Where to eat? Lunch at Hersheypark Place
Written by Robert Niles
During our day at Hersheypark, my family and I opted to have lunch at Hersheypark Place, the table service restaurant located just steps from the park's front gate.
Located in the former Tudor Grill building, Hersheypark Place offers an extensive menu that includes salads, wraps, flatbread pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and other entrees such as pot roast, fish, steak and ribs. And if you come in the mornings, you can get a character breakfast buffet, too. With so many selections, I suspect that a family a four could exhaust all the ride options inside Hersheypark long before they could work their way through the menu at Hersheypark Place.
Here's what we tried:
My son just hit his teen years, so pizza's a warmly welcomed option at pretty much every meal, as well as anytime in between. So he chose the Pepperoni flat bread pizza ($11.25). We decided that the quartered pepperoni served on the flatbread were meant to look like Hershey's Kisses.
My wife and daughter each chose the $9.50 "Mix & Match" option pairing a half-sandwich and half-salad. Both opted for the Grilled chicken and smoked gouda panini while my wife took the house salad and my daughter the Caesar.
Grilled chicken and smoked gouda panini with house salad ($9.50)
Several menu options were noted as "House signature items," and that's where I kept my attention. My choice? The Classic cheesesteak with fried potato chips ($13.95).
My son endorsed the pepperoni-kissed pizza, though the relatively sparse meat topping and cracker-thin crust didn't give the dish much opportunity to distinguish itself. Still, the robust sauce and mild cheese balanced each other well enough for my son to make quick work of it.
The salads didn't elicit much more than shrug, but my wife expressed pleasant surprise at the taste of the panini. The roasted garlic aioli, served on the side, gave the already flavorful chicken sandwich a nice additional kick, while amplifying the smoky gouda. The half-sandwich was plenty large enough for a satisfying meal, and it appeared that the kitchen simply filled the rest of the plate with the "half" salad, providing more greens and veggies than on many entree-sized salads we've seen our on trip.
My cheesesteak also delivered more food than I could finish. But I've got to give the kitchen due credit for nailing a great sear on the meat. The steak offered plenty of flavor without any gristle or fat, the downfall of too many sub-par cheesesteaks. The meat sat atop melty provolone and onions grilled just to the point of sweetness, but not beyond to a cloying caramelized state. The well-seasoned fried chips provided a nice textural contrast to the sandwich and its fluffy steak roll.
If we were to visit again, I'd like to try the "Fruit, Nuts & Berries" salad, with baby spinach, toasted walnuts, feta, Mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, and "chocolate fat free raspberry vinaigrette." Or the "Chocolate BBQ Burger," with bacon, cheddar and "Hershey's Chocolate BBQ sauce." So many choices!
Too stuffed for continue, we decided we would wait until our visit to Hershey's Chocolate World to get our chocolate dessert fix. But when our server brought the check, we realized we wouldn't be able to resist a little kiss good-bye from the restaurant.
Hersheypark Place accepts reservations via OpenTable, but we walked into a nearly empty restaurant with no reservations on a weekday just after noon, so I wouldn't hesitate to try getting a table without them.
Tomorrow, we'll "wrap" up our coverage of Hersheypark with a recap of our visit to Hershey's Chocolate World.
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