12 Unique Restaurants in Pennsylvania: Coolest Places to Eat in PA

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Pennsylvania
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Welcome to our tour of unique restaurants in Pennsylvania. This guide will show you places where the food and atmosphere tell a story you won’t find anywhere else. From hidden gems to local favorites, get ready to explore the best eats in the state!

Let’s dive into the heart of Pennsylvania, where the food scene is as diverse as its landscapes. From quirky diners to historic eateries, this state offers a feast for the senses. Imagine tucking into a meal aboard a majestic ship, or dining beneath the earth in ancient catacombs. Pennsylvania’s got it all.

Whether you’re a pizza aficionado, a history buff, or someone who enjoys the unusual, there’s a spot at the table for you here. Each restaurant we’re about to explore is more than just a place to eat; it’s a destination that promises unforgettable experiences during your vacation in Pennsylvania.

So, grab your fork and knife (or your hands, we don’t judge!) and let’s embark on a culinary journey through the Keystone State. Ready to discover where history meets flavor and where dining out is anything but ordinary? Here are the most unique restaurants in Pennsylvania for you to explore!

The top restaurants to visit in Pennsylvania right now

Unique Restaurants in Pennsylvania: 12 Incredible PA Eateries

From quirky diners to elegant spots with history, we’re covering the coolest places to eat. Get ready to explore what makes dining in Pennsylvania so special.

1. Pizza Brain

In the vibrant neighborhood of Fishtown, Pizza Brain stands as a beacon for fun restaurants in Pennsylvania. This spot is the world’s first pizza museum where the love for pizza is celebrated in every corner. With a Guinness World Record under its belt, founder Brian Dwyer has curated the largest collection of pizza memorabilia, including vinyl records, action figures, and more, all dedicated to this beloved dish.

Pizza Brain serves up a variety of pies, from vegan options to customizable creations, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Seasonal pies with quirky names, like the Ollie Dodge Pie and Felix Hupert Pie, add a playful twist to the menu. While waiting for your pizza, you can explore the museum, a treasure trove of ‘za-themed collectibles spanning music, books, and movie posters.

For those who prefer to dive straight into the culinary experience, Pizza Brain’s offshoot, Pizza Dads in Brewerytown, offers the same inventive pies without the museum backdrop. Whether you’re a pizza aficionado or just in search of a unique dining experience, Pizza Brain delivers both flavor and fun in equal measure.

Pizza Brain is one of the unique restaurants in Pennsylvania.
Pizza Brain is the world’s first pizza museum and a celebration of all things pizza.

2. The Catacombs

Duck into The Catacombs under Bube’s Brewery in Mount Joy, and it’s like stepping into a secret world. Imagine eating 43 feet underground. Sounds like something out of a storybook, right? This place is all about turning dinner into an adventure.

Wander down below street level, and you’re in for a treat. The vibe? Totally candlelit, with stone walls that could tell tales of the old days. It feels like you’ve been let in on a secret, one where the past and present mix for dinner.

Now, if you’re hunting for fine dining in PA with a twist, The Catacombs is your spot. Picture this: gourmet dishes meet traditional flavors, all served in a setting that’s straight-up enchanting. Whether it’s the roasted asparagus that catches your eye or the grilled pork chops calling your name, the menu’s got a flair for the dramatic. And seafood lovers, get ready for a pasta that’s swimming with the best of the ocean.

No elevators here – just a staircase that leads you to a dining experience you won’t find just anywhere. It’s a bit of a climb, but hey, the best treasures aren’t always easy to get to, right?

Experience The Catacombs under Bube’s Brewery, where dining 43 feet underground turns dinner into an adventure in a secret world.
Experience The Catacombs under Bube’s Brewery, where dining 43 feet underground turns dinner into an adventure in a secret world.

3. The Big Mac Museum

The Big Mac Museum offers a quirky slice of fast-food history. It’s a spot where the world-famous burger gets its own showcase, right inside a McDonald’s. This museum might be small, but it’s packed with the story of a sandwich that took the world by storm.

For those on the hunt for unique places to eat in Pennsylvania, this museum adds a side of history to your meal. It’s not every day you get to munch on a Big Mac where its legacy is celebrated. The museum features a wall dedicated to the Big Mac’s journey, from its creation in 1967 by Jim Delligatti in the Pittsburgh area to becoming a global icon.

The museum is a blend of fast food and nostalgia, with vintage McDonald’s toys, wrappers, and even a giant Big Mac statue. It’s a place where you can learn, laugh, and, of course, eat. Located about 30 minutes east of Pittsburgh, it’s a must-visit for burger enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

The Big Mac Museum inside a McDonald's offers a quirky slice of fast-food history.
The Big Mac Museum inside a McDonald’s offers a quirky slice of fast-food history.

