Signs and Wonders: Manheim and Elizabethtown, PA Style

The Brick House Cafe along Main Street in Manheim, Pennsylvania, is getting free advertising from me today.


In a sister city named for its counterpart in Mannheim, Germany, The Brick House serves freshly prepared soups, salads, and sandwiches. It also serves up another “S” – Signs from the 1950s. Take a look!


And finally, this:


All posted on the back of the Ladies’ Restroom door! Now I have to wonder what was posted in the Men’s Restroom. . . .

Country Meadows restaurant, nestled in a grassy knoll northwest of Elizabethtown, boasts a menu of stick-to-your-ribs PA Dutch food along with some high-calorie choices.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 1.02.51 PM

Signs are few here, but there is lots of neon in the decor . . .


. . . and advertising their specials:



If you are waiting for a table, you can see all the specials in every rainbow hue.

John Lanchester, a confessed foodie, talks about our eating habits in the November 3, 2014 issue of The New Yorker. In an essay entitled “Shut Up and Eat” Lanchester explains that

Once upon a time, food was about where you came from. Now, for many of us, it is about where we want to go–about who we want to be, how we choose to live. Food has always been expressive of identity, but today those identities are more flexible and fluid: they change over time, and respond to different pressures.

Then he elaborates on the craze of pickles, kale, and his mother’s favorite dish, spag- bol, a British recipe “that blends a meat ragù of a northern-Italian type with the dry pasta beloved in the south. . . .”

*  *  *

Signs and Wonders has been a theme in several previous blog posts: once in Monterey, CA, Jacksonville, FL and earlier in Elizabethtown, PA. Check them out if you missed them.

Today’s post is a hodge-podge: Restaurants in Lancaster County and their menus, goofy signs in restrooms, and a New Yorker article on how we identify with food.

Care to comment? Any or all of the above topics are fair game. You may even add a strange sign you’ve seen!


45 thoughts on “Signs and Wonders: Manheim and Elizabethtown, PA Style

  1. Good morning, Marian! That Brick House Cafe looks like fun! Even though I went to college in Kutztown and have been near that area, I’ve somehow never actually stopped and walked around or eaten in restaurants in Manheim, Lancaster, etc. We’re always on are way to somewhere else. (And that can be the subject of a post in itself.) 🙂


    1. I do remember that you went to college in Kutztown and thus are familiar with the PA Dutch (Deutsch?) people. Yes, I can imagine you writing a post entitled “Always on the Way to Somewhere Else” presented as a theme for others to mimic – or not! (In your spare time of course.)

      Thanks again for being a first responder today, Merril.


  2. Good morning, Marian! Interesting post! Yes, I’ve seen some interesting signs too. I’ve only got a couple of pictures and I’m not sure how to put them on here, but you’ve given me an idea for a new post for myself!


    1. One idea sparks another – that’s how it works in blog world. I know I have probably adapted posts from others’ themes. You can you do yours from another part of the country, a different perspective, Anita.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Morning lady! I love the fifties signs! We see so many references to the fifties and now those dresses worn are stylish. Funny how things keep coming around. That was all before women’s liberation movement and some of them really can be degrading. None in this post, but some I have seen relative to women being subservient. Fashions and times change, but some things I would not wish to go back to.


    1. I’m glad you revel in the 1950s too. We were sorry to see our parents’ Art Deco inlaid wood bedroom suite from a bit earlier be replaced by furniture with much less character.

      In our sorting, we unearthed some booklets with scary titles of the era as for example “Rebellious Wives and Slacker Husband” depicting the woman in an demeaning role. Thank you, S. K.


  4. Those old signs are a blast! My great Aunt had a restaurant in the small town near our farm in the 50s. I remember some of those signs and others. It sure takes me back. We are enjoying trying the food in Spain. I love it!


    1. Do you remember the Burma Shave signs along the highway. I have no idea whether they reached as far as Canada though.

      I understand your visit to Spain may turn into your new home. Amazing! You are sure to find menu items you can live with, Darlene.


  5. Oh, the thought of the comfort foods in PA. The best! I’ve always enjoyed all the signs throughout PA. It amazes me the creative things people come up with in writing and art. Thank you for your post. Have a nice day.


  6. LARD=LOVE. My father use to render out lard when he killed hogs in the winter, never without it when I was growing up. Of course, we were much more active and physical in those days. You never cease to bring out warm and fond memories of my childhood, Marian.


    1. Love the lard poster too! What fun. I remember the two huge lard tins Mom liked to have full after butchering. We did not butcher ourselves, but too the hogs to be butchered, and got the meat back ready to put in packages and the lard in big lard cans.


    2. I can picture your parents’ grocery store in Lakeland, GA, always catering to the needs of Southern palates. Pies taste better made with lard, so they say. I’m glad these memories resonated with you, Carolyn.


