Pros: Wonderful Pennsylvania Dutch Foods
Cons: Big open back room
UPDATE September 2012
After reading this update, you can read this review if you want to see what Good and Plenty once was. It is no more. It was also hard writing this after years of unabashed praises.
We have been going to Good and Plenty for decades we are now bringing the forth generation to this restaurant as a place to eat when being in this family fun area.
This isn't a rant because of one bad expereince. The place has been going downhill for a number of years, a step at a time and now it hit bottom for the experience we always enjoyed.
At one time, once seated at this family style restaurant with strangers at the table, was fun and delicious. We would talk to each other about where we were from and share notes on things :Amish." It was a delightful experience over delicios and plentyful bowls and platters of food. No more.
It seems that they have decided to go with much smaller portioned platters and bowls when brought to the table. They wouild not, could not make iot around to ten people at a table and didn't make it with our table with our young four grand children. Instead of comfortable conversation our talk was broken by the constant chatter of having to ask for more and feeling bad when we were down to the last small portion in a platter or bowl. Kept happeneing! The experience is definitely different. So sad.
Read on for "The good ol' times.
No my friends, this is not a travel review, however I feel I must set the background before telling you of this particular restaurant. Please stick with me here.
My family has been frequenting two places over the years that constantly draw us back. The one place where we spend one to two weeks is the Acadia National Park/BarHarbor area in Maine. Our other favorite is closer to us here in NY and is always good for a quick three or four day family getaway. That is the Pennsylvania Dutch area of Pennsylvania.
WHY THIS AREA
One thing about this area is that it has many fun and fine restaurants that I like and are suited for my family and couples alike. Some of these feature the Pennsylvania Dutch cooking of the area.
Quite a few other places draw us too. We always enjoyed taking the kids to the Dutch Wonderland. It is a perfectly suited fun park for young families.
The Amazing Maize Maze is a place where we are challenged as a family to make our way out of the huge cornfields that have theme designs. The Strasburg Rail Road where we take a step back in time and board the "Hello Dolly" car and have a huge steam locomotive take us through the Amish/Mennonite Countryside of picturesque valleys and farmland.
Another wonderful place is the incredible Sight and Sound Theatre. To state it simply, "This place rivals my New York's Radio City Music Hall in the scale and quality of the stage performances they put on". It is magnificent!! This is a Christian based venue, however their Bible tales of old will fascinate, educate, and entertain people of many different faiths. The last show we saw there was Noah. We hope to see their latest show "Daniel" before that show closes this fall.
The original draw to this area was to see the way the local Amish and Mennonite people lived their lives. This where they settled well before the huge shopping outlets and other places took over Rout 30. They are a quiet, yet friendly people if you get a chance to talk to them, who keep pretty much to themselves. Though these two groups have different ways they both live very simple lives based on faith, family and a hard work ethic. There are many places that show you how they live and are wonderful teaching tools as to the lives of these good people. We have been to a few of these farms over the years.
WHY GOOD'N PLENTY
Besides living simple lives the people of this area also know how to cook good Pennsylvania Dutch meals and do it family style. That is exactly what Good'n Plenty sets out to do and accomplishes it well. In the middle of all the fun family oriented places I have talked about, of which all is within a ten minute ride to each other, is a large two story farm house that has aromas that will bring you and your family right in the door. This restaurant, like the family destinations I just mentioned, is wonderful for family comunication and enjoyment.
This farm house was originally built in 1871. Almost one hundred years later a couple, Christ and Dolly Lapp, purchased the property and opened a restaurant they hoped would attract people to the Pennsylvania Dutch cooking and family style service.
GETTING IN the DOORS
Good'n Plenty is open with the same menu from 11:30 AM till 8:00PM Mondays through Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays!! They also close for six weeks from Decenber 22nd 2003 til February 6th, 2004.
There is a huge parking lot that always has plenty of parking. When you walk in you enter a sort of gift shop area. This is just the entrance area where you set up for a table. There is a full gift shop and bakery to the rear and down stairs that is perfect to look through before or after dinner.
The clean restrooms are on the street level area. No stairs.
Above the counter at the desk you will see the basic menu of the day and the prices. You pay before you are seated. It is now priced for adults at $16.75 and children 4-12 $8.00. Let me tell you now, this is a fantastic price for what you get. I'll explain all that in a bit.
OK, OK, so you want to spend a bit less. Don't tell anybody, but if you go to their web site at www.goodnplenty.com look for the $1.00 off each meal coupon. Hey, for us that saves six dollars!
After paying you will be asked to wait a bit. We have at times been seated in five minute, however ten to fifteen minutes seems the rule.