4. Cooper’s Seafood House

Since 1948, Cooper’s Seafood House in Scranton has been more than a restaurant; it’s a landmark. Starting as a humble passenger station, it’s now a full-blown experience with a pirate ship, lighthouse bar, and more. It’s like stepping into another world, where every corner tells a story.

For those scouting best places to eat in PA, Cooper’s is a treasure chest. It’s not just the eclectic menu or the friendly staff that draws you in. It’s the whole vibe – from the life-sized pirate ship to the unique rooms like the whale room and the coral room, each offering a different dining atmosphere.

Ranked among the top 100 independently owned restaurants in the U.S., Cooper’s has bagged titles like Restaurant of the Year by the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association. Whether it’s the best seafood you’re after or a beer menu that takes you on a global tour, Cooper’s delivers. It’s a place where food meets adventure, making every visit unforgettable.

Cooper's Seafood House is a treasure trove of dining experiences, from a pirate ship to themed rooms.
Cooper’s Seafood House is a treasure trove of dining experiences, from a pirate ship to themed rooms.

5. Road Kill Cafe

Tucked away in Artemas, Pennsylvania, the Road Kill Cafe offers a dining experience that’s hard to find anywhere else. Opened in 1984 by Barbara Snider, this unique spot has become a haven for hunters, motorcyclists, and travelers seeking a memorable meal.

The cafe’s menu boasts homemade delights that have customers coming back for more. From barbecue ribs that fall off the bone to savory baked ham and tender roast beef sandwiches, there’s something for every palate. Yet, it’s the homemade pies that truly steal the show, drawing pie lovers from far and wide.

What sets Road Kill Cafe apart is its catchy motto: “You kill ’em… We grill ’em.” This playful phrase encapsulates the cafe’s commitment to offering fresh, quality meals in a fun and welcoming environment. With prices that won’t break the bank, it’s a spot where adventure meets affordability.

Beyond the food, the cafe offers cabins and campsites for guests looking to extend their adventure. Whether you’re passing through or seeking a unique getaway in Pennsylvania, Road Kill Cafe and Cabins provides a cozy retreat amidst the beauty of Pennsylvania.

Road Kill Cafe is one of the unique restaurants in Pennsylvania.
Road Kill Cafe, since 1984, offers a unique dining experience for hunters, motorcyclists, and travelers.

6. Church Brew Works

Church Brew Works transforms a former church into a brewing heaven. This spot is a curious blend of history and hops, where stained glass meets stainless steel tanks. It’s a place where the past and present ferment together, creating something truly unique.

Among hidden gem restaurants in Pennsylvania, Church Brew Works shines bright. It’s where you can sip on holy brews under a vaulted ceiling, surrounded by the echoes of its former life. The brewery keeps the spirit alive with beers like Celestial Gold and Pious Monk Dunkel, each a nod to its sacred origins.

Winning the 2012 Brew Pub of the Year Award, their beers hit that “just right” spot for any palate. Not too hoppy, not too sweet, they’re a testament to balanced brewing. And the food? Think divine perogies and beer cheese soup, dishes that comfort the soul as much as they please the taste buds.

Church Brew Works is more than a brewery; it’s a pilgrimage site for beer lovers. It’s a place where you can feast in the nave, under the watchful eyes of saints and apostles, turned patrons of the pint. A visit here is a must for anyone seeking a taste of Pittsburgh’s brewing renaissance, served with a side of history, perfect for those flying from Pittsburgh.

Church Brew Works transforms a former church into a brewing heaven where history meets hops for a truly unique experience.
Church Brew Works transforms a former church into a brewing heaven where history meets hops for a truly unique experience.

7. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

More than just a spot to grab a steak, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House is a dive into opulence. Part of Pennsylvania’s best restaurants, this place has a vibe that’s all about grandeur with a twist. Imagine dining in an old bank, complete with a vault and all!

This steakhouse sits pretty in a building that’s been around since 1924, showing off its history with pride. Walking in, you’re greeted by a world of red velvet, a towering wine spiral that’ll make your jaw drop, and ceilings that tell tales of the past. It’s like stepping into a time machine, but with steak.

The place used to be a bank, and it’s got the vault to prove it. Now, instead of money, it’s storing wine—lots of it. With about 1,500 varieties, including some that could set you back a couple of grand, it’s a wine lover’s dream vault.

Upstairs, downstairs, everywhere you look, there’s something that’ll catch your eye. From the grand staircase to the bar that’s always stuck at “5:00” (hello, happy hour!), it’s a feast for the senses. And the food? It’s what you’re here for, with steaks that’ll make you forget about every other meat you’ve ever had.

