1. North Museum of Nature & Science

Dating to 1953, the North Museum quickly became a favorite destination of families in search of a connection to the natural world. Its collections are comprised of 360,000 objects (archeology to zoology) that date to the 19th century. An ambitious remodeling project was completed in 2015. Today, the museum is home to interactive galleries and exhibits, the Dinosaur Gallery and a state-of-the-art planetarium.

2. Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum

3. Rock Ford Plantation

Art/Craft Show

1. Long’s Park Art Festival

The Labor Day weekend art fest celebrated a milestone this year – its 40th anniversary. The juried show attracts exhibitors from all over the country, making it a draw for a regional audience. The first show in 1979 set the tone for the years to come as it shared the spotlight with the annual Day of Music. Today, proceeds fund the very popular Long’s Park Summer Music Series that is held on summer Sunday nights, June through August.

2. Lititz Rotary Craft Show

3 (tie). Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show and Heart of Lancaster Art and Craft Show


1. Ephrata Fair

This was a banner year for the fair, as it celebrated its 100th anniversary. Launched in 1919 as a one-day salute to those who served in World War I, the fair has grown to include a midway that’s held in the center of town (and is considered to be the largest street fair in the state) and an exhibit/judging area in Grater Memorial Park.

2. Elizabethtown Fair

3. West Lampeter Fair

Golf Course

1 (tie). Overlook Golf Course and Crossgates Golf Club

Built in 1927 by Abe Dombach, Overlook is owned and maintained by Manheim Township. Earning 3-1/2 stars from Golf Digest, the course is home to league play, golf instruction and junior programs. It serves as the anchor of the Overlook Community Campus.

As for Crossgates, rolling hills and the Conestoga River distinguish this public course in Millersville. It hosts social outings and fundraising tourneys for many organizations. Its restaurant, Copper Hill Public House, attracts golfers and non-golfers alike.

3. Lancaster Country Club

Family Fun

1. Dutch Wonderland

Family fun has been the theme at this 48-acre park since it opened in 1963. While boomers looked forward to seeing Sally Star and Chief Halftown at the park, their grandchildren clamor to interact with dinosaurs and princesses. Voted as among the Top 5 Best Kids Park in the world, Dutch Wonderland extends the season with events such as Happy Hauntings and Winter Wonderland.

2. Go ‘N Bananas

3. Hersheypark

Park/Recreation Area

1. Long’s Park

Bequeathed to the city in 1900 by Judge Henry Grimly Long and his daughter, Catherine, the 80-acre park hosts everything from an impromptu picnic for two to the world’s largest one-day chicken barbecue. The Fourth of July fireworks are a must-see. Kids love the petting zoo and playgrounds. For exercise, take a lap around the lake, tackle the fitness trail or play tennis.

2. Lititz Springs Park

3 (tie). Muddy Run Park and Lancaster County Central Park

Art Gallery

1. Liz Hess Gallery

The daughter of missionaries, Liz was born in Honduras and spent her formative years in Lancaster, where she earned awards for her artistic talents. Liz herself became a missionary, living in Sweden – 10 miles from the Arctic Circle – for nearly 10 years. Art was always her passion, and she began combining it with her love of travel. It was during one of her trips abroad that her signature red umbrella first appeared in her paintings. Liz’s latest project is painting The Star Barn Complex that has been given new life at Stone Gables Estate in Elizabethtown.

2. Julia Swartz Art Gallery

3. Red Raven Art Company

Liz Hess Gallery. The Star Barn as You’ve Never Seen It Before is the latest series of paintings from artist Liz Hess, who spent much of the summer at The Star Barn’s new home at Stone Gables Estate in Elizabethtown. The venture started when the estate’s owners, David and Tierney Abel (pictured with Liz), stopped by the gallery to inquire whether Liz would be interested in doing a painting of the barn. She accepted their offer to visit, and upon seeing the village complex, was “simply astounded. It was so impressive – he didn’t leave a detail out.” Liz was so mesmerized that she announced she wanted to do an entire series of paintings. Her subsequent painting visits were made at different times of the day and night and in various atmospheres.
While Liz is aware that The Star Barn has been the subject of many artists, she is confident her interpretation will leave onlookers starry-eyed. “God has provided me with a canvas, and I’m happy to share it with the world,” she says.
David shares those sentiments, expressing gratitude that the Lord above has blessed him with the ability and means to save Lancaster’s beloved barns (and now a covered bridge) and repurpose them to serve as venues that provide the setting for life’s most special of occasions. Such celebrations serve a higher purpose – 100% of the net proceeds from events held at Stone Gables Estate benefit Brittany’s Hope, which aids orphaned and at-risk children worldwide.


Specialty Shop/Boutique

1. Sophie Stargazer

Owner Kristin Snyder’s dream of opening a boutique began in childhood. Attending fashion school in Philadelphia brought her a step closer as she worked in costume design and editorial styling. She finally reached for the stars by opening a boutique on East King Street. Last year, she made a meteoric move by relocating to The Keppel Building on the 300 block of North Queen Street. A larger space has allowed her to increase her inventory of fashion-forward, eco-friendly clothing lines, many of which are made in the USA. The boutique also offers accessories, jewelry and items for home, self and gifting.

