CELEBRATING LANCASTER COUNTY'S PEOPLE, SCENERY,

HERITAGE, STYLE & POINT OF VIEW SINCE 1987.

A River Runs Through It: Restaurants, Cafés & Brewpubs

Whether you’re walking the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, spending time on the Susquehanna River, antiquing or exploring the area’s rich history, the River Towns – Columbia, Marietta, Bainbridge and Wrightsville – have a variety of restaurants, cafés, wineries and brewpubs for you to enjoy. 

Columbia

Bully’s Restaurant & Pub

647 Union St., bullys-restaurant.com

The building dates to 1903 and once served as the Union Hotel. Bully’s carved walnut and chestnut bar was created for the hotel. Today, guests can enjoy the finely prepared food, including Bully’s signature creamy crab soup, and the carefully selected wines and numerous beers from Bully’s Beer Bible.

 

The yummiest shrimp & cheesy grits this side of Charleston, South Carolina, can be found at Café 301 in Columbia. Photo by Sue Long.

Café 301

301 Locust St., facebook.com/Cafe301llc

This cozy, casual café was established in 2018 by chef Laurie Myers. It’s housed in a historic building renovated by Cimarron Investments. The menu features Southern comfort food including baked oatmeal, chicken & waffles, shrimp & grits and the signature soul roll (egg roll stuffed with collard greens, rice and chicken BBQ in a house-made sauce). The menu also features hot or cold coffee drinks and flavored lemonade. 

Coffee and Cream

101 N. Front St., coffee-and-cream-coffee-shop.business.site

A short walk from the river trail, this casual café boasts both indoor and outdoor seating. The menu features a variety of coffee, tea and chocolate drinks (both hot and cold), hand-dipped ice cream, pastries, baked oatmeal and sandwiches.  

Columbia Kettle Works

40 N. Third St., columbiakettleworks.com

The brewpub features its own craft-brewed beer, as well as local wines and cocktails made with Pennsylvania distilled spirits. The food menu includes snacks such as house-made hummus, Hammond’s pretzels and flavored popcorn from Columbia Popcorn Co., as well as soups, salads, meat & cheese plates and sandwiches.

 

Cle Berntheizel, the owner of Garth in Columbia, oversees a second-floor café that offers a tasty summer refresher: flavored Italian soda made with fresh cream. Photo by Jordan Bush.

Garth

22 S. Second St., garthart.co

Garth is an art gallery, frame shop, café and events venue that’s located just a few doors away from Wright’s Ferry Mansion. Located on the second floor, the café features a house-blend coffee crafted by Vintage Coffee Works, tea, chocolate drinks and Italian soda made with fresh cream. 

Hinkle’s Restaurant

261 Locust St., hinklesrestaurant.com

The iconic restaurant has a new modern look that features links to the past via photos and some time-honored menu items such as chicken croquettes and the shifter sandwich. There’s even a vintage soda fountain that serves up delicious ice cream and cold treats.

Starview Brews

224 Locust St., starviewbrews.com 

Open since January, craft beer is brewed onsite. “Guest beer” from other local craft brewers is also featured. Starview’s craft brews are named after local landmarks and include Long Level Lager and Chickies Rock Cream Ale. Local wine and cocktails crafted with Pennsylvania spirits are also on
the menu. 

Smith’s Hotel

1030 Lancaster Ave., facebook.com/pages/category/Pub/Smiths-Hotel-71318856372

Smith’s cheesesteaks are legendary. There’s both indoor and outdoor dining. Food and beer are available for carryout. 

Union Station Grill

173 S. Fourth St., unionstationgrill.net

This casual restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining. The menu features soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps, entrées and seasonal offerings. Beverages include domestic and craft beer (bottles/cans), as well as cocktails with fanciful names like Summer Girl and Mint Cucumber Sparkle.

Marietta 

Marco’s

1410 River Rd., marcos-pizza.net

The focus is on hand-prepared authentic Italian meals. The dough that’s the basis for fresh dinner rolls, pizza crust, stromboli, calzones, focaccia and sandwiches is made fresh daily, as are the flavorful sauces. A selection of soups is made fresh daily, as well.

McCleary’s Public House

130 W. Front St., mcclearyspub.com

Both the food and spirits menus are varied and extensive. Menu items include Irish favorites such as bangers and mash, fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. Seating options include the pub-like dining rooms, the bar area and a glass-enclosed four seasons patio. There’s also live music Wednesday through Saturday. McCleary’s will be hosting the Marietta Music Festival on July 16.  

Molly’s Courtyard Café

17 E. Market St., mollyscourtyardcafe.com 

This charming café serves breakfast (all day) and lunch. Menu items include peanut butter toast, breakfast burrito, baked goods (bagels, muffins, donuts, cupcakes), soups, salads, sandwiches and warm grain bowls. 

 

Mulberry Thrill in Marietta is known for its customizable ice cream sandwich: you choose the style of cookie and the ice cream flavor. Photo by Jordan Bush.

Mulberry Thrill

100 W. Market St. (rear), facebook.com/mulberrythrill

The extensive ice cream menu includes custom sandwiches – you choose the ice cream and the cookie flavors. There’s even vegan ice cream, gluten-free cones and Achenbach’s pastries. Cold brews are also a specialty.