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House offers opulent dining in an old bank, exuding grandeur with a twist.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House offers opulent dining in an old bank, exuding grandeur with a twist.

8. The Library

A fresh take on the classic bar scene, The Library on East Carson Street mixes a love for books with the joy of a good drink. It’s a spot where literature and libations meet, creating a unique hangout for book lovers and foodies alike.

In the world of themed restaurants in Pennsylvania, The Library stands out. It’s not just the name that draws you in; it’s the whole experience. Imagine sipping on a “Catcher in the Rye” cocktail or diving into a “War and Peace” Moscow mule. Each drink and dish tells a story, making every visit a new chapter.

The vibe is “dark academia,” with vintage mirrors and clawfoot sofas setting the scene. It’s cozy, moody, and just the right kind of different. And the food? It’s a mix of classic bar favorites and unexpected delights, like hamachi crudo and beef carpaccio, all made from scratch.

So, if you’re cruising through Pittsburgh looking for a spot that’s a bit off the beaten path, The Library is it. It’s one of the top places to check out on the East Coast, 100%!

The Library merges a love for books with the joy of drinks, offering a unique hangout for book lovers and foodies.
The Library merges a love for books with the joy of drinks, offering a unique hangout for book lovers and foodies. | Image Source: https://thelibrarypgh.com/

9. Moshulu

Docked at Penn’s Landing, Moshulu isn’t just a ship; it’s a dining adventure. As the world’s oldest and largest four-masted tall ship, it offers a meal with a view like no other. Here, you can dig into contemporary American dishes while soaking in the Philly skyline.

Looking for scenic places in Pennsylvania to eat? Moshulu tops the list. Summer brings alfresco dining on the deck, under the stars. Winter doesn’t slow down the fun, with cozy, heated decks ready for parties.

The menu? It’s a winner. Think award-winning cuisine, a wine list that goes on for days, and desserts that’ll make you want to skip dinner. Sundays are for jazz brunches here, with over 45 dishes to choose from, all set to smooth jazz tunes.

After a big makeover in 2019, Moshulu’s inside is as impressive as its outside. It’s all about the vibes here, with a mix of history and modern flair. Whether you’re here for the food, the view, or both, Moshulu delivers an unforgettable experience.

Moshulu offers a dining adventure on the world's oldest and largest four-masted tall ship.
Moshulu offers a dining adventure on the world’s oldest and largest four-masted tall ship.

10. DJ’s Taste of the 50’s

Whisking you back to the era of rock ‘n’ roll, poodle skirts, and classic cars is DJ’s Taste of the 50’s in Lancaster. It’s a themed restaurant where the 1950s are alive and well, from the jukebox tunes to the retro decor.

The place is decked out in 50s-style furnishings, making you feel like you’ve just walked onto the set of “Happy Days.” It’s all about capturing that nostalgic vibe, complete with a menu that echoes the simplicity and heartiness of the era. Think burgers, fries, and shakes that taste like they’re straight out of a sock hop.

For those searching for fun places to eat in Pennsylvania, DJ’s Taste of the 50’s is a must-visit. It’s more than a dining spot; it’s an experience. Whether you’re kicking off your day with a hearty breakfast or dropping by for a milkshake, this place promises good food and a great time. Located just a short drive from local attractions, it’s the perfect pit stop for anyone exploring Lancaster County.

DJ's Taste of the 50s is a themed restaurant bringing the 1950s to life with jukebox tunes and retro decor.
DJ’s Taste of the 50s is a themed restaurant bringing the 1950s to life with jukebox tunes and retro decor.

11. White Dog Cafe

White Dog Cafe isn’t just one of the coolest restaurants in Pennsylvania because of its food; its interiors play a huge part too. Stepping inside is like entering a whimsical homage to our four-legged friends, with each room offering a unique vibe that’s both quirky and utterly charming.

The walls are adorned with dog-themed art, creating a gallery of canine appreciation that adds warmth and personality to the dining experience. But it’s not just about the dogs; the cafe’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in its decor, featuring reclaimed wood, vintage furnishings, and a cozy fireplace that invites guests to relax and stay awhile.

The menu is a testament to the cafe’s dedication to farm-to-table dining, showcasing the best local and seasonal ingredients. Whether you’re there for a casual brunch or a special dinner, the experience is enhanced by knowing that your meal supports local agriculture and sustainability efforts.

White Dog Cafe offers a unique dining experience with whimsical, dog-themed interiors.
White Dog Cafe offers a unique dining experience with whimsical, dog-themed interiors.

12. Victor Cafe

Blending a rich history with a passion for music and Italian cuisine, The Victor Cafe in South Philadelphia is a journey back in time. It’s a place where every visit is an event, making it stand out among unique restaurants in Pennsylvania for dinner.

