Offering a unique blend of craft coffee and artisan food, the Speckled Hen, which opened in July 2015, has become the go-to place in Strasburg for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in-between.
Owners Ryan and Janae Dagen can often be found welcoming guests. “We’ve created a community space; people make it their own,” Ryan says in describing the café.
The Speckled Hen seats 70 indoors and has a small outdoor sidewalk-type seating area. There’s also a conference room available that seats 12. Janae says that space is perfect for small business meetings, birthday parties, holiday get-togethers and other celebrations. Ryan adds that a number of clubs, whose interests range from books to knitting, meet at the café.
The café itself has a warm, inviting feel. Large front windows admit lots of light, even on a cloudy, cool day. There’s a counter to place orders as well as a sit-up coffee bar. Seating is mostly at tables, but there’s also a seating area in front of a fireplace. The Speckled Hen also boasts a kid’s corner. “It’s really become a focal point for kids and their parents or grandparents,” Janae says. “We want to provide a safe, comfortable space for people to meet and work,” Ryan adds.
As to how the café got its name, Janae explains that she grew up on a poultry farm – Runnymede Farm in Quarryville – hence the “Hen”. As for the word “Speckled”, Janae explains that it represents the diversity and uniqueness – or “speckles” – that define Lancaster County.
Janae’s farm experience, plus Ryan’s family heritage – his mother was born into an Amish family, and he grew up eating the farm-fresh favorites the county is known for – and having experienced working with a coffee roaster in the Midwest, provided the inspiration for the café’s concept.
Diverse is a word that can be applied to the menu as well. “We have craft coffee and artisan food. We scratch-make a lot of the items using simple ingredients, most of which are locally-sourced,” says Ryan.
Coffee is from Lancaster-based Passenger Coffee Roasting. “We like the fact that Passenger has a direct relationship with the farmers who grow the coffee, and they focus on quality,” Ryan adds. Speckled Hen’s signature coffee is Passenger’s Keystone blend. The café also offers several single origin coffees, and each cup can be ground individually at the pour-over bar.
Eggs used to create the Hen’s breakfast items are sourced from Janae’s family farm. Meat is supplied by Verdant View Farm, which is a short distance from the restaurant. Salad greens are hydroponic and grown locally by Meck’s Produce. “People appreciate the farm-fresh fare, no matter if they’re from the area or if they’re visitors to the county,” Ryan notes.
With regard to the menu, Janae points out that it’s updated seasonally, and it offers a lot of healthy options. Breakfast items are available all day. Lunch items are served from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Brunch is available both Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., along with other breakfast and lunch menu options. Brunch items include omelettes, French toast and quiche with a side salad.
Popular breakfast items include the signature Speckled Hen omelette (made with bacon, bell pepper, onion and basil), Greek omelette (made with feta, tomato, onion and spinach), baked oatmeal (served with steamed milk and seasonal fruit), and smoked Gouda egg sandwich. The fruit & yogurt parfait features seasonal fruit and house-made granola.
The lunch menu features such favorites as the smoked panini and the gluten-free chicken salad, which is made using Greek yogurt and candied walnuts. Ryan reports that the chicken salad, which is his favorite lunch-menu item, can be served as a sandwich or as a salad.
Tuesday is Taco Night, while Wednesday is Burger Night.
In addition to coffee, which can also be served iced, the beverage selection includes espresso, hot chocolate, tea, chai latte, frappes, fruit smoothies and more. The Speckled Hen also allows guests to BYOB.
Live music fills the cafe on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. And, during Strasburg’s Holiday Home Tour on Saturday, December 3, the Speckled Hen will offer a discount to tour participants; just show tickets for the discount.
On-site and off-site catering are also available, as are box lunches and sandwich trays with advance notice.
Speckled Hen, 141 East Main Street, Strasburg. Call 288-3139 or visit speckledhencoffee.com. Hours are 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday.