Professor Ryan Trainor finds Lancaster to be the right blend of urban excitement and small-town charm after a decade spent in the bustling streets of Los Angeles and previous roots in rural Northern California. This self-proclaimed foodie adapted quickly to Lancaster’s pace, thanks to the city’s lively restaurant scene and walkable streets, which have helped him fall in love with the city in the six years he’s lived here.
When asked about his favorite place in the city, he can’t help but mention the Central Market (who can?), a place that never fails to impress his visitors. He also values Lancaster County Park, a tranquil haven with picturesque hiking and bicycling trails just minutes from the city. But undoubtedly the spot he would most regret losing is Route 66, where he enjoys exquisite halal burgers, chicken sandwiches, and the charming hospitality of the owners.
Within a year or two of arriving in Lancaster, he discovered Route 66 and had a lively chat with the owner about the quality of their burgers compared to t In-N-Out. Route 66’s extensive menu, especially the tempting hot chicken sandwich, distinguishes it for him.
“If I had to choose one burger joint in the city,” he continues, “I’d vote for Route 66, and I say that as someone who loves In-N-Out.”
At Route 66, memories include that wonderful first bite of their burger and a special occasion where regulars were allowed to taste test new menu items. Then, he met the owner’s family, a tribute to Lancaster’s distinct combination of variety and close-knit community.
Route 66’s vibe is best described as a “hole in the wall” find. Though parking is difficult to come by, it is an easy walk from F&M and a short bike ride away. It has a nostalgic feel because of the 50s diner look of sky blue and white. Behind the long counter, you’ll frequently see members of the owner’s family hard at work, adding to the family-friendly atmosphere. While takeout is an option, he recommends dining in at least once to fully experience its unique ambiance.
He recommends the cheeseburger with grilled onions, Route 66 sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles for anyone looking to try the restaurant. Don’t miss the fried chicken sandwich or the hot chicken, and if you’re feeling daring, try the tikka masala chicken sandwich, which comes with configurable spice levels. They also provide a delicious Philly cheesesteak, a tantalizing impossible burger, and a delectable falafel burger for vegetarians. You just can’t go wrong with Route 66.
Professor Tim Bechtel has lived in Lancaster since 1989. Although he wasn’t born in the city, his father was an F&M alum so he grew up hearing about it. His wife, a Lancaster native, solidifies his links to the area, and they’ve raised their three children here.
When asked about his favorite site in town, his passion is contagious. For over three decades, his family has had season tickets to the Fulton Theatre, an institution that never fails to impress. The Fulton and another favorite spot, the Lancaster Science Factory, have a particular place in his heart. Prof. Bechtel can’t remember when he first discovered the Fulton Theatre, but his love of musical theater drove him to become a regular attendee after relocating to Lancaster. The consistent quality of the productions has kept him coming back, and it has become a treasured part of his life. Visiting the Fulton Theatre promises to be an unforgettable experience. He compares it to going to a show in New York City but with the extra bonus of being able to return home in minutes.
Prof. Bechtel recounts a memorable time at the Lancaster Science Factory. His colleagues came to visit Lancaster and sought sanctuary at the Science Factory during a hurricane that disturbed their fieldwork preparations. Renowned scientists worldwide were engrossed in interactive exhibitions meant for kids, creating lasting experiences. His mental image of the city includes Central Market, the Science Factory, and the Fulton Theatre. He also highlights Lancaster’s thriving immigrant community, which offers a variety of cuisines that represent the city’s developing culture.
The Fulton Theatre has a special appreciative atmosphere. Standing ovations are the norm, and the audience is completely immersed in the performances. His advice to visitors to the area is simple: “Just get out and walk.” Lancaster has much to offer those ready to walk its streets. In terms of evolution, the Fulton Theatre has changed over time. While the main stage still stages large musical productions, it has also grown to incorporate a smaller, immersive theatre on the upper floor. This creative addition expands Fulton’s offerings by presenting non-musical performances in an immersive atmosphere.
Professor Quincy Amoah is a recent arrival who has quickly integrated into the fabric of this metropolis. After giving a lecture at F&M last year, he decided to relocate in June 2023 when a job opportunity was presented. Professor Amoah has a distinct preference for his favorite site in town. He and his family, which includes his wife and two active children, frequently enjoy the attractiveness of Southern Market, which is only a 10-minute walk away. While Central Market has a lively selection of goods, he enjoys the relaxing atmosphere of Southern Market, which makes it a perfect destination when accompanied by his children.