2. Festoon

3. Clemintines

Sophie Stargazer Boutique. Kristin Snyder, owner of Sophie Stargazer Boutique in downtown Lancaster, knew she wanted to own a shop her whole life. “I drew my first floor plan when I was in third grade.” When asked how she came up with the name, she said, “Sophie is just a nickname of mine, and Stargazer lilies are my favorite flower. I liked how the two sounded together and could sound like a name, but we can also play with what it means to be a Stargazer.”
Sophie Stargazer first opened in June 2013 on East King Street and relocated in July 2017 to The Keppel Building on the 300 block of North Queen Street.
“I’m in the shop almost every day; I love working with my customers,” she says.
When asked about winning the Specialty Shop/Boutique category in our “Best of Lancaster” survey, Kristin said, “I think it’s amazing and humbling. I’m just doing something that I love, and it’s incredible to know that what I’m doing is resonating with people in a way that they care about. Thank you!”


1. Next to New Fine Clothing

The carefully curated selection includes many designer names that are in vogue (items cannot be over three years old) and in pristine condition. We love the store’s motto – “One woman’s transition is another woman’s treasure.” It represents the fact that many consigners are looking to recoup the investments they made in their wardrobes, while others who are beginning new careers are hoping to economically create professional images.

2. Fashion Cents Consignment

3. Déjà vu Consignment Boutique


1. RB Shap

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a pointy-toed stiletto at this store that has been a Lancaster fixture for the past 40 years. Comfort is the goal here, with European brands setting the tone for both men and women. Look for such names as Birkenstock, Teva, Fit Flop, Clarks, Sperry, Earth Shoe and many more.

2. Filling’s

3. Boscov’s


1. Brent L. Miller Jewelers & Goldsmiths

This jewel-box of a store twinkles with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other gemstones. It shimmers with Mikimoto pearls. The selection of engagement rings is mind-boggling. Watches, including vintage/pre-owned, touch on such names as TAG Heuer, Hamilton, Monblanc and many others. Custom designs and repair work are other specialities.

2. Koser Jewelers

3. Ream Jewelers

Hair Salon

1. Tangles Salon

Owner Kristin Green brings nearly 30 years of experience to the salon she launched in 2002 and relocated to Rohrerstown in 2008, where it makes its home in a house that dates to the early 1900s. The post-Victorian era has been replaced by sleek modernism and glamour! Kristin and her staff of 15 stylists specialize in color, as well as cutting-edge and special-occasion styles.

2. LUXE Salon & Spa

3. Attitudes Hair & Nail Salon

Barber Shop

1. The Black Comb

Owner Jonathan Leitzel, who was an art education major at Millersville University, never liked his haircuts. Looking for a new career path, he enrolled in barber school. After earning his credentials, he worked for several shops before opening The Black Comb. His goal has always been to reintroduce the art of straight-razor and traditional cuts. Seven stylists are on staff. The Black Comb shares space with The Pink Lady Salon, which is owned by Jonathan’s wife, Brittany.

2. Barley’s Barber Shop

3. Gary and Joel’s Barber Shop


1. LUXE Salon & Spa

The menu ranges from an everyday mani and pedi to a Kiara Sky dip-powder mani and a Babor Luxury pedi. Artificial nail services are offered at the Lititz location.

2 (tie). Attitudes Hair & Nail Salon and Onyx Salon & Spa


1. LUXE Salon & Spa

Whether you’re looking for the fountain of youth or just an hour of relaxation, the day and med spas at LUXE have you covered, offering everything from soothing facials to the latest medical-esthetic treatments and products available. The Med Spa is under the direction of Dr. Maxwell Adams (facial aesthetic director) and Adrienne Hughes (clinical director/medical esthetician).

2. Visage a’ Visage

3. Salon Art-Tiff


Fitness Center

1. Universal Athletic Club

Universal has been setting the pace for Lancaster since it opened in 1994. “Memberships to suit your lifestyle” is the club’s motto and, indeed, the choices are sure to get you moving no matter your fitness level or age. Each weekday, nearly two dozen group classes are offered, starting as early as 5 a.m. and continuing to as late as 7:30 p.m. There are aqua classes, Silver Sneaker classes, martial arts classes, cycling classes, boxing classes and sports performance classes for younger members. There’s yoga, Pilates, Zumba and the never-ending list goes on.

2. Spooky Nook Sports Complex

3. Lancaster Family YMCA

Yoga Studio

1. Evolution Power Yoga

In 2001, not a lot of people were talking about, let alone practicing, yoga. Of course, that has all changed. In Lancaster, the popularity of yoga can be attributed in part to Lisa Taylor, who welcomed the Millennium by opening a Bikram studio in Centerville. While yogis didn’t come running, Lisa persisted, studying various styles with an array of teachers. Her life and outlook changed when she studied with Baron Baptiste. By 2004, she had rebranded, naming her small Mulberry Street studio Evolution Power Yoga, envisioning it as a place that could inspire individual and community growth. Since then, the “evolution” has spread to a larger studio in Lancaster (College Row), as well as to Lititz, York and Harrisburg.

