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Posts Tagged ‘Salad Bar’

Recently a RetroRoadmap Flickr follower asked me for some road trip suggestions in my area, and I shared that Route 422 going west from Reading PA is fast becoming one of my favorite retro routes, in part because of places like Risser’s Restaurant / Diner in Womelsdorf PA. A classic diner on one side, homey dining room on the other, it’s two great Pennsylvania Dutch treats in one!Risser's Family Restaurant Welcomes You
While the dining room was darling with it’s vintage knotty pine paneling and painted mural depicting the plain people of the area, we opted to check out the restaurant  via the diner side on a chilly Saturday afternoon. The original diner  – called the Blue Star Diner when it opened in 1954 was partially bricked over (blurgh) but still retains it’s clean and classic roadside charm once you enter through the “diner car” entrance (Thanks to the Diners of Pennsylvania book for that info- and click this link to see the great sign it used to have!)

Risser's Diner Exterior Diner Car Entrance
If you weren’t completely convinced that you were in an actual vintage diner, this tag, indicating that the diner was manufactured by the Fodero Dining Car Co of Bloomfield NJ would set you straight. If you happened to be looking directly above the entrance that is!
Fodero Diner Tag

However, all you have to do is look around and see that, with the exception of some newer looking chairs, the diner is pretty much untouched, with it’s classic spinning counter stools, fluted steel backsplash, terrazzo floor and nice clean curved ceiling. We were handed menus from our waitress, but also needed a few minutes to absorb the posted specials. The one above the coffee urn caught my eye for sure!
Diner Counter

As you can see Risser’s serves traditional diner fare but also some more unusual items – Pig Stomach, Beef Heart, Oysters, veal, beltbusters – oh my! One of the tables near us ordered duck, and that isn’t something you usually see in a diner either, but it looked good.
Stuffed Pig Stomach & Beef Heart...Specials!

I had a good long look at the pie case before determining that I’d eat small and splurge on dessert. After consulting the extensive menu I fell back on the standard BLT for me and club sandwich for RetroRoadhusband. He decided to get the upcharge to visit the “salad” bar in the dining room for soup, “salad” and ice cream. I use the term salad in little quotey things because Pennsylvania Dutch definition of salad can include everything from greens to macaroni to cottage cheese, to mini marshmallows enrobed in hot pink fluff (ambrosia?).

Pie Case
My BLT was good and I was proud of myself for not eating more of RetroRoadhusband’s fries, because as soon as I saw the enormous cream puffs and eclairs (homemade) in the case, I knew exactly what I was going to order after my sandwich.

When I told the waitress that I’d probably take most of it home, she wisely suggested that she’d serve it in the to-go box. She was spot on, as this became a delicious gooey mess within moments of us diving into it. Diet be damned!

Save Room For An Eclair!I don’t think this photo truly shows the massive size of this pastry, as it was easily as big as a small sub or hoagie. I should’ve put a fork in there for scale. Guess I’ll have to order one again next time we go there to retake the photo :-)

So if you’re looking for standard – and unusual – diner fare while checking out scenic Route 422, check out Risser’s. We’ll be back for sure!

Ernie Risser’s Family Restaurant

4055 Conrad Weiser Parkway
Womelsdorf, PA 19567-1640
(610) 589-4570
Closed Mondays
I actually posted the “Satellite” view of this area so you could see the patterns and swirls made from the farming. Beautiful!

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