Ironically, Professor Amoah attributes his discovery to his more culturally inclined wife (given that he is an anthropologist).
Southern Market promises a more relaxed atmosphere with plenty of space for kids to play. He hasn’t had the opportunity to properly investigate these locations, but he willingly follows his wife’s lead when they visit.
Menu recommendations are a family affair. Their menu options cater to the preferences of each family member, from chicken meals for his daughter to tasty pho for his son and delectable tacos for his wife. In turn, he appreciates anything his children leave behind, commenting that everything they’ve tried has been outstanding. He feels that these locations improve his quality of life while being reasonably priced.
Professor Amoah advises individuals interested in exploring the field to simply be open to trying new things. For example, discovering a newfound fondness for taco sauce might be a joyful surprise.
Mrs. Pramila Prasai Subedi is a brave soul who traveled from Nepal to Lancaster in 2011. Her first impressions of Lancaster did not equal the grandeur of the big-city movie pictures she had in mind. It felt more like a village at first, which was disappointing. However, as time passed, she learned that this city provided her with everything she required and more.
Her favorite place in this city is the center of Downtown Lancaster, particularly the area around Central Market. Her heart is captured by a location steeped in history and charm. Her relationship with this location dates back to her first days in Lancaster. The downtown center and Central Market were among the first landmarks she noticed when exploring the city with her family. Exploring this region provides a fascinating variety of experiences. Lancaster’s distinct Amish community provides a particular touch to the city’s rich historical tapestry.
Mrs. Subedi recalls her early days in Lancaster, when she lived downtown, as one of her favorite recollections. She walked throughout the city with her 10-year-old and 3-year-old girls because she didn’t have a car. Taking her children to McDonald’s and sitting in the “city square” became treasured rituals. These outings were not just for convenience but also for making contacts. Many of the folks she met during that time are still her friends. Her advice for anyone interested in exploring this area: go in with an open mind. Downtown Lancaster is a veritable treasure mine of activities just waiting to be explored.
Dr. Nadia Mann moved to Lancaster in 2019 when she joined the F&M community. Despite her misgivings about living in a “tiny town”, the pull of her profession won out. She believed she’d gotten used to big-city living after growing up in the Midwest and spending time in Boston during graduate school. Now, she has fallen in love with the small city.
Dr. Mann’s eyes light up when she talks about her ultimate favorite place in Lancaster: thrift/ antique stores. Two local establishments hold a special place in her heart: Building Character, a place where she goes without a shopping intention, simply meandering until she finds something that captivates her. Another nearby gem is Space, where she recently purchased a unicorn earring holder. It features artifacts reminiscent of her grandmother’s home as well as modern aesthetics.
Visiting these stores guarantees an eclectic and constantly interesting experience. Dr. Mann suggests going with a group of friends and immersing yourself in everything these shops offer. The influence of these locations on her life extends beyond the tangible goods found within. Dr. Mann emphasizes the connections she has made with the owners and the feeling of community they cultivate, which has influenced her impression of Lancaster.
Her advice to people interested in exploring these topics is straightforward: embrace the spirit of discovery. These shops sell a broad variety of products, typically at low costs, so don’t be afraid to pick the product up and inspect the price.
Professor Mena-Ali is a 16-year Lancaster resident whose house sits on the dividing line between the suburbs and the city. He can’t help but mention two standout eateries when asked about his all-time favorite spots in the city; Gran Sabor Latino, a restaurant specializing in Spanish and Hispanic cuisine, and Sprout, a restaurant specializing in Vietnamese cuisine.
For him, it’s not simply the food that distinguishes these establishments but their ties to Lancaster City’s rich tapestry. He considers the city to be a mingling of cultures, ethnicities, and experiences. Visiting these restaurants delivers more than simply a meal; it also provides an insight into the cultural ties that define Lancaster. While individual experiences may not be recalled, these locations have become a part of Professor Mena-Ali’s daily routine, supporting his sense of belonging and connection to Lancaster’s unique cultural mosaic. The power of these locations rests in the tremendous sense of connection they provide. What was once an exciting discovery has now become a routine aspect of his life, emphasizing the seamless integration of these cultural riches into his daily life.