2. West End Yoga

3. Float Yoga of Lancaster

Evolution Power Yoga. How popular is yoga? According to thegoodbody.com, 36-million Americans are regularly practicing yoga. The worldwide number climbs to 300 million. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of Americans over the age of 50 who practice yoga has tripled. Stats such as those are part of the reason why Evolution Power Yoga relocated to a larger studio along College Row in Lancaster and expanded to Lititz, York and Harrisburg. Off-site events are also offered, such as Poses & Pints, which is held at Spring House Brewery and entails a 45-minute class followed by socializing over food and brews.

Bike Shop

1. Martins Bike Shop

With the many rail trails meandering through the county, bikes have become a favorite way to negotiate them. Martins recognizes that fact and touts their “comfort hybrid bikes for rail trail riding” on its website. Founded in 1959 by Henry Martin, this Ephrata business has kept pace with the ever-changing fitness revolution by offering the latest styles of bikes, as well as in-home exercise equipment, i.e. ellipticals, treadmills, rowers, etc.

2. The Common Wheel

3. Green Mountain Cyclery

Biking/Hiking/Jogging Trail

1. Northwest Lancaster County River Trail

This gorgeous trail that follows the Susquehanna River from Columbia north to Falmouth has generated the awe of visitors and an economic impact for the towns along it.

2. Enola Low Grade Trail

3. The trails that traverse Lancaster County Central Park

Home & Garden

Residential Builder/Remodeler

1. EGStoltzfus

This 50-year-old company was recently named as one of the Central Penn Business Journal’s “Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Central Pennsylvania.” Now under the leadership of a second generation, the company has expanded to build and remodel residential and commercial projects throughout Central Pennsylvania. The company is also a leader in community service – it was recently announced that EG and its trade partners will be donating the net proceeds from a home built in Baron’s Ridge in Manheim to Homes for Hope, which supports Hope International and its goal to eliminate global poverty through microenterprise development.

2. Garman Builders

3 (tie). Bareville Kitchens & Design and George J. Grove & Son, Inc.


1. Kitchens by Eileen

The company is led by the mother-son team of Eileen and Aaron Riddle. Eileen earned her credentials 25 years ago, while Aaron brings his experience as a project manager to the table. Kitchens designed by the company have won numerous Parade of Homes awards. They are proud to have designed and installed the teaching kitchen for Zest!, which is located in Brighton Village Shoppes.

2. Advanced Trim and Kitchens

3. Kitchen Encounters


1. George J. Grove & Son, Inc.

Founded more than 55 years ago, the company specializes in exterior home remodeling – doors, windows, siding, gutters, spouting, skylights, railings, columns, and even additions and sunrooms. And, of course, roofing!

2. Greenawalt Roofing Company

3. Accurately Created Exteriors, LLC


1. Martin’s Flooring

Founded in 1985, Martin’s has grown to include two locations in Lancaster, as well as one in Berks County. The all-important fifth wall of a room is the one that sets the stage for your style, and Martin’s can bring it to life with hardwoods, tile, carpet, area rugs, vinyl and today’s must-have product, Luxury Vinyl Tile.

2. Bareville Kitchens & Design

3. Bomberger’s

Specialty Contractor

1. George J. Grove & Son, Inc.

Exteriors have been the company’s specialty since the early 60s.

2. Choice Windows, Doors & More

3. Sam S. Smucker & Sons

Interior Design

1. Interiors Home

Founded in 1969 by Lillian Lehman (who named it Interiors 2000), the company has always emphasized its design services, which are available in-store or by appointment at your home. Its team of interior designers and consultants can help you choose the perfect sofa or transform an entire room.

2. Home Expressions

3 (tie). Henrietta Heisler Interiors, Inc. and David Lyall Home & Design and Heritage Design Interiors, Inc.


1. Yale Lighting Concepts & Design

Founded more than 75 years ago in Lebanon County, the company’s focus is on illuminating the entire home – outdoors and indoors – with fixtures that light up a space to create ambiance, spotlight art, make tasks easier, provide a sense of security, etc. If energy efficiency is a concern, Yale’s products achieve that with style. Ceiling fans are also a Yale specialty.

2. The Lighting Gallery

3 (tie). Brubaker, Inc. and Penn State Electric Mechanical Supply Co., Inc.

Audio/Video Systems

1. WeeBee Audio & Video

WeeBee, which is now located in Manheim, has been witness to an industry that has changed unlike any other in the last several decades. Thirty-five years ago, customers wanted high-performance sound systems for their vehicles and rec rooms. Today, they are requesting smart-home technology that controls audio/video components throughout the house, lighting systems, security and whatever else is on the horizon.