Nick’s Bistro

324 W. Market St., nicksbistromarietta.com 

Nick’s features casual, relaxed dining. The dining room’s exposed-log walls and fireplace provide a romantic, Colonial atmosphere, while the bar area features a more modern vibe. The menu is a mix of classic American cuisine and creative feature items. There’s a music trivia night and an open mic night.

Railroad House Inn

280 W. Front St., railroadhouseinn.com 

This historic property is home to several unique venues including the restaurant and patio (with innovative food and beverage menus), the casual Perry Street Cellar (pub-style fare), event space and 10 recently remodeled guest rooms.

 

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars are all the rage! In Marietta, River Trail Brewing (formerly Pig Iron) even has a K9 menu and holds a “Yappy Hour” on Saturdays. River Trail FB photo.

River Trail Brewing

40 E. Front St., rivertrailbrewing.com

Formerly Pig Iron Brewing, River Trail features both casual indoor and patio dining. The menu focuses on seafood and high-quality comfort food. The drinks menu includes craft beer and cocktails. River Trail is dog-friendly – a K9 meats-and-treats menu was introduced in May, and there’s a Saturday “Yappy Hour.” 

Shank’s Tavern

36 S. Waterford Ave., shankstavern.com 

Regarded as the oldest continuously operating tavern in Lancaster County, Shank’s is known for its neighborhood atmosphere, as well as its daily food and drink specials. There’s both indoor dining and outdoor patio dining. The extensive menu includes homemade soups, sandwiches, salads and flatbread pizzas incorporating gluten-free, low-carb and vegetarian options and always using market-fresh produce. Their crabcakes are legendary! 

Stanley’s Trail Side

392 E. Front St., stanleystrailside.com 

While hand-cut Angus steaks and hand-crafted burgers are the main draws, the menu also features chicken entrées and sandwiches and pub favorites such as onion straws, cheese fries and smoked mac-and-cheese. Indoor dining has a comfortable feel with an open ceiling, exposed hemlock beams and wood dining room tables. There’s a deck for outdoor dining.

Wrightsville

Burning Bridge Tavern

108 Hellam St., bbtpa.com 

This neighborhood tavern bills itself as “Wrightsville’s First Honky Tonk Bar.” The focus is on mesquite BBQ with meats done low and slow in an onsite BBQ cooker. The menu also includes pub fare like nachos, wings, crab pretzels and fried pickles as well as sandwiches, wraps, salads and burgers. Burning Bridge is also known for its live music lineup. 

 

John Wright Restaurant in Wrightsville offers its guests a stellar view of the river and Veterans Memorial Bridge. John Wright FB photo.

John Wright Restaurant

234 N. Front St., jwrpa.com 

Riverside dining with a view defines this restaurant that makes its home in a former warehouse. Indoors, the Four Seasons Room features glass walls that provide a view of the river. The seasonal patio features a wood-fired pizza oven. Menus vary by season to take advantage of fresh, locally produced ingredients. The Real Food Emporium by John Wright Restaurant is located on the premises and offers fresh local ingredients and to-go family-style meals. 

Moon Dancer Winery

1330 Klines Run Rd., moondancerwinery.com

The setting resembles a vineyard in France, complete with a French chateau and a patio that overlooks the vines and countryside. The wine selection ranges from European-style dry varieties to Pennsylvania sweets. Cider and craft beer are also available. As for food, Ta Ta Kua’s menu (available weekends) includes wood-fired artisan pizza, grilled cheese, mac-and-cheese and more. Live music is also offered weekends. 

Wild Batch Bistro

120 N. Fourth St., facebook.com/thewildbatch

Wild Batch features house-made baked items and coffee drinks/cold brews. The menu includes homemade bagels, breakfast crepes and pastries including tarts, scones, muffins and macarons. Gluten-free and vegan items are offered.  

Wrightsville Inn and Drafthouse

601 S. Front St., wrightsvilleinn.com

The seafood-focused menu also features broasted chicken, black angus burgers, mac-and-cheese and salads. The colossal lump crabcakes were voted “Best of York County.” 

Bainbridge 

Conoy Coffee 

230 Locust Grove Rd., facebook.com/conoycoffee

Coffee for a cause is the mission of this shop that makes its home at Historic Haldeman Mansion. In addition to coffee and other drinks, the revolving menu offers items such as breakfast pizza, breakfast burritos, pastries, baked goods, avocado toast and more. Proceeds help community members who are facing unexpected or sudden loss.  

Gigi’s Ice Cream Bar

2 S. Second St., facebook.com/bainbridgepa

A seasonal ice cream parlor that is a favorite stop for trail users, Gigi’s offers everything under the sun where ice cream treats are concerned. It also offers before-dessert items such as burgers, wings and more. Note: Open evenings (5-9 p.m.) only.  

Little Italy Restaurant

2141 River Rd., facebook.com/Little-Italy-Restaurant-201416267018 

The restaurant features Italian favorites such as pizza, stromboli, calzone, subs and pasta. Appetizers also have an Italian theme. 

Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate

140 Vintage Dr., nissleywine.com

Summerfest kicks off July 8 with music provided by Pocketful O’ Soul and continues weekends through August 27. In addition to Nissley’s lineup of wines, beer from Moo Duck is also available for purchase. As for food, the area’s favorite food trucks will be on hand to provide their specialities. If you feel like spending a lazy afternoon enjoying the weather, ambiance and a glass (or two) of wine, you can also purchase the makings for a charcuterie board at the winery, as well as snacks. 

 

With so much to choose from, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

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