So Many Choices … So Little Time:
Lancaster City Restaurant Week,
March 4-10

It was apropos that the preview of Lancaster City Restaurant Week was held at a restaurant named Decades. The annual celebration of food and hospitality is marking its 10th anniversary this year. Decades, which is celebrating its own milestone, 5 years, is one of 40-plus  restaurants, cafes, breweries and eateries participating in the event.

“The world is your oyster” defines the city’s culinary community. Talented chefs hail from all points of the globe, hence the variety of destinations is ever-expanding and includes a choice of American, Asian, Irish, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Latin, Middle Eastern, Nepalese, Vegan, South American and African diaspora cuisines. Desserts? Oh, my! Cocktails? Everything from the most classic to the trendiest! Craft beer? It’s synonymous with Lancaster. Farm-fresh ingredients? It can’t get much better.

On Monday, 14 such restaurants offered guests a preview of what’s to come during Restaurant Week, when special promotions, prix-fixe dinners and other such enticements lure people to the city to support their favorite restaurants or discover those that are new to the scene. Somebody had to do it, so Foodographer columnist, Jordan Bush, and I set to work and happily sampled the offerings. What follows are some tasting notes:

Frisco’s Chicken

Founder Francisco “Frisco” Gomez De La Torre was on hand to unveil his latest offering, chicken salad. To call it delicious does it disservice. Jordan pointed out that it has that hint of smokiness that makes Frisco’s Peruvian-style chicken so tasty. (The sandwiches paired well with Aji pepper dipping sauces made from flavorful and mild Aji peppers imported from Peru.) Frisco explained that his version of chicken salad takes him back to his childhood in Peru. He recalls that his mother would use leftover chicken to create a delicious salad treat for the following day. “And, it was a treat,” he recalls. Prompted by those memories, Frisco began experimenting with creating his own chicken salad. It will make its debut (as a special promotion) for Restaurant Week. After that, who knows? Based on the reviews it was garnering, I have a feeling chicken salad lovers will convince Frisco that it’s a keeper.

On Orange

Melissa Watro’s restaurant is known for its innovative breakfast fare, but occasionally she hosts dinners that demonstrate another aspect of her staff’s talents. During Restaurant Week, On Orange will host a dinner on Wednesday evening, March 6, that will include a menu created by chef Mary Ona Wheeler: Blini pancakes, cream of asparagus soup, shepherd’s pie and for dessert, panna cotta. BOYB is permitted. Call 717-299-6157 or email mwatro@comcast.net to make reservations.

As for the soup, people tend to have a love/hate relationship with asparagus. This soup just might possess the power to turn those in the latter category around, it was that good. I fall into the “love asparagus” faction and could have eaten bowls – very big bowls! – of it! That made Mary, who was on hand, very happy to hear.

KelSas SweetBox

You can take our word for it, the cheesecakes created by Kelly Carlucci and Sasha Santana are out of this world! The mini-minis they presented equated to little bites of heaven. By evening’s end, they were gone. No doubt, as we roll through March, flavors alluding to St. Paddy’s Day and Easter will be on the menu. Ah, but there’s more to KelSas than cheesecake. Charcuterie presentations, picnic fare and more are on the menu.

Diyo Fusion

I’m sure you’ve heard stories of people lining up to enjoy the fare at Himalayan Curry & Grill. The good news is that you now have a new option: Mohan Pradhan, a native of Nepal, recently opened Diyo Fusion at 101NQ. Jordan and his fiancée, Jessica, had dinner there on Valentine’s Day and reports that it was wonderful. For the preview, Diyo presented slices of rice crepe topped with chicken, red and green peppers, cilantro, eggs and cheese. It sort of reminded me of pizza, but the taste sensation was light and bright, which emphasizes Mohan’s goal to bring fresh and healthy food options to his fans. Also on the menu: a dessert made with creamy, sweet milk and saffron.


There’s a fusion of another kind taking place at this restaurant. In addition to providing tastes of places such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Peru, Brazil, Colombia and more, Flora’s is a feast for the eyes, as it serves as a gallery for artist Albert Gonzalez (whose wife is Flora, the owner of the restaurant). Both the menu and art are ever evolving. For the preview, the Gonzalezes served Cuban sandwiches.

401 Prime

Triple cut miso bacon … Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, Riesling miso glaze, pear & golden raisin chutney. There’s nothing left to be said except perfection.


Lavender Elixir … lavender and honey Earl Grey and fresh lemon are topped with seltzer and butterfly pea flower gelatin and garnished with button flowers. Who needs alcohol! OK, you can add Tito’s and make it a bona fide cocktail.

The Belvedere Inn

Forget the restaurant’s legendary grilled Caesar salad, the cream puffs, truffles and other tasty desserts were the perfect way to end our grazing odyssey. Biting into that puff of crispness led to a cloud of cream! The rich chocolatey interior of the truffle was oh, so, sweet.

Participating Restaurants

  • Altana
  • Annie Bailey’s Irish Public House
  • Bistro Barbaret
  • Butter and Bean (Southern Market)
  • C’est La Vie
  • Chellas Arepa Kitchen
  • Cocina Mexicana
  • Conway Social Club
  • Decades
  • Diyo Fusion
  • Flora’s
  • 401 Prime
  • Frisco’s Chicken
  • GEMs Catering
  • Himalayan Curry & Grill
  • Isaac’s Craft Kitchen & Brewery
  • Josephine’s Downtown
  • KelSas SweetBox
  • Lancaster Brewing Company
  • Layali El Sham (Southern Market)
  • Lombardo’s Italian Restaurant
  • Marion Court Room
  • Mekatos Eatery (Southern Market)
  • On Orange
  • Passerine
  • Prince Street Café
  • Proof of Lancaster
  • Rachel’s Café & Creperie
  • Rendezvous Pizzeria & Steak Shop
  • Savoy Truffle
  • Spring House Brewery
  • The Belvedere Inn
  • The Bread Peddler
  • The Coffin Bar
  • The Fridge
  • The Pressroom Restaurant
  • The Imperial
  • Urban Farmhouse
  • Yorgos Restaurant & Lounge
  • Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse

For details, visit lancastercityrestaurantweek.com.

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