2. Residential Media Systems

3. Glick Audio and Video


1. Two Dudes Painting

Thirty years ago, Pete Barber and Brian McCaskey were in need of summer jobs. With a VW bus at their disposal, they launched a painting business they called Two Dudes. Since then, they’ve gained nearly 40 employees and, if 29,000 gallons of paint per year is any indication, a reputation for stellar work. Two Dudes is also community minded – the company initiated the Mural Project that is helping to make the SoWe area of Lancaster a colorful place to live, work and visit.

2. Joel’s Painting & Contracting

3. Kalpokas Painting


1. Haller Enterprises

If you’ve ever had a hot water heater fail or a pipe burst in the middle of winter, you know how important “your” plumber is. Haller, which offers 24/7 service, specializes in installing, replacing and servicing water systems, hot water heaters, etc. If you’re in need of plumbing fixtures, Haller represents such industry leaders as Kohler, Moen, Delta and many more.

2. Neffsville Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Services

3. Ober Plumbing


1. Haller Enterprises

Ditto for if your heat fails in the winter or your AC quits in the summer.

2. Neffsville Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Services

3. Fryman’s Services


1. Haller Enterprises

While perusing Haller’s website, I came upon something interesting. Haller hosts an event called Haller University. The premise is to invite potential employees to explore a career in the trades. The next sessions are being held November 14 and 17. Visit hallerent.com for more information.

2. M. Goodman Electric, LLC

3. Lapp Electric

Haller Enterprises placed No. 1 in Plumbing, Heating/Cooling, and Electrical Work in this year’s “Best of Lancaster” survey. The company’s motto even states that “One Call Handles It All.”

We asked electrician Mitch Miller; HVAC maintenance technician Marcos Ramirez; and service plumber Jonathan Hess to pose for an early-morning photo shoot before each headed out to his job(s) for the day.

When asked why he thought Haller Enterprises placed first in all three sub-categories, Haller Marketing Assistant Paul Belessis said, “We’re more than a plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical company. Our mission is to enrich lives, and we feel like it’s our job to give back to the community.”

Carpet Cleaning

1. Certified Carpet

Pets, mud, drink spills, food stains … what’s a floor to do! Certified Carpet has been coming to the rescue of carpets and rugs (and now, tile) since 1949. Cleaning Oriental and braided rugs is also a specialty. (Apparently, Hurricane Agnes put the company to the ultimate test in 1972.) State-of-the-art equipment and ongoing education help to keep employees on their toes.

2 (tie). The Rug Beater Cleaning Enterprises, Inc. and Martin’s Flooring

Furniture/Home Accessories

1. Interiors Home

No matter your style, Interiors represents companies that can meet and complement it, including Bernhardt, Century, Flexsteel, Hooker, Kincaid, Klaussner Outdoor, Lane Venture, Stanley, Stickley, Tommy Bahama and many more.

2. Martin Furniture & Mattress

3. Always Never Done – A Repurposed Parlour

Paint/Wallcovering Center

1. Phillips Paint & Decorating Center

It’s one-stop shopping for paint (notably Benjamin Moore) and supplies, window treatments (Hunter-Douglas), area rugs (Company C) and wallpaper (from leading companies and designers).

2. Grauer’s Paint & Decorating Center

3 (tie). Bomberger’s and New Holland Paint Store

Appliance Center

1. Martin Appliance

The kitchen of your dreams is as close as Brownstown, Ephrata or New Providence thanks to such brands as Blue Star, Bosch, Electrolux, Frigidaire, GE, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Thermidor and Whirlpool.

2. Gochnauer’s Home Appliance Center

3. LH Brubaker Appliances and Water Treatment

Hardware Center

1. Bomberger’s

Yes, you can find nails and hammers, plumbing fixtures and electrical tape, but you can also find paint, flooring and the kitchen or bath of your dreams at Bomberger’s. There’s even a café!

2. E. M. Herr Farm & Home Center

3 (tie). J. B. Hostetter & Sons and Longenecker’s True Value

Garden Center

1. Stauffers of Kissel Hill

Stauffers gets it. You are clueless about which plants will thrive in your yard. You don’t know an annual from a perennial. Ladybugs and beetles are all the same to you. To remedy the situation, they can now provide you with the services of a garden coach, who will come to your home, where they’ll talk and walk you through the questions you want answered.

2. Esbenshade’s Garden Centers

3. Ken’s Gardens

Landscape Design

1. Tomlinson Bomberger Lawn Care, Landscape & Pest Control

TomBom’s staff will design and install the landscape of your dreams, complete with plantings, shrubs, trees, hardscaping, an irrigation system, lighting and whatever else you can dream up.

2. Fernhill Landscapes, LLC

3. C.E. Pontz Sons Inc.

Lawn/Yard Maintenance

1. Tomlinson Bomberger Lawn Care, Landscape & Pest Control

After they’ve created the yard of your dreams, TomBom will maintain it, too.

