The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81)
We've eaten at The Anthracite many, many times, and I've written about it and raved about it once or twice; but I've never posted a review with pictures. (For the photography-curious; two separate visits. On one visit we were directly under a track light!)
The Anthracite is a little bit out of the way (at 804 Scott Street in Wilkes-Barre, PA, if you are setting your GPS) but it is worth the extra turn or two if you are passing by on 81, and it is DEFINITELY worth the stop if you are staying in the area. The people are friendly and the food is cheap, fresh, homemade, and really, really good.
Decor is local color; The Anthracite used to be a VFW. The main dining room is a big, high-ceilinged box, and the walls are covered with old black and white photos of the region's history.
The pesto bruschetta is our appetizer of choice... really, the photo tells you all you need to know about why we love this place. $7.95 for fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, pine nuts, shaved parmesan, black olives, and home made focaccia... and that presentation! WHAT is not to like?
Homemade soups... vegetable clam chowder, and chicken pastine. Like mama used to make. Really. No lie. Cup of soup, $1.95.
Entrees... This is something called Hawg Wings. It is pork shank seasoned with homemade bbq sauce (not slathered, but seasoned
), presented with fried potato wedges and roasted red pepper strips... $11.95.
Chicken scampi over rice... in this valley, you have to have the scampis on the menu.
Some chickeny Mexican thing:
Of course, we drank from[url='http://mybeerbuzz-anthracite.blogspot.com/2008/07/bottle-list-as-of-81-anthracite-cafe.html']the extensive beer list[/url]...
It's hard for me to post this like one of my regular reviews, you know; this is like reviewing my back yard or something. The food is so familiar, the restaurant is so well known to me that I can't point out the details any more! I've brought out-of-towners here, and to a man/woman, they have raved about the food and marveled at the prices.
And it's not always all about how unusual the food can be. Last night was the school class play (The Music Man; pretty good, for a high school production). We were in a hurry, and dropped into The A for a quick bite. MJ ordered the chicken fajitas, I ordered the steak... $7.95 each:
See what I mean? Nothing fancy, but it's what you would do if you were making the food for yourself.
Burgers are real burgers, half pound and piled high, meaty and steaky and cooked to order. They do have regional specialties, like Murazzi (brand) sausage and pasta, pork & sauerkraut... turkey and gravy, Cadillac meatloaf (and Cadillac meatloaf burgers) served with mashed corn potatoes (mashed potatoes with corn mixed in, just like you'd do at home), and more. ALL menu items are prepared from fresh ingredients; NOTHING is bought bagged/frozen and then microwaved.
HIGHLY recommended. If you are traveling the I-81 corridor, I recommend calling in advance [(570)-822-4677] and making sure that there isn't an event at the Wachovia Arena, as The Anthracite is pretty packed the hour before a hockey game or a concert.