Ephrata is happening… Locally baked, brewed and crafted here

By on March 26, 2014
Stephanie Harley

Editor,

Ephrata Review,

In keeping with the recent trend in small towns to encourage eat local, buy local and spend local, the town of Ephrata has plenty to offer.

Starting your travels along Route 322 and on into Main Street, Ephrata, offers several original, locally owned, sustainable businesses that give you a genuine feel for the community.

One of our family favorites is Dutch Country Pretzels. When we first visited the “Pretzel Place” it was a small, funky building with a freezer sitting outside the front door. Costumers squeezed in, while watching their delicious soft pretzels bake. There were several times during our visits we twisted our own pretzels, placed them on the machine and waited impatiently for that pretzel to drop into the bin and into our mouths. Today, costumers spread out in the new, expanded Dutch Country Soft Pretzel Factory that is not as hands on but the pretzels are just as delicious. The freezer is still there, just a tad newer, filled with seconds, gluten free, whole wheat and your choice of traditional twist or sticks to purchase. You just can’t beat being able to buy fresh pretzels packed in a plain, brown paper bag as you travel the back roads of Ephrata. Contact information is Dutch Country Soft Pretzels 354-4493 or dutchcountrysoftpretzels.com

Not a fan of the soft pretzel and want to taste some of the best local hand twisted hard pretzels in the area, we suggest Martin’s Pretzels to add to your travels. Known to some as the “Rolls Royce” of hard pretzels, most popular is their dark pretzel said to have originated when a young pretzel maker fell asleep while manning his oven. The first time we ventured into the shop we were almost certain that there was a church service being held. Come to find out that on many occasions you will find the 13 Mennonite women hand rolling and twisting while humming gospel and hymns. At the end of the day, 1,200 pretzels are produced, pretty impressive. Maybe that humming and singing is what I need to step up my game in the kitchen! Contact information is Martin’s Pretzels 859-1272 or martinspretzelspa.com

localOne of the best ways to enhance one’s pretzel chomping experience is with a dip or two of mustard. With the recent addition of the Ephrata Whistle Stop Open Air Market to downtown Ephrata, many nontraditional businesses have popped up to showcase their products. One of the many is Susan Ann’s Kitchen, known for her Course Ground Dipping Mustard, a perfect blend of sweet and heat. It’s not just for dipping, but it is my favorite way with both soft and hard pretzels, Susan always offers a variety of recipes using all of her products. Her latest and greatest, Bacon Dressing, reflects her family history of baking and cooking. Susan Lewis’s grandparents, Warren & Dorothy Royer had a restaurant on Main Street at the bowling alley under what was then a grocery store before they started the Akron Restaurant, where her bacon dressing recipe originated. Keeping with the family tradition, Susan experimented with adding her mustard to her brother’s barbecue sauce and Mustard-y BBQ Sauce was created! Now that’s brotherly love!

Contact information is Susan Ann’s Kitchen 725-4169 or susanannskitchen.com

Looking for the alternative to savory dips for your pretzel snacking cravings, chocolate is what comes to my mind. Not just dipped but blanketed in chocolate is what you will find at the Ephrata Market stand Intermezzo by Stephanie. Locally owned and operated by Stephanie Harley, Intermezzo crafts by hand pretzel rods enrobed in milk, dark & white chocolate then garnished with a variety of toppings. Using several local ingredients, such as Snyder’s of Hanover and Wilbur Chocolate as the base for many of her creations, Intermezzo by Stephanie offers a chocolate delight for any taste. If you are a peanut butter lover, one of Stephanie’s most requested flavors is Never Enough Peanut Butter Mishegoss(her version of chocolate bark) a milk chocolate base swirled with natural peanut butter, peanut butter cookies & peanut butter cups and then topped with a white chocolate drizzle! Looking for a more healthy option, the Omega Healthy Mishegoss recipes includes dark chocolate, walnuts, pumpkin seeds. Some have said “it’s like taking a chocolate vitamin” so throw those Flintstone vitamins in the trash and pick up an Intermezzo!