He recommends everything at Gran Sabor, especially their empanadas and the chicken pho at Sprout for anyone wishing to explore these places.
Dean Jessica Haile has lived in Lancaster since 2006 and has a strong connection to the city’s evolution. Her journey here began when her high school sweetheart husband graduated from F&M and landed a job in the area. Lancaster was a quieter city back then, with little more than a steakhouse where the student wellness center now stands. However, the city has witnessed a tremendous metamorphosis in the last decade.
Rachel’s Cafe & Creperie is Dean Haile’s all-time favorite restaurant in Lancaster. She’s been a regular since their original store closed around a decade ago. Her favorite dish is the Thai chicken crepe, which combines spicy chicken, rice, onions, and peanut butter. She’s also a fan of their pastries, particularly anything slathered in Nutella. She recommends walking there because the journey is just as enjoyable, with artisan shops and thrift stores dotted along the way. During the pandemic, Rachel’s Cafe & Creperie made a lasting impression by enlarging their terrace, creating a safe and welcoming environment for customers. During difficult times, it became a symbol of perseverance.
This location has become more associated with tourism over time, reflecting Lancaster’s rising pride in itself. Local companies have thrived, adding to the city’s changing identity and liveliness.
During the pandemic, Dr. Gretchel Hathaway moved to Lancaster from New York three years ago and has discovered an unexpected love for Lancaster. She stumbled onto the Southern Market on 100 S Queen St, a place with a colorful mix of restaurants, each a dream come true for ambitious chefs with limited funds. This thriving hub also holds events such as Wednesday Trivia Nights and offers space for businesses and non-profits, generating a true feeling of community. Local bands entertain guests both inside and outside. She discovered the place two years ago when she heard whispers of there being soul food. She’s now a regular. One memorable visit was highlighted by a delectable experience with plantains and rice pudding, which left her eager for the conference to end so she could continue to enjoy.
Dr. G urges visitors interested in exploring this culinary paradise to keep an open mind and a readiness to taste every corner and crevice. This renowned place stands as a beacon of togetherness and flavor in a continually evolving city, pulling people from all walks of life to its wonderful embrace.
Dean Courtnee Jordan-Cox has been a part of the F&M community since 2019. Despite the difficulties (a.k.a. covid), she has found her stride and a personal connection to the city. Her favorite place in the city is A Concrete Rose Bookbar, a delightful find that is more than just a book and wine shop. It’s a dynamic, black-owned, queer-owned business that sells a wide range of books and provides colorful events such as poetry slams along with food and beverages.
She discovered this quite recently, having opened only a year ago. What drew her towards the place is that one of the co-owners is her Millersville chapter sorority sister! And if you encounter an F&M graduate, Michael, working the front desk – say hello!
This location is more than simply a hangout for Dean JC; it has influenced her perception of the city. It attracts those who have struggled to fit in as well as those who simply enjoy its distinct vibe. Since it’s a little further away from F&M, having a car comes in handy, but it’s completely worth it. The venue has an artsy vibe, with tables that can comfortably seat 20-30 people without the need for reservations.
Her only advice is to check out their online event lists before you go, as event fees and food prices can quickly mount up. So, whether you’re an art lover, a reader, or simply searching for a unique city experience, A Concrete Rose Bookbar may well become your new favorite spot as well!
Professor Christian Perry, also the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Services has been in Lancaster for nearly six years, thanks to his wife’s job at F&M, where she was active in Greek life.
You can bet your bottom dollar that Double C is his all-time favorite hangout in the city. He can’t get enough of their food; there’s nothing he won’t eat. Plus, they serve some killer beverages if you’re of legal drinking age. It may become a little crowded, but he swears it’s worth the squeeze. In fact, it’s become his favorite place to go on date evenings with his wonderful wife. His obsession with Double C began only a year ago when he celebrated his birthday there. He’s returned six or seven times since then (his birthday is in February, in case you’re curious). He and his wife are both serious foodies and Double C’s exquisite cuisine won them over.
This place features some delectable Mexican cuisine, but Prof. Perry’s favorites are the tacos and the Barbacoa mac & cheese. If you ask him, that mac and cheese is a winner since it’s delicious and fills you up for dinner round two. As Prof. Perry said, “All hits and no misses.”
Sophomore Ayushi Shah is a Contributing Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.