  7. Funny signage of days gone by, but sure to bring a laugh, smile or a nod in agreement. Yesterday, daughter, son-in-law and I stopped for a sandwich on the way to the airport in a vintage diner in a revitalized neighborhood of Houston. What caught our eye was not the signage, worthy of a post, but what was on the menu. Under sandwiches “Thanksgiving Leftovers.” Daughter and I split the huge sandwich made with – you got it…turkey, dressing and cranberries! It was delicious.


    1. It sounds like your and your daughter got the sandwich version of a salad that is popular on the menu this weekend. Advertising it as “Thanksgiving Leftovers” seems rather bold to me, but it does get the message across. Love the anecdote, Georgette!


  8. The girdle poster is great. My daughter went with me to help me pick out some bras yesterday and I put on one (TMI??) that caused her to laugh and laugh at the results. But I so appreciated her help for one of my most dreaded shopping tasks.


    1. My mother and her friends used to attend “Spencer parties” where lingerie was sold. She was never without a girdle, and because it was so full of metal stays it always set off alarms going through airport security. Other readers will enjoy your comment too, Melodie!


  9. Marian — The APPLE DUMPLINGS on the blue sign are what caught my eye. I suspect I’d have to wear the BELLY-FLATTENER afterwards, though.

    One of the best signs I’ve ever seen said:
    “Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten”


    1. Three Layers, one of our favorite coffee shops in Jacksonville, posts a variation of that sign, substituting “puppy” for kitten. I have never seen a single child there, come to think of it!


    2. I’ve seen that one too, Laurie. And it made me laugh, along with these that Marian posted.

      Though I grew up closer to Manheim than to any other town, I never ate in a restaurant there. That’s because my first restaurant meal was a “schmorgasbord” where children were weighed to determine the charge. A penny a pound. I cost my parents .99, and probably cost the restaurant more. I recall downing quite a few pork chops. 🙂


      1. I don’t remember going to any restaurants except Diary Queen in my growing-up years, so I missed the smorgasbord. This idea of weighing children to determine charge is hilarious. I’m guessing it would infringe on the Privacy Act nowadays – ha!


  10. It’s the lard poster that really makes me smile because the models look so healthy and happy eating lard . Do you think we will be laughing in about fifty years how unhealthy red peppers and carrots are …you never know Marian .
    I was a child of the sixties and I used to have toast with lard on it when I come back from school before having a cooked meal of maybe lamb breast , mixed grill (including fried bread ) or even stuffed hearts …how things have changed. My son would think I’d poisoned him with any of those foods . It’s good fun to look back.


    1. I agree, the models look healthy and happy eating lard, Cherry. And we have lived to laugh about this “poisonous” diet! In those days though we probably had a more active lifestyle and our metabolism had a more efficient fat-burning capacity. At least that is what I tell myself.


  11. I love this, Marian. The picture–and the description–made me do a double take!
    Years ago when I was a starving college student, in the little town of Marion, KS about 35 miles away there was an almost identical-looking restaurant. It served many of the same foods, plus it also had a mini-bakery where they sold all kinds of breads and desserts. We’d pile into cars and drive over for the all-you-can-eat Saturday luncheon buffet. And they also had all the old, authentic signs and advertisements on their walls. It was wonderful.
    Twenty-five years ago when the town rebuilt the old buildings downtown, the owners of the restaurant sold their building to a pit bar-b-q bar and grill. Just not the same… ;(


    1. Some value nostalgia and history; others don’t. Your anecdote about the Kansas restaurant is a case in point.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I liked yours so much, I will gather the ingredients for the coke-laced cherry jello recipe and make it with grand-daughter Jenna tomorrow. I may even try for the mini-story contest. You never cease to amaza, Marylin.


    1. And, Shirley, I shall never forget what started it all: my seeing you on screen as an exemplar during a short course “What the Heck is a Blog?” at the University of North Florida in November 2012. What a ride it has been for both of us since then. Wow, oh wow!


  12. I love the signs! I especially like that not only does the one product flatten bellies, it also boosts breast size! 🙂 I recently ate a deep-fried dill pickle. I’m not a big fan of dills, but this one was strangely yummy & gross at the same time. I didn’t really like it but I couldn’t stop eating it. What does that say about me? lol


    1. I wouldn’t feel too guilty, Jen.. The same could be said about my eating chocolate-covered bacon at Root’s Country Market and Auction this summer. We writers need odd experiences to keep the creativity stoked!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You always, always come up with something new that I never could have imagined–and often your are simply paying close attention and noticing the details of the world you meet. Thank you for taking me on the journey, Marian.


    1. Thank you for being a partner on this journey, maybe not always parallel to yours but yet compatible. Awareness is a key and connection to one’s readers – something I definitely notice on your website as well.


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