The motto of Max’s Eatery is “everyday eating.” It lives up to that promise, offering “adventurous food” at affordable prices with a dash of fun and “beloved memories” thrown in for good measure. Located in downtown Lancaster’s market/theatre district, Max’s held its grand opening in September.
The restaurant is a collaboration between partners Douglas Bernard, Connor Harris and Chef Matt Titter. Megan Lefever Titter, who is a certified sommelier, serves as front-of-the-house manager. Named after Matt and Megan’s 9-year-old son, Max, the eatery fills a niche in the downtown restaurant scene.
“Matt and I moved from Lancaster to Arizona a few years ago. I was a teacher, and he went into the restaurant business,” Megan explains of their journey. Megan had worked in restaurants during high school and college. “While I liked being a teacher, I missed being in restaurants, so I worked part time in a restaurant,” she continues. “We would talk about opening our own place. When we moved back to Lancaster, the conversation continued. We wanted a central location, but we also looked at what was missing from the restaurant scene and decided to fill that niche.”
The interior, which is characterized by exposed brick and high ceilings, offers seating for about 115, including tables in the two storefront windows that flank the doorway. A counter features seating on soda fountain-style barstools. The restaurant’s name and motto are emblazoned in neon pink behind the counter/bar. Matt says the counter styling was inspired by sushi counters, which traditionally have two tiers. “We deliberately designed the counter to be two-tiered rather than a flat bar top,” Matt notes.
“You’re just as likely to be seated beside a child enjoying a milkshake from the JV menu as you are someone enjoying a meal and an adult beverage,” Megan points out. “And, counters seem to encourage conversation among people. We love that people are making memories here as they snap photos with the counter and sign in the background.”
Also, by design, there are no TVs. “We want to encourage couples, families and friends to interact with one another rather than focusing on a TV,” she stresses.
“Our whole concept is a nod to the heritage and history of a community
‘go-to’ spot,” Matt adds.
Max’s offers an “all-day” menu. “Breakfast meetings are popular downtown, so we offer breakfast items. But we’re also an everyday eatery, so we want someone coming home from third shift to be able to order breakfast, a sandwich or an entrée,” Megan says.
Matt says the menu will change two to three items annually as seasonal items are added. For example, the recent “Sweater Weather” menu included a Fall Gobble sandwich – house-roasted turkey, herb mayo, cranberry relish, bacon and sambal slaw on a toasted pretzel roll. The menu also features sweet potato hash, roasted veggie burrito, burgers, chicken puff pie, spaghetti Bolognese, a Caesar salad, and hot popper crab dip. For those on the go or for family dining, there’s a cereal bar.
All of the bartenders are also trained soda jerks. “We do have a full bar, but we also offer both JV shakes and floats without alcohol as well as adult shakes and floats,” Megan explains.
Staff engagement is part of the fun – in fact, Max himself can sometimes be found at the restaurant after school or during school vacations. If it’s a guest’s birthday, they not only receive a special treat (a waffle with whipped cream and a candle), but also a serenade from the staff. “We really love birthdays,” Megan says with a smile.
Max’s also hosts a monthly Sunday Supper that’s theme-based. According to Megan, the themes vary and have included the Great Maxby – a nod to the flapper and speakeasy era – where staff and many of the guests dressed in period costumes.
For the upcoming Galentine’s Day (February 13), Max’s will have a special float as well as a few other features. “It will be a fun time,” Megan says.
Max’s Eatery is located at 38 W. King St. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Reservations can be made online. Takeout available. Delivery available via Uber Eats. For more information, call 717-984-6286 or visit maxseatery.com and on Facebook.