2. Thomas Lawn Care LLC

3. Kreider Lawn Care LLC

Outdoor-Living Center

1. Stauffers of Kissel Hill

The Rohrerstown store is filled with outdoor-living displays that will have you dreaming of summer. Companies represented include Winston, Telescope, North Cape Wicker, Breezesta, Jensen Leisure and more.

2. Penn Stone

3. Bowman’s Stove & Patio

Professional Services

Accounting Firm

1. Trout, Ebersole & Groff, LLP

Founded in 1929, this full-service certified public accounting firm provides services to individuals, large and small businesses, agencies and organizations. The firm’s dedication to professionalism, responsiveness and quality work is reflected in the staff, whose expertise spans a wide range of financial areas. Supporting community endeavors is also a hallmark of the firm.

2. Bazella Dombrowski & Co., CPAs

3. Simon Lever LLP

Law Firm

1. Georgelis Injury Law Firm

Led by Anthony Georgelis, the firm’s expertise extends to personal injuries, vehicular accidents, workplace injuries, occupational illnesses, wrongful death, product liability, premises liability and nursing-home negligence.

2. Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP

3. Gibbel Kraybill & Hess LLP Law Offices

Insurance Agency

1. Ross Insurance Agency

Founded in 1960 by Sondra and Bill Ross Sr., the agency is now led by Bill Ross Jr. and Rick Ross. The agency has grown to include more than 15 customer service representatives who work with clients to meet all of their personal or commercial insurance needs. The agency represents more than 40 insurance companies.

2. Douple Agency, Inc.

3. The Hess Agency

Auto Repair

1. Hondru Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram of E-Town

The dealership is the recipient of the 2018 Customer First Award for Excellence, which signifies that it achieved the highest level of Customer Experience recognition in such areas as satisfaction, loyalty and service retention. To win the award, the dealership must also have an immaculate facility, maintain training standards and provide exemplary customer service.

2 (tie). M&R Auto Center and Strasburg Auto & Cycle

Real Estate Firm

1. Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty – The Craig Hartranft Team

No doubt you’ve seen television commercials that star Shark Tank investor and real estate expert Barbara Corcoran endorsing the services of the Craig Hartranft Team. The stats are impressive – Lancaster County’s No. 1 sales team for the last several years; Berkshire Hathaway’s No. 5 team nationwide in 2015. The team’s leader, Craig Hartranft, brings more than 25 years of real estate experience to the venture. Real estate represents a career change – prior to that he served in the Air Force and was a member of Lancaster City’s police department. The team services the entire county but is most active in Manheim Township, as well as the Penn Manor and Hempfield area. The team also has a strong presence in Lancaster City. Giving back to the community is also a tenet of the Hartranft team, with United Disabilities Service (UDS) and Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center being two of the organizations it supports.

2. Lusk & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty

3. Hostetter Realty

Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty – The Craig Hartranft Team. With more than 25 years of experience in local real estate, the Craig Hartranft Team is committed to providing their clients with “excellent customer service.”
“We follow core values in service,” Craig says. “Our clients appreciate what we’ve done.” Business partner Jim McPhail adds, “We’re honored that our clients took the time to think of us.”
Pictured are Craig (fourth from right), Jim (sixth from right) and some of the team’s agents and administrative support staff.

Bank/Credit Union

1. Fulton Bank

Fulton Bank, N.A. (a subsidiary of Lancaster-based Fulton Financial Corporation), which has more than 100 financial centers in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia, recently received – along with its website design partner SilverTech, Inc. – the 2018 Sitecore Experience Award in the category “Best Use of Personalization.” Curt Myers, COO of Fulton Financial, noted the new website was designed with “customers in mind,” further explaining the website is “another example of our bank’s commitment to our customers’ experience.”

2. PNC Bank

3. Members 1st Federal Credit Union


1. Leslie Gilbert Photography

Leslie Gilbert is known for beautifully capturing life’s special moments – a wedding, awaiting the birth of child, a special birthday or other milestone, and that all-important senior-year portrait. But, as a volunteer with Flashes of Hope, she creates stunning and uplifting portraits of children who are battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

2 (tie). Jeremy Hess and Olivia Rae Photography


Pet Store

1. That Fish Place – That Pet Place

You could spend hours just walking around this 88,000-square-foot fish and pet supply emporium. The selection is mind-boggling. There’s everything you could possibly need for your furry, feathered or finned friend. The company gives back by partnering with an array of rescue groups and shelters to host events at the store. Blood drives are also conducted. Educational programs that feature authors, industry experts and manufacturer’s reps also dot the calendar. Don’t forget: Pictures with Santa will be coming up!

2. Keystone Pet Place

3. Waggin Wheels Pet Supplies

Pet Boarding

1. Gochenauer Kennels

Gochenauer’s has long been a favorite and trusted home-away-from-home destination for Lancaster pets (and pet parents). Founded in 1971, this family-owned kennel offers climate-controlled enclosures, comfy beds, tasty food, plenty of natural light and outdoor areas to run and play (and maybe learn some agility skills). Like many kennels, Gochenauer’s has added doggie day care to its list of services. Offered Monday-Friday (7 a.m.-6 p.m.), it allows a pet to escape the monotony of being home alone and get out and socialize with the pets of other working parents.