Contact information is Intermezzo by Stephanie 875-1945 or intermezzo-by-stephanie-shopify.com

As much as we love that salty & sweet combo, it usually leaves us on the thirsty side. Along 322 West, you can quench your thirst with the newly established nano-brewery Saint Boniface. After years of brewing and competing with each other for kudos in their local community, Mike Price and Jon Northup decided to join forces and take a chance in producing and selling beer. The taproom has seating for 50 people, including room for 10 at a bar that was made from an oak tree that fell in the yard of one of the owners. St. Boniface typically has six to eight beers on tap. Beers include Wheat Ale, ESB, Paidiea Pale Ale, 3 Pound IPA, Libation (Double IPA) and Hegemony Stout, with Bulls head Bitter and Offering No. 5. The taproom does not sell food, but the owners have arranged for food vendors to set up outside in the parking lot on a rotating basis and Little Nicky’s, a local Italian restaurant right up the street has a constant presence. If you are brew lover, Saint.Bonifice is a must. Contact information is 466-6900 or facebook.

You Scream, I Scream, We all Scream, while traveling a few miles west on 322 to one our families favorites, Udder Choice. In keeping with family tradition, from dairy farm to ice cream aficionado, Alice Ulrich starts her day between 2:30-3 a.m. Those quiet morning hours are filled with prepping for the breakfast and lunch crowd along with the 100 and some gallons of ice-cream they serve in a week. Several of the favorite flavors are Mint Oreo Cookie, Butter Pecan, Cotton Candy and in the fall Pumpkin. What makes the Udder ice cream so special, besides the passion that Alice and her family have about their restaurant, they pride themselves on using only the best and highest quality ingredients. Taste is not the only thing they boast about. The interior of the Udder is adorned with a collection of over 150 antique and vintage dippers and ice cream memorabilia enough to keep you and the kids occupied way beyond that first scoop. It is always worth the trip! Contact information is Udder Choice, 733-4300.

Not all of Ephrata is about food and there needs to be an excuse to shop off all those extra calories. A few of my favorite ways to spend my hubby’s money is pampering myself and browsing gift shops & furniture stores.

New to the Ephrata Market this season will be Sweet Sally Soaps. Sarah Ranes, a newbie to the Ephrata area, has been making soaps for over seven years. Sweet Sally Soaps are all handmade using organic ingredients. Her products will have you covered from head to toe with soaps made using organic base oils which include organic olive oil, organic coconut oil, organic palm oil and organic Shea lotions. Her latest addition, which will make you crave summertime, is the Mojito Soap, inspired by the drink with spearmint and lime oil. There is also an extensive line of perfumes, sugar scrubs, lip balms and bath bombs that are all carefully formulated to cleanse, nourish, scent and pamper your skin. Contact information is Sweet Sally Soaps at 570-716-3808 or sweetsallyssoaps.com.

Looking for that perfect piece of furniture that will be handed down to the next generation and love the idea that you can say it was made right here in your home town. Martin Furniture is a family business that boasts a 12,000 square foot show room on Fairmount Road. An array of handcrafted furniture for the bedroom, dining room and family room can be found using hand selected hardwood, oak maple and cherry. All of their hand selected hard woods are made in the US and their woods by products are used to heat their facility as well as providing animal bedding for local farmers. Cannot find exactly what you are looking for, it is not unusual for customers to visit with measurements and photo in hand for a custom design. With over 50 years in the biz, you will be most satisfied with any of their products. Contact information is Martin’s Furniture LLC at 354-5657 or martinsfurniture.us

Hope you have enjoyed the ride. If you need a few more places to shop, eat or drink in the Ephrata area, you can find them on the Ephrata Merchants facebook page posted over the next few weeks. Remember support the local small biz, they cannot survive without you.

Stephanie Harley

Ephrata

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