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Central PA Foods: What They Are and Where to Find Them

November 20, 2023
Apple Pie

Located just 45 minutes from Lancaster, PA—the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country—and only a few from downtown York, York College of Pennsylvania is situated near numerous providers of local food. Whether you’re looking for whoopie pies, hogmaw, shoofly pie, apple dumplings or more, you’re bound to find a bite to eat no matter where you go. Below are some recommendations you might find abbeditlich (delicious!).

Whoopie pies

Whoopie pies, a local favorite treat, consist of light, fluffy cream sandwiched between two mini- cakes that are often chocolate.

Sophomore Nursing major Becca Cox loves whoopie pies. A Lancaster County (PA) native, Becca’s favorite version of whoopie pies is those made from chocolate-chip cookies.

“My favorite food from my hometown is Amish-made chocolate-chip cookie whoopie pies. I personally love this sweet treat because it tastes so good. Whenever I see one at an Amish food stand, I always grab it,” Becca says.

Sophomore Supply Chain Operations Management major Megan Holtzinger (York, PA) also loves whoopie pies. She used to work at a food stand at The Markets at Hanover (PA) where there was a food stand connected to the Shady Maple Smorgasboard in East Earl, PA. There, she was able to sample authentic PA Dutch cuisine, including whoopie pies.

“They make the best whoopie pies, easily making them one of my favorite local PA foods. They are the best pick-me-up snack and dessert all in one,” she adds.

If you don’t happen to have any Amish food stands near you, check out Flinchbaugh’s Orchard and Farm Market in nearby Hellam, PA, or The Markets in Hanover to sample a whoopie pie yourself.

Apple Cider Donuts

Apple cider donuts are a regional fall staple in Central Pennsylvania. Sophomore Secondary English Education major Arianna Wright’s (Glen Rock, PA) favorite place to get them is Brown’s Orchards and Farm Market in Loganville, PA.

“One of my favorite foods is apple cider donuts. They are made with fresh-pressed apple cider and are dusted with cinnamon sugar. They’re great to eat when heated up and with vanilla ice cream,” Arianna says. “They are perfect in the fall, which is my favorite season. My favorite place to get them is from a family-owned farmers market [Brown’s] where I actually work.”

Apple cider donuts can also often be found in many grocery stores during the fall season.

Philly Cheesesteaks

Perhaps one of the better-known regional Central Pennsylvania foods, Philly cheesesteaks consist of fried steaks cut into strips, topped with melted cheese and onions. Senior Health Sciences major Anya Swankoski, who hails from Downington (near Philadelphia), loves them.

“As someone from the Philly side of PA, I will always enjoy a good cheesesteak. It makes me feel like I'm at home,” Anya says. “While they are sold in other states in the country, I would only trust it in PA, specifically if you are in or around Philadelphia.”

If you’re not in the Philadelphia area, but a Philly-style cheesesteak sounds good, check out Smith’s Hotel & Bar in Columbia, PA, or one of the numerous sub and sandwiches shops in West York, such as Hefty Lefty’s Hoagies & Grinders or Charleys Philly Steaks.

Chicken Pot Pie

Another one of Anya’s favorites is chicken pot pie. While pot pie can be made two ways—with crust or without—Anya’s favorite is made with no crust and ‘pot pie’ noodles (flat squares of boiled dough) with vegetables.

“It reminds me more of a soup, and it feels like a cozy, warm meal for a chilly fall day. You can get it many places in Central PA, but I know there are many local markets and shops in Lancaster,” Anya says.

If you want to stay closer to campus, The Copper Crust Company, located in the Colonial Shopping Center, is a good option for chicken pot pie, along with soups, sandwiches, bakery goods, and more.