Though mostly known for Lake Erie, you should make time to explore a few of the excellent food and drink establishments in Erie on your next visit.
While one of the main attractions when visiting Erie is the smallest, shallowest, and warmest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie, the region has so much more to offer especially when it comes to food and drink.
Here are places to visit in Erie, no matter what you’re in the mood for: breakfast, barbecue, a shot and a beer, dinner with a view of the lake, and much more.
Start your day off right by eating the most important meal of the day at the Lawrence Park Dinor just outside of Erie in Lawrence Park Township. This breakfast spot doesn’t only serve up hearty breakfast meals and tasty pies—it’s also on the National Register of Historic Places, having been in operation since 1948. Also, “dinor” is not a typo on our end—that’s the regional spelling of these breakfast spots in Northwestern PA.
Erie’s favorite coffee supplier, Mill Creek Coffee, is female owned. After working in the coffee business in various capacities since the late 1970s, Anita Marcoline Rose opened Mill Creek in the early 2000s. Mill Creek supplies roasted coffee to businesses and homes with fair trade, specialty, and organically grown options to choose from.
Beans are roasted on site daily, at both Mill Creek and its sister company North Edge Craft Coffee. North Edge is a walk-in store that carries a variety of coffee beans and ground coffee, supplies for making coffee, and travel mugs.
For a good lunch, try soup and salad from Franco’s Cafe, located on the first floor of Renaissance Center in downtown Erie. All the food is homemade, from the hearty selection of soups to the wide variety of panini sandwiches, to the more than 40 salad bar items all cut and prepared fresh daily.
Dinner With a View
The bayfront area of Erie is home to numerous restaurants where you can grab a delicious dinner and enjoy the beautiful view of the lake, one of which is the Shoreline Bar and Grill. It has a standout selection of localized dishes made with fresh, regional ingredients and a great curated beer/wine/cocktail menu.
Another great restaurant along the lake is Sloppy Duck Saloon. The Sloppy Duck features two decks that overhang the water, as well as a main dining area and a tiki bar area, serving up scrumptious food and thirst-quenching drinks. No matter where you sit, you will have breathtaking views of the bay.
In 2022, Erie’s Federal Hill Smokehouse beat out all the barbecue joints in the urban centers of Pittsburgh and Philly when “Food & Wine” named it the best barbecue in Pennsylvania. Federal Hill Smokehouse does, after all, inspire many people to drive several hours to experience their brisket, ribs, smoked turkey, pulled pork, and sausages. Be sure to give yourself time to get there for lunch: the hours listed are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.—or until they sell out of everything. One more pro tip? Try to save some room for the peach cobbler.
Pineapple Eddie Southern Bistro offers a taste of classic southern cooking, highlighted by some of the best fried chicken you’ll find in the northwest part of the commonwealth. This five-time Best of Erie winner from Erie Reader serves fried chicken several ways, including its signature brown sugar bourbon fried chicken. Pineapple Eddie is a go-to for wing lovers, too, thanks to its crispy fried wings.
While many classic Erie dive bars have reached last call (let’s pour a little out for Norbs Bar and Bobby’s Place), they’re still serving them up at the Saucery Tavern. Known to regulars as “the Sauce,” this Erie mainstay is a favorite among locals for its cheap drinks, cheap eats, games (they hold dart tournaments), and laid back vibe.
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