For a significant portion of my childhood, my parents owned two local pizza joints. Owning their own restaurants had many drawbacks for Mom and Dad; the long hours, dealing with staff and the myriad of financial hurdles owners of small businesses have to attend to just to name a few. That’s not to say there weren’t perks. While unlimited free pizza may not have done wonders for my complexion, it did afford me a limited amount of social cache with other local teenagers.
Free food non-withstanding, I saw the toll owning your own restaurant took on my parents. Years later, my wife would ask me if I missed the pizza shop, and I would tell her that I never wanted to be a part of the restaurant-owner lifestyle again.
Unless of course I had money to burn. Then suddenly the idea became a lot more appealing.
As a wealthy restaurant benefactor, I could sit around and dine with locals, joke around with the chef and tinker endlessly with the menu. Now that sounded like a lot of fun. In this scenario The restaurant I would imagine in my head was a friendly local pub in a renovated turn of the century building with a long bar accented with brass fixtures, high backed booths made of dark woods and of course me, the gregarious welcoming owner getting fatter by the day.
“So what does this have to do with Lancaster County per se?” you may be asking yourself, and for good reason having just trudged through at least two paragraphs that have nothing to do with Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the slightest. Well, I had a photography meetup this past weekend to shoot the Lancaster Science Factory. Afterward, we all got together for lunch and a few beers at the nearby Lancaster Brewing Company. In my “wealthy restaurant benefactor scenario” the LBC would fit the bill as the restaurant perfectly. Although they don’t have any high-backed booths, the atmosphere inside the old brick building is truly Lancaster County. The history of the building can be traced back to the 1880′s. At various times it was used as a tobacco warehouse, a clearing house for scrap metal and even housed enemy prisoners during World War II. There’s a great bar area accented with a copper countertop, and the general seating area surrounds the gigantic silver vats used in the brewing process, spanning two floors of the building giving the Brewery a comfortable roomy feel.
Of course the main attraction is some very tasty beer brewed right on the premises, the most popular of which seem to be the Amish Four Grain Pale Ale and the Hop Hog IPA. Although a lot of what LBC has to offer is available at beer distributors and restaurants throughout the County, many customers still come in to get their bottles directly from the source.
The lunch turned out to be terrific. They set our group up in a back room that worked out great for photography-talk. I had a glass of the Strawberry Wheat beer along with their Caesar Salad (pictured above). Everyone at the meetup seemed pretty satisfied with their grub. Most folks ordered varieties on the LBC’s Classic Angus Burger which looked plentiful and smelled fantastic. I even noticed someone with a tasty looking Beer-Soaked Brat, and coming from someone who lives to soak, par-broil and grill brats in the summertime, that’s a decent compliment.