2024-2025Featured

Strasburg

Speckled Hen 

Driven by a passion for community, fresh food and quality coffee, entrepreneurs Ryan and Janae Dagen opened Speckled Hen in 2015. “I can’t believe it’s been almost 10 years,” Janae says of their flourishing café. “The name was inspired by our passion for celebrating diversity and valuing community. We believe that the unique attributes or ‘speckles’ that we each have is what makes community so rich and beautiful,” Janae continues. “We also chose the icon of the Hen as a symbol of our farm-to-table approach.” 

From Speckled Hen: French Toast topped with strawberries and blueberries and a dusting of sugar, and accompanied by candied-bacon. The antioxidant-rich Blue Butterfly Tea Latte is comprised of herbal blue butterfly pea flower, choice of milk and lavender syrup.

Eggs are a key element of the menu, sourced directly from Janae’s parents at Runnymede Farm in Quarryville, where she grew up. In addition, the Dagens partner with other farms and local purveyors for products such as beef, produce, dairy products and coffee. 

On the cover: The French Toast is joined by the Farmers Best Omelette platter that entails farm-fresh eggs stuffed with broccoli, peppers, sautéed onions, spinach, portobello mushrooms and garlic humus. It’s topped with Feta cheese and served with potatoes, toast, and coffee.

Breakfast is served all day and includes omelettes, bowls, quiche, sandwiches and more. Baked goods and pastries are made in-house and include a selection of gluten-free and vegan treats. The lunch menu consists of burgers, wraps, paninis, veggie dishes, salads and more. Desserts and a wide selection of beverages – in addition to coffee, espresso, tea and latte, there are refreshers such as lavender and strawberry lemonade – are also on the menu. A kid’s menu is available, as well. 

Upstairs, you’ll find the Bespoke Taproom, where Bespoke craft beer is available, along with cocktails made with Pennsylvania spirits, wine (from Waltz) and cider. 

Bespoke Brewing is a venture that the Dagens launched in 2020, partnering with Jon Sager on the project. What began as a brewery and a small taproom grew into a full-scale brew pub in 2023. Again, the focus is on local and the menu has more of a pub-fare focus. The two entities dovetail, as Speckled Hen is open for breakfast and lunch, while Bespoke welcomes lunch and dinner guests. 

For more information, visit Speckledhencoffee.com and bespokebrewingco.com. 

A Little History

Welcome to one of the state’s most picturesque towns. Credit for that goes in part to the establishment of the Historic District, which ensures that homes and buildings in a designated area are restored and maintained according to guidelines that were established in 1976. In all, more than 200 homes and buildings (representing a wide span of eras and architectural styles) comprise the district. 

European settlement dates to the late 1600s, when hunter/trader, Pierre Bezaillon, arrived in the area, paving the way for other French Huguenots from the Alsace region to follow. People of German and Swiss heritage (including Amish and Mennonites) also settled the area. As the village was located along the Conestoga Road, it instantly became a major thoroughfare for commerce and those making their way west. 

Strasburg, which is a very walkable town, is known for its dedication to maintaining the period architecture that defines the Historic District.

The village became known as Strasbourg in the mid-1700s, later reverting to its present-day spelling. It was during this time period that Strasburg grew, as the descendants of the Dougharty and Kendig families made the decision to sell parcels of the combined 300 acres they had inherited. This led to the growth of business opportunities and with it, the village’s population. By 1800, only Lancaster City surpassed Strasburg in terms of wealth and population. 

Another aspect of Strasburg’s economic success was the Strasburg Rail Road. Chartered in 1832, it provided a link (for freight and travelers) to points east and west. Saved from demise in the late 1950s, it is now regarded as the oldest continually operating railroad in North America and as the most-visited heritage railroad in the continental U.S. 

Out and About 

The Strasburg Creamery and Café is a popular place for tourists and locals to take a break.

The success of the Strasburg Rail Road (strasburgrailroad.com) led to Strasburg becoming known as “Train Town USA.” In addition to the Strasburg Rail Road, you’ll find attractions such as the Railroad Museum of PA (rrmuseumpa.org), the Choo Choo Barn (choochoobarn.com), and the National Toy Train Museum (tcatrains.org). 

Climb aboard the Strasburg Rail Road and travel to Paradise. The railroad hosts culinary-related events on a regular basis.

Other attractions include Sight & Sound Theatres (sight-sound.com), Cherry Crest Adventure Farm (cherrycrestfarm.com), Village Greens Miniature Golf (villagegreens.com) and the Lancaster County Art Association galleries (lcaaonline.org). The Strasburg Heritage Society (strasburgheritagesociety.org) offers events such as garden and holiday home tours each year. Strasburg also traditionally hosts the area’s first Mud Sale each February. 

Other Dining Destinations 

The menu is wide-ranging at the Fireside Tavern.

Casey Jones’ Restaurant 

Climb aboard and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner in a restaurant that makes its home in train cars. The menus are sure to please everyone in your party. The scenery – from farm fields to the Strasburg Rail Road – is unsurpassed. Redcaboosemotel.com. 

Fireside Tavern 

The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. A cozy tavern and dining rooms provide the settings for dinner. The menu offers a wide range of appetizers, entrées, desserts and more. (Don’t miss Fireside’s signature tomato bisque.) Dsfireside.com. 

The Tavern by Spring House 

Spring House Brewery’s lineup of craft beer is accompanied by a pub menu that features shared plates, handhelds and platters, salads and more. Springhousebeer.com. 

Hershey Farm 

Following a devastating fire in 2023, the rebuild of the farm’s restaurant is slated to be completed this spring. The new dining complex will include a restaurant (the Grand Smorgasbord), a café and the bakery. Hersheyfarm.com.

 

Strasburg Creamery Café 

The café menu includes coffee drinks, signature sandwiches, local baked goods and more. For dessert, stop by the adjoining ice cream parlor.
Strasburg.com/Strasburg-creamery.

Agape Café & Grille 

Incredible breakfast platters, decadent sandwiches, smoked meats, fresh salads, gourmet desserts and a wide selection of beverages from the coffee bar define the menu. Plus, Beautiful Home Interiors adjoins the restaurant. Agapecafeandgrill.com.  

Fulton Steamboat Inn 

Dine aboard a steamboat without leaving the port. Robert Fulton, the inventor of the steamboat, was born just south of the Strasburg area. Huckleberry’s Restaurant (and Huck’s Tavern) offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus. Fultonsteamboatinn.com. 

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