Originally a gramophone shop, The Victor Cafe transformed into a dining haven where opera and culinary arts meet. Imagine enjoying classic Italian dishes as live opera performances fill the air, creating an ambiance that’s both electric and intimate.

This spot is a favorite for those seeking unique restaurants in Pennsylvania for dinner. The menu sings with Italian classics, from veal saltimbocca to New York strip steak, each dish promising a burst of authentic flavors. It’s not just the food that captivates; it’s the experience of dining as arias and duets provide the soundtrack to your meal.

The Victor Cafe is one of the unique restaurants in Pennsylvania.
The Victor Cafe blends rich history with music and Italian cuisine, offering a unique dining experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Pennsylvania

Got questions about eating out in PA? Our Pennsylvania restaurant guide has the answers you’re looking for.

What food is unique to Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is famous for its unique dishes, like the Philly cheesesteak. This iconic sandwich combines thinly sliced steak with melted cheese on a long hoagie roll. Another unique item is scrapple, a breakfast meat made from pork scraps and cornmeal. Both dishes reflect Pennsylvania’s rich culinary tradition and are must-tries for visitors.

What restaurants are only in Pennsylvania?

Some restaurants you’ll only find in Pennsylvania include The Victor Cafe in Philadelphia, known for its live opera performances, and Primanti Bros., famous for adding fries and coleslaw right inside their sandwiches. These spots offer a dining experience that’s deeply rooted in the local culture, making them unique to the state, perfect for those flying from Philadelphia.

What is the number one food in Pennsylvania?

The number one food in Pennsylvania is arguably the Philly cheesesteak. This beloved sandwich has gained fame far beyond the state’s borders, symbolizing Pennsylvania’s culinary scene. It’s a simple yet delicious combination of grilled steak, onions, and cheese, all tucked into a soft hoagie roll.

What is the state drink of Pennsylvania?

The state drink of Pennsylvania is milk. This designation highlights the state’s rich dairy farming tradition and its importance to the local economy. Pennsylvania’s dairy farms produce a significant amount of milk, supporting the state’s agricultural sector and providing residents with fresh, local dairy products.

What PA town is known for pizza?

Old Forge, Pennsylvania, is known as the “Pizza Capital of the World.” This small town has its own unique style of pizza, often referred to as “Old Forge pizza.” It’s characterized by its rectangular shape, thick crust, and unique blend of cheeses. The town boasts numerous pizzerias, each offering its take on this local favorite.

Where can I find scenic places in Pennsylvania to eat?

For scenic places in Pennsylvania to eat, consider dining along the Susquehanna River or in the Pocono Mountains. These locations offer breathtaking views that enhance your dining experience. Restaurants with outdoor seating in these areas allow you to enjoy delicious meals while taking in the natural beauty of Pennsylvania.

The Watershed Pub is one of the top restaurants in Pennsylvania near the Susquehanna Riverboat.
The Watershed Pub is one of the top restaurants in Pennsylvania near the Susquehanna Riverboat.

How can I find the best restaurants in Pennsylvania?

To find the best restaurants in Pennsylvania, check out online reviews, local food blogs, and the Pennsylvania restaurant guide. These resources offer insights into the dining scene, from hidden gems to award-winning establishments. Whether you’re looking for traditional Pennsylvania dishes or international cuisine, these guides can help you discover top dining spots across the state.

Where are some cheap eats in Pennsylvania?

For cheap eats in Pennsylvania, explore local diners, food trucks, and markets in cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster, known as top places to live and visit in Pennsylvania. These places often offer delicious, budget-friendly meals, from classic American comfort food to international dishes. Street food in Pennsylvania is also a great way to enjoy tasty and affordable meals on the go.

What are some options for fine dining in Pennsylvania?

Fine dining in Pennsylvania can be found in its major cities and quaint towns, offering a range of gourmet experiences. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, for example, boast restaurants with award-winning chefs serving innovative dishes in sophisticated settings. For a unique experience, consider dining at establishments housed in historic buildings or offering panoramic views of Pennsylvania’s landscapes. These restaurants often feature locally sourced ingredients, showcasing the best of Pennsylvania’s culinary offerings in elegant atmospheres.

Final Thoughts On Unique PA Restaurants

We hope you enjoyed exploring the unique eats Pennsylvania has to offer. From one-of-a-kind spots with history to breathtaking views and unforgettable meals, this state has it all. With our Pennsylvania restaurant guide, finding these gems is easy.

So, next time you’re in PA, dive into its unique dining scene. Get ready for some amazing flavors and experiences that you can only find here. Let’s eat, Pennsylvania style!

The top restaurants in Pennsylvania for all types of travelers
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