Posts Tagged ‘Amish’

When Retro Roadhusband were driving down Route 30 / The Lincoln Highway in Paradise, PA Sunday we were saddened to see that Jacob Zoon Hex Signs store was closed and the property being offered for sale.

jacob zook hex sign store closed realtor information



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Road scholar and all around good guy Larry Cultrera of Diner Hotline polled his Facebook pals this week asking where he should go for breakfast. If Larry lived in my neck of the woods I would have directed him to Jennie’s diner, a classic vintage stainless steel beauty in Ronks PA, just outside of Lancaster. And with the less than satisfying oatmeal and soft-boiled egg turned hard that I just made for my breakfast this sunny Sunday, I should probably drive out there myself!

Air Conditioned

Built in the 1950’s (either 1952 or 1959 depending on the source)  the diner is a well preserved Silk City built diner, with a new stainless steel vestibule recently added for folks waiting for a seat.  The shiny diner is nestled right next to a farm on the historic Lincoln Highway, and it would not be unusual to spot some Amish folks passing the diner in their black buggies.

Jennie's Diner Sign Lancaster PA

The diner is open 24 hours and specializes in Pennyslvania Dutch cooking. The first time I ate at Jennie’s was a very late night “after gig” meal with RetroRoadhusband, where I was introduced to that Penn Dutch “delicacy” known as Scrapple. As my story goes, he ordered it, and soon after the waitress put a plate on the counter with what to me looked like a burned kitchen sponge laying on it. That was RRH’s Scrapple, and while he was delighted to see it arrive, I was pretty much scarred for life.

My recent visit to Jennie’s was between the the more civilized lunch and dinner hours, what some would refer to as the Early Bird Special time of day. The diner was nicely filled with couples and groups sitting in the vintage diner booths and there was a handful of chatting gentlemen sitting on the stools at the counter.

Decorated for Fall

I was told to sit anywhere I like by and I opted for the corner booth. I always try to sit in the corner booth if I can, since it gives a good view of the entire diner. And as I also always say, cowboys always sat in the corner so no one could shoot ’em in the back! You’re more likely to perish at Jennie’s from trying to finish the generous portions of  tasty food that comes with your meal, so no need to worry about cowboys.

Hand Printed Menu

I opted to order one of my longtime faves, chicken croquettes and not only did they come with mashed potatoes and gravy, but also one vegetable AND salad. Curious to try a local dish, I requested the lettuce with hot bacon dressing as my salad, and when it arrived with tons of dressing, crumbled bacon and bits of hard boiled egg, I knew that this was local, and not lo-cal!

Lettuce With Hot Bacon Dressing - Fattening?

My 2 giant croquettes arrived atop a mound of potatoes, covered with gravy and my side of cucumber salad. And I got a basket of rolls and butter while I was waiting too. Generous portions to say the least, and I did my best to sample all and finish the tasty croquettes. Food coma anyone?

The curved roof of the diner is bordered with framed photos of men and women in the military. When I questioned my friendly waiter he said that they were either customers of Jennie’s, friends, relatives of customers or local folks. When these folks come back from “over there” or wherever they are, they will be given a free meal at the diner.  I was touched by this gesture of support and hope that everyone comes home safe and sound.

It's an Honor

While I was leaving the diner I realized that the “artiste” in me always wants to get a photograph of the diner by itself, with no cars in the way. Then I realized that would be almost impossible with the bustling 24 hour/ 7 day a week activity at Jennie’s, so I snapped this happy busy scene. As famous diner painter John Baeder once said, the cars looked like baby piggies nestled up to the big mom pig for a meal. These little piggies certainly will get their fill eating at Jennie’s Diner!

A Full House

Jennie’s Diner
2575 Lincoln Hwy E
Ronks, PA 17572
(717) 397-2507

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 UPDATE: July 2010 – sad to say we drove past Jacob Zook’s this weekend and the place was closed. Sigh.

I admit it, I’m a collector of souvenirs, tchotchkes, dust catchers. They remind me of all of the neat places I’ve gone, and thinking of those adventures makes me happy. One of my favorite places to pick up trinkets is at Jacob Zook’s Family Crafts on Route 30 / The Lincoln Highway in Paradise PA.

Mr Toast goes to Jacob Zooks(this is a snapshot from when Mr. Toast stayed with us for a weekend!

In business since 1942, it is now owned by Jacob Zook’s granddaughter Cindy. The building itself is worth a photo, because it’s a cute little 1973 A-frame nestled into the rural landscape.

Jacob Zook A Frame & Distlfink

That big colorful sign out front is a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign, a historic motif here in Lancaster County. The bird on this hex sign is a “distlelfink” ( I love that word!) It means goldfinch in German and to the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) it means good luck & happiness.

Originally painted onto barns as decorations, some say the hex signs were to ward off evil spirits and bring prosperity. Others say they were just for decoration. Each hex design and colors has a special meaning, according to the Zook’s Family Crafts website:

Some of the more popular symbols included: sun wheel for warmth and fertility, hearts for love, birds (called distelfinks) for good luck and happiness, tulips for faith and star for luck. The specific colors used also had meaning: red for your emotions, yellow for love of man and the sun, green for growing things, blue for protection, white for purity, and brown for Mother Earth.

Jacob Zook Hex Signs

While these  hex designs began as hand painted folk art Jacob Zook is famous for their original and hand silk screened signs. We have a “daddy hex” sign in the nook of the Hacienda, as a souvenir from a fun drive to Amish country.

Along with their famous hex signs you can get all sorts of Pennsylvania Dutch and  Amish themed memorabilia- playing cards, cast iron plain folk, charm bracelets, hand made brooms and more.

Table Tallies & Snapshot Prints

Hex Sign Coasters

I love Jacob Zook’s because they have so many of the kitschy old souvenirs that might have been picked up by someone’s grandmother on a weekend drive. Makes me think of the retro roadtrippers from back in the day, and I feel like one of them when I pick up a tacky trivet or Pennsylvania Dutch sayings coasters.Sometimes it’s the little things like a drive in the country on a warm day that can make a day memorable, and it’s nice to have something to remind me of good times.

Trivet Wisdom and PegboardA word to visitors- Cindy would like to sell the A Frame (horrors) and move the business back to where it began next door. I LOVE the A-frame!! It is definitely part of the charm of the place. If you go there please let them know you dig the A-Frame too!

Jacob Zook’s Hex Signs (Zook’s Family Crafts)
3056 Route 30 East – note that if you Google this address the map is wrong, check the Retro Roadmap for the real location!
Paradise PA 17562
(717) 687-8329

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