2. Canine Country Club

3. Oscar’s Pet Resort

Dog Park

1. Beau’s Dream Dog Park at Buchanan Park

The park is named in honor of a German shorthair pointer named Beau whose owner’s winning entry in a contest sponsored by Beneful Dog Food scored Buchanan Park’s dog park a $500,000 makeover that was completed in 2013. The park has two play areas – one for small dogs, the other for larger breeds. There’s lots of entertainment for the dogs, and it’s become a favorite place to socialize for pet parents. The park, which is maintained by the city, is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

2. Dog Park Mount Joy

3. Overlook Dog Park

Veterinary Practice

1. Manheim Pike Veterinary Hospital

Founded by Doctors Donald Herr and Patricia Thompson in 1964, the practice has been owned by Dr. Jeffrey Steed since 1999. Steed also owns and operates Leola Veterinary Clinic, which he purchased following the sudden death of his friend and colleague, Dr. David Haver. The staff – four veterinarians and a contingent of tech and vet assistants, plus client-service reps – provides such services as surgical procedures, laser therapy, dentistry, nutritional counseling and more. A Preventative Care Program is also offered. New to the practice is a Dog Wash facility. The practice supports such organizations as Furever Home Adoption Center and ORCA.

2. Landisville Animal Hospital

3. Willow Run Veterinary Clinic

Rescue Organization

1. Pet Pantry of Lancaster County

In 2011, three friends – Melody Sanders, Dr. Brian Langlois and Krystle Black – met for coffee to discuss the fact that pets were being surrendered to shelters in alarming numbers due to the effects of the economic downturn. The fact of the matter was families were being challenged to afford food and medical care for their pets. The threesome agreed to conduct some food drives to help remedy the situation. The original 12 families they aimed to help soon grew to triple digits. The Pet Pantry of Lancaster County was born. Dr. Langlois set up medical-care programs. Rescue programs followed, including “adopting” the rescue organization Lost Paws. A move to the present location on Millersville Road provided space for a Thrift Shop. Most recently, mobile services were introduced. Fundraising is ongoing; Pet Pantry will once again be participating in The Extraordinary Give being held November 16.

2. Humane League of Lancaster County (HumanePA)

3. Pitties.Love.Peace, Inc.

Pet Pantry of Lancaster County. “This means so much for us,” says Melody Sanders of Pet Pantry earning top spot in the rescue organization category. “It always helps to keep our name out there,” she adds. Melody is one of the founders of the organization whose original goal was to help pet owners who were struggling to afford food for their animals during the recession. Melody and co-founders Dr. Brian Langlois and Krystle Black essentially went to work to set up a food bank that would benefit pets. Since then, their mission has expanded to rescue and providing spay/neuter services. On the day we visited, 140 cats who were awaiting their forevers were being cared for in Pet Pantry’s shelter and network of foster homes.

Wedding/Special Occasions


1. Oregon Dairy

Custom-designed wedding cakes are an Oregon Dairy specialty. The large selection of flavors and fillings will definitely appeal to your sweet tooth. The bakery’s sculpted cakes would be perfect for groom’s cakes.

2. House of Clarendon

3. Byers Butterflake Bakery

Oregon Dairy. The women behind these award-winning cakes, taking the No. 1 spot again for the Cake category, start their day early in the morning.
Wedding Cake Coordinator/Decorator Terri Gildea says, “We’re honored and flattered for receiving this award. We’re also very grateful for our customers.”
“We appreciate the Hurst family for allowing us to get the supplies and things we need to keep up with the trends,” adds Bakery Manager/Decorator Cathy Lewars, who will be retiring after 18 years with Oregon Dairy.
And, if you’re in need of a wedding cake, you better start booking now. Terri and Cathy say they’re already booking for next year.
Pictured, left to right, are Terri, Cathy, and cake decorators Becca Schappell, Twila Groff and Michele Donovan.

Bridal Shop

1. In White

Now located in Downtown Lancaster – in the former Shaub’s Shoe Store building – In White offers contemporary gowns from such designers as Justin Alexander, Sincerity, Casablanca and Lillian West. Fashions for the bride’s attendants and special women in their lives are also available. Fun idea: Choosing bridesmaids dresses can be challenging and stressful. In White solves that with an after-hours Girl’s Night at In White. The bride-to-be supplies the beverages, and In White supplies the hors d’ oeuvres and dresses.

2. Posh Bridal Shop

3. Bella Rose Bridal Boutique

Hair Stylist

1. Kristin Green – Tangles Salon

With nearly 30 years of experience, Kristin is a wedding pro. Her glam salon will provide a spectacular start for your big day.