There are three main rooms. There are two smaller ones in the front of what was the original building and a huge open room to the rear. They handle large bus groups here and others too. I don't particularly like that room. I have been coming to this place well before it was renovated and I am very partial to the very front room closest to the road. The front rooms have the feel of the Pennsylvania Dutch area with wooden floors and walls and simple drapes on double hung windows. I always ask for the front room. That means I may have to wait an extra half hour or so but that's what I do.
This room has about five or six long tables in it. They seat about ten or twelve people face to face. You will be called to your table in groups. They will seat you with other people until the table is full. No, they will not break up your party. They set it up so the table is full or near full with you and your party in one end and the next group next to you and so on. The waitress then asks for some basic introductions of where you are all from. You can take it from there.
Yes, you are sitting with strangers!!! We have found this part of the charm of Good'n Plenty. We have talked with people from other parts of the country or perhaps nearby. We share stories of what we have done or plan to do in the upcoming days. By the end of the meal we sometimes feel like we have known these "strangers" for years.
EATING FAMILY STYLE
I suppose by now you have figured out that you are indeed going to have a meal set down to you family style. Remember, in the middle seats you are closer to all the foods yet, you will be called on more often to pass something.
Let me tell you there is so much delicious food you won't care. Immediately after intros fresh homemade white and wheat bread with all kinds of garnishes come out. My daughter loves their apple butter and we always have to purchase more in the on site bakery or gift shop to take home. They also come out with cottage cheese, butter, and other goodies to slobber onto the bread. The local name for these spreads is "smears". So do know this guy will slobber smears on my fresh baked breads. They also bring out some kind of chopped up vegetable combination with a tangy taste that is out of this world! It's called Chow Chow. It sure is good. It may be hard, but you must stop eating all this, there is so much to come and it is truly endless.
Every meal has three main meat or fish dishes. In all the years we have only had the fish once. Every meal has always had their moist and tender inside, and crispy outside, fried chicken. The other possibilities are Baked Ham, that we see pretty often, Roast Beef, Baked Country Sausage, and Pork and Sauerkraut. The food is cooked plainly, yet it is very flavorful.
These meats come out on huge platters that, once empty can be refilled right away. Also out on platters are mashed potatoes that are everybody favorite and my wife's personal favorite of noodles smothered in butter. They are sinful. There is a kind of dried sweet corn that is also served that is also butter laden. I have learned it is a unique dish of Lancaster county. It sure is good!! Platters of perfectly cooked fresh vegetables are also brought in. Not too cooked yet not too hard.
So there you have it, delicious Pennsylvania Dutch style foods, all you want and can eat, and some lively conversation. The only time we are quiet and still is when our family says a brief prayer holding hands together before our meal. Afterward it's a free for all.
WAIT THERE'S MORE!!
I didn't mention that right after being seated the waitress will ask you if would like lemonade, iced tea, milk or chocolate milk. They will come around and give refills too.
After things start to slow down a bit the table will be cleaned up and then out will come the desserts! Shoo Fly Pie is a staple of the house and its sweet taste tells you why it has been named so. Usually another pie or two will come out. Perhaps an apple or another fruit pie will tempt you to have "just a little bit more". You never know what it will be but do know it will be good.
That's not all. Your server will ask what flavor homemade ice cream you would like and last of all there is always room for jello. Coffee, decaf and regular, and tea are offered too.
Just a reminder now, though you don't pay at the end of the meal, and the meal is served family style, a tip is still appropriate, appreciated, and well earned. Ha, they run back and forth good'n plenty for our family!
I hope you can get to this part of the country and have your taste of Good'n Plenty too.
Other Pennsylvania reviews by poprocks
Pennsylvania Dutch Country An overview
Pennsylvania Dutch Visitors Center
Intercourse There's nothing quite like it.
DUTCH WONDERLAND An amusement park for young families.
The Cherry Crest's Amazing Maize Maze This is family fun at its best!
Sight and Sound Millennium Theatre, One of the Most Popular Venues in the East
Amish Farm and House Tour
Sturgis Pretzel House
Tangers Name Brand Shopping Mall
Ghost Tour of Lancaster County
Good'n Plenty Restaurant Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking served Family Style
Plain and Fancy Farm Restaurant
Miller's SmorgasbordExcellent Pennsylvania Dutch Fare served buffet style
Harvestview Family Restaurant, Intercourse
Lapp's Family Restaurant
Jakey's Amish Barbeque
Cherry Lane Motor Inn A very simple well priced, place to stay while in PA. Dutch Country
Lancaster HOST Resort and Conference Center
Bird-in-Hand Family Resort The best bet in Amish Country
Eisenhower National Home
Gettysburg National Historic Park
Hampton Inn, Gettysburg
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Valley Forge National Historic Park
Brandywine Valley Museums, Gardens and More
Longwood Gardens, Brandywine Valley
MY favorite Map.
American Map Road Atlas: Large Scale - Large Type