Central Manor Bakery and Grille is a cozy, neighborhood place – the kind that has friendly staff and lots of “regulars.” But this restaurant’s neighborhood is far reaching, as it’s located in a rural area with Washington Boro, Millersville and Mountville as the closest communities.
Known to locals and regulars as “Central Manor Mart,” it’s part of the fabric of the community. The building that houses the restaurant and bakery has been around since the era in which everyone traveled by horse and carriage. Back then, it served the public as the Green Tree Tavern. A historic photo of the building hangs on the wall by the entrance, while a framed 1800’s map of the area is displayed in the area that serves as a small mini-mart. Because of its close proximity to the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail, Central Manor is reaching an all-new audience, as bikers and hikers using the trail stop by beforehand to “carb up” or afterward to “refuel.”
Heidi French notes that the Mart has been in her family for years – her grandfather and his eight brothers once owned it; her mother, Lucy Nissley, took over ownership in 1997. The restaurant seats approximately 80 and is known for its home cooking. In fact, meals are prepared in an open kitchen. Breakfast is available all day. “We have regulars that come in every day for coffee; they’re like family. Breakfast is really big for us, and on Saturday, it’s a bit crazy in here,” Heidi says.
The menu also features soups, salads, sandwiches (including hot and cold deli subs), mouthwatering desserts and ice cream treats such as milkshakes and floats. The menu is augmented by specials; breakfast specials are only available until 11 a.m. On Thursdays an entrée special is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (they’re listed on the website). “We can serve 300 to 400 people that day. Our baked chicken pie is one of the Thursday specials, and it’s very popular. We make and freeze them so people can take them home – it’s an easy meal to warm up,” Heidi explains. Quarts of soup can also be found in a refrigerated case for takeout.
Central Manor’s Bakery items are available for retail sales and include cookies, cupcakes, pies, decorated cakes and the always-popular whoopie pies. Some selections are seasonal. In the fall, Heidi notes that apple dumplings are a big seller as is anything with pumpkin – pumpkin cakes, pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin rolls and pumpkin pies. Frosted pumpkin cookies are the exception – they’re available year round.
During the second week of November, the bakery begins rolling out Christmas cookies. Offerings include Sand Tarts (the thin, hand-rolled kind), Gingerbread People, Thumbprints, Pecan Balls, Tea Time Lassies, Lace and Spritz (among others).
Heidi credits the restaurant and bakery’s long-term staff for playing a role in its success. “We couldn’t do this without our dedicated employees. Whether they’re a ‘regular’ or come in every now and then, people like seeing the same faces, and they know they’ll have good service with a smile,” she says.
Central Manor Bakery and Grille, 3667 Blue Rock Road (Route 999), Lancaster (Washington Boro), 872-8211, centralmanorbakery.com. Hours: 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday through Friday; 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday; closed Sunday.