2. Pam Simmons – Attitudes Hair & Nail Salon

3. Susan Royer – Salon Enso

Floral Design

1. Floral Designs of Mount Joy

Jill Erb and her staff will help you make a floral statement on the most important day of your life. Floral Designs’ gorgeous state-of-the-art location will surely inspire you.

2. Royers Flowers & Gifts

3. El Jardin Flower & Garden Room


1. DJ Josh Mast – DJ Mast Productions, LLC

Based in Lancaster, but serving the region, DJ Mast Productions not only provides high-quality entertainment but lighting and audio services, as well. Custom requests are music to their ears; the selection ranges from specific genres (country, jazz, oldies, etc.) to Christian, Top 40 and whatever your heart desires.

2 (tie). Klock Entertainment and Top Hat Entertainment


1. Food for Thought Catering

Launched in 1992 by Gina D’Ambrosio, Food for Thought offers a comprehensive menu of services – catering, party planning, wedding coordination, staffing, rentals, tenting and more – for weddings and other special occasions.

2. Enck’s Custom Catering

3. Vigis Parties LLC

Reception/Party Venue

1. Eden Resort & Suites

The Eden provides a comprehensive venue for the perfect wedding, including rooms for rehearsal dinners, accommodations for guests and reception spaces that range in size from intimate dining rooms to spacious ballrooms and the soaring Atrium Courtyard.

2. Cork Factory Hotel

3 (tie). Excelsior and Spooky Nook Sports Complex


1. Olivia Rae Photography

Olivia Craft uses what she describes as her God-given talent to capture life’s special moments in her dreamy style of photography.

2. Leslie Gilbert Photography

3 (tie). PhotOle Photography and Janae Rose Photography


1. Garrity Powers/ GP Film & Photography

Garrity Powers will transform your wedding day – from start to finish – into a touching and beautiful documentary complete with music and narration. He also films video for special occasions, fundraisers and commercial clients.

2. Shawn Fisher Productions

3 (tie). Ben Bodnar Films and Complete Weddings + Events and MAKE Films and Moving Memories Video

Healthcare Providers

Family Practice

1. Penn State Medical Group – Oyster Point

A year ago, Oyster Point became affiliated with Penn State Health. Members of the family practice view the affiliation as a win-win for its patients – they will have greater access to the Penn State network of care and be greeted and cared for by the staff they have grown to know over a lifetime.

2. Penn State Medical Group – Cornerstone

3. LG Health Physicians Family Medicine East Petersburg

Surgical Practice

1. LG Health Physicians Surgical Group

Founded in 1990, members of the surgical group perform a wide range of procedures including those relating to breast, colorectal, gallbladder, thyroid and vascular issues. General, robotic and minimally invasive procedures are also performed.

2. Physicians’ Surgery Center, Lancaster General Health

3. Argires & Marotti Neurological Associates of Lancaster

Dermatology Practice

1. Dermatology Associates of Lancaster

This practice offers comprehensive skin care, including all-important screenings, Mohs surgery to remove skin cancer, and cosmetic procedures such as Botox, Juvederm and other fillers. The Aesthetic Center offers peels, microdermabrasion, facials and other treatments.

2. Dr. Stephanie A. Mackey

3. Dermatology Physicians, Inc.

Dental Practice

1. Smilebuilderz

Smilebuilderz was founded in 2006 by Dr. Anthony Skiadas, whose goal was to build a dental campus comprised of specialists who would provide patients with treatment, convenience and continuity of care. Services also extend to two Urgent Dental Care facilities that operate six days a week.

2. White Family Dental

3. Backof Family Dentistry

Eye Practice

1. Jacobson Eyecare

In practice since 1981, Dr. William Jacobson realized his lifelong dream of opening a private practice in 2010. It’s a family affair, as his wife, Randi, serves as the practice manager. In addition to providing comprehensive exams, the practice offers contact lenses and frames from such designers as Vera Wang, Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs and more.

2. Manning, Rommel & Thode Associates

3. Eye Associates of Lancaster

Orthopedic Practice

1. Lancaster Orthopedic Group

LOG’s Pain Management Program was recently recognized by Highmark as a Center of Excellence. In addition to its 17 orthopedic surgeons (all of whom have specific fields of interest), patient care extends to advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physicians assistants), physical therapists and hand therapists.

2. Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster

3. Westphal Orthopedics

Chiropractic/Holistic Practice

1. The Goodman Method of Chiropractic

Led by Dr. Steven Goodman and his son, Dr. John Goodman, the practice specializes in correcting “upper cervical misalignment,” which places pressure on the brain and spinal cord, resulting in distress and imbalance throughout the body.

2. Wenger Chiropractic Group

3. Long’s Chiropractic Health Services


1. Lancaster General Hospital

One-hundred-twenty-five years ago, a three-story building on North Queen Street opened its doors as Lancaster General Hospital and welcomed its first patients. In September, that landmark anniversary was celebrated with a gala at the Lancaster County Convention Center and a community event at the Suburban Pavilion. Despite its growth over the course of 125 years, the hospital has always provided patients and their families with that special sense of hometown care. Today, Lancaster General Health is a part of Penn Medicine, providing advanced medical care and comprehensive services for patients across Pennsylvania.

