In all of my years enjoying the various sights and tastes of Hershey — I first covered Hershey in national publication US Airways Magazine in ’06 and wrote a Hershey travel guide that was published in ’09 — I’ve never really enjoyed more than a perfunctory business lunch at the Hershey Grill.
Located on the Governor Road side of the Hershey Lodge, Hershey Grill is a great gathering place for your Hershey-centric meetings, whether business or social. Easy to access with ample parking (and standard complimentary valet parking for guests), you have your choice of inside bar, cozy booth or outdoor patio seating.
Grab a pal for an early “Hoppy” Hour at Hershey Grill. From 4-6 p.m., they offer $3 drafts and buy one, get one half off appetizers. The draft selection is small, but hyperlocal: Choose from Troegs (currently new seasonal Hop Knife), Brewery at Hershey Chocolate Brown Ale (that’s the M.I.L.F. renamed for family-focused Hershey) or Hip Hops Hooray IPA. They also offer Blue Moon and Yuengling Lager.
But the food — oh, the food.
[Let me apologize for these subpar images. iPhone 6 anyone? Also, please note some images reflect a "tasting" portion that was prepared here -- many are bigger.]
We started with one I would have overlooked on my own but ended up being one of the stars of the evening: Grilled Bruschetta. This housemade items is a big hunk of olive and rosemary crostini (it’s a thick slice, “crostini” doesn’t do it justice) with a roasted garlic aioli, topped with shaved parmesan, arugula and tomato-caper relish. This was outstanding, and you should order it immediately. Serves two.
Next, we tried the Crispy Crab Cakes (standard portion is two cakes), rested on a kalamata mayonnaise and served with a delicious and refreshing salad of baby arugula, radish and preserved lemon vinaigrette.
Next up was the Tea Smoked Chicken Lettuce Wraps with pickled shitake mushrooms, radish sprouts hugged by Bibb lettuce and served with Hoisin dipping sauce. These were tasty and fresh, a house favorite. Comes in an order of three wraps.
Flash Fried Calamari is another house favorite I loved the gazpacho vinaigrette served as a dipping sauce — could have eaten it like soup!
Honestly, I probably never would have thought to order Chicken Wings at the Hershey Grill, but these were so tasty. Served in a mild cayenne pepper sauce that was just the balance of flavor and spice. Zippy but not overbearing.
Here’s another one I would have passed over on my own, but these Shrimp and Lobster Corndogs are legit. Served over a fennel-green mango salad and served with a spicy roasted yellow pepper ketchup that I wanted to bottle and take home. Must try.
All of these appetizers are buy one, get one half off during “Hoppy” Hour, 4-6 p.m. daily. (Plus, don’t forget you can wash it down with $3 draft beers.)
BONUS: Hershey Grill also is featuring an Oktoberfest menu now through Oct. 4.
We sampled a few of these dishes, too.
Get a load of this: Gnocchi Reuben. The most tender corned beef I’ve ever tasted, nestled beside toasted caraway seed dumpling, ementhaler cheese and sauerkraut with a sweet gherkin chili sour cream.
My husband’s always like, “Don’t order trout in a restaurant, it tastes best straight from the stream.” But sometimes — sometimes — he’s wrong. This dish ended up being my favorite of the night (along withe our starter Bruschetta and the Peanut Butter Cup dessert — see below). The House-Smoked Rainbow Trout was prepared with cider brown butter, caramelized apple and red onion, with sour cream spätzle and baby spinach. Delicious — even the next day!
To complete our meal(s), we sampled the Sweetened Goat Cheese Cake, which was served with brandied dried fruits and walnut praline. This was a nice change from the traditional, perfect for those who say they hate sweets.
Nab all three above for $32 – prixe fix menu price. Find more options here.
However, for those of us who do enjoy the sweet offerings that Hershey is known for, I highly recommend the Peanut Butter Cup from the Hershey Grill main menu. Emulating a classic Reese’s(tm) Peanut Butter Cup, it has a crisp chocolate shell, filled with chocolate cake and topped with a glorious mount of peanut butter cream. Better than any choc-pb cupcake you’ve ever had in your life. Somehow this made it home, and my husband devoured its remains.
For reservations, hours and full menu, visit their website.
Up next: Stay tuned for Hershey’s Wild Game & Mushroom Dinner next month — one of my favorite culinary events of the season.