2. UPMC Pinnacle

3. Wellspan Ephrata Community Hospital

The Convenience Pharmacy at Lancaster General Hospital fills prescriptions for patients who are discharged from the hospital, including the Emergency Department, or who are receiving outpatient services.
Photo courtesy of Lancaster General Hospital.


Place to Meet People

1. First Friday

On the first Friday of each month, downtown Lancaster celebrates art, food and friends.

2. Church

3. Tellus360


1. Lititz

Quaint period homes, a lovely park, a bustling downtown, community pride and one of the best Fourth of July celebrations in the country – who wouldn’t want to live in Lititz!

2. Chestnut Hill in Lancaster

3. Grandview Heights in Manheim Township

Senior Living Community

1. Willow Valley Communities

It’s a town in itself! Gorgeous grounds, a wide range of residence options, amenities such as the Cultural Center, fitness center, a day spa, plenty of clubs and activities, dining options and The Clubhouse – residents compare living at Willow Valley to being on an endless cruise.

2. Garden Spot Village Retirement Community

3. Landis Homes


1. Dayspring Christian Academy

As one of 25 schools that utilize the Principle Approach method to education, Lancaster’s students engage in a classic curriculum through which biblical principles help to shape their ability to think and reason. Classes range from preschool through grade 12.

2. Hempfield School District

3. Penn Manor School District


1 (three-way tie). Mick Steckbeck – Kraybill Mennonite School

Mariah Chaney – School District of Lancaster

Debra Drexel – Penn Manor School District, Pequea Elementary

Fundraising/Benefit Event

1. Dayspring Christian Academy “Remember America Speaker Series”

The school’s annual spring benefit highlights speakers who support the Principle Approach to education. Past speakers have included Franklin Graham, Dr. Ben Carson, Dr. Alveda King, Glenn Beck, Jay Sekulow and Michael Reagan.

2. The Extraordinary Give

3. American Cancer Society Legacy Ball

Words that best Describe Lancaster County

1. Scenic

2. Diverse

3. Historic

Unsung “Community” Hero

1. Casey Spacht

In 2006, Lancaster’s small farms were struggling to survive. The idea of forming a co-op took root and Casey Spacht, who had grown up in Lancaster and had been part of a team managing a natural foods co-op in Tennessee, was brought in as a consultant. Soon, he found himself as Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative’s general manager. Today, he is its executive director. The co-op has witnessed phenomenal growth over the past decade. The original nine farmers who signed on to provide the co-op with organic fruit and vegetables and other items have grown more than tenfold. Through a highly successful CSA (community supported agriculture) program, organic fruit and vegetables are distributed among shareholders in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia, spring through early winter. (Shares of cheese, eggs, bread, chicken and meat are also available.) Wholesale accounts throughout the same region include restaurants, hotels and markets. The fact that consumers desire healthier lifestyles was evident last June, when Lancaster VegFest – Lancaster Farm Fresh was a sponsor, and Casey participated on a panel of speakers who discussed a plant-based lifestyle – attracted nearly 100 vendors and exhibitors and thousands of visitors to Buchanan Park. In Casey’s estimation, “Growing and supporting life so future generations can live in a good way,” is the best part of his job.

2. Dr. Clark McSparren, Jr.

In 2003, the renowned Lancaster pediatrician, who has treated countless patients over his nearly 60-year career, was honored by the McCaskey Alumni Association for his stature in both his profession and the community, and as a person the association hopes students will strive to emulate. At the age of 84, Dr. McSparren is still giving back to both his alma mater and the community. During that same year, he began volunteering his time to students who attend Carter and MacRae Elementary School, where Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and the School District of Lancaster collaborate to operate one of the district’s school-based clinics. According to LG Health’s website, he saw a notice about the Carter and MacRae opening in the hospital’s newsletter and volunteered his services.
Dr. McSparren also supports the community in a myriad of other ways, most notably his commitment to the arts.

3. Ron Buch

Ron Buch is a busy man. He is the senior pastor of Breakout Ministries in Leola and the general manager at Joel’s Painting & Contracting.
With a big smile, Ron says he doesn’t have a conventional congregation. He works with ex-offenders, drug addicts and former drug addicts, himself coming out of addiction 40 years ago.
“A lot of people have turned the corner at this church and have turned to Jesus … I’m the guy who pulls people out of the fire that other people don’t see.”
He does a lot of prison visits and also oversees a discipleship house in Leola. He’s “involved in the aftercare for people who are getting out of prison.”
He has also written a book titled What Do I Do Now? – an easy-to-read-style book based on the Bible that is meant to help those who have “experienced the ‘new birth’ spoken of by Jesus Christ.”
“I hang out with people and try to be positive,” Ron says. “Your greatest testimony is what you do in secret.”