Living in Hanover

Living in Hanover

'Apparently a blog about living in Hanover'

First Try

All of the posts under the "First Try" category.

First Try: Hanover Hub

I visited the Hub a couple of Fridays ago for lunch. Some people try to avoid new places until they have all the kinks worked out, but I didn’t want to take that approach this time. I had a half-day at work and swung by for a sandwich right at noon.

That may have been a mistake. This is not a negative commentary at all. The place had been open for a couple of weeks and gained lots of positive attention so they had a decent crowd. Unfortunately for me, the folks in front of me had a group of eight mixed between adults and kids. No one knew what they wanted. They all fanned out and blocked the counter. They debated the merits of avacado on a sandwich. I just wanted to order.

I had to wait a bit, but don’t really blame the owners. This group should have realized they had people waiting behind them (it wasn’t just me). Once they took their 10 minutes to order, I knew what I wanted, placed my order and hung out since I ordered my food to go.

I really liked the atmosphere of the inside. They had a lot of families with young kids, which made things a bit chaotic (hint to parents: if you tell your 3-year-old to stop running, put him down and turn your back, he’sagonna run some more), but I survived. They had a really comfy couch, and I liked the decor with black-and-white photos of downtown. Dylan, the owner, was really attentive to me as I waited, making sure I wasn’t being put out. I appreciated that.

My food didn’t take that long considering they pretty much had a full house. Some guys in shirts and ties and some other folks just getting together for lunch complemented the families there. I got the smothered chicken sandwich and fries. The verdict? Good, but I learned what to do for the next time. I like some sort of sauce on my sandwich so I would definitely ask for barbecue on the side.

But the sandwich was a good size, and I really liked the fries. For the price (around $6.50), I think I got a good deal. They have a really simple and basic menu that everyone should enjoy, but I do hope they start adding specials and new sandwiches as time goes by.

I really like this addition to downtown. I hope to come by more often. They already have a couple of music events scheduled for the back room (a hidden gem), which is a really nice addition.

First Try: Warehouse Craft Brewing

Well, first and second try. I went to the brewpub for the first time for lunch a couple of months ago and totally forgot to write about it. Then I headed there the other night and made sure to remember this time.

After two visits, I can say I wholeheartedly approve, as if that was in any doubt. On the first trip I had a few different beers and a “Dagwood” sandwich while I opted for a few of the same brew the other night and tried one of their evening snacks.

I really like the layout of the upstairs. They do a lot with a little space with a handful of seats at the bar, a few tables and a bar along the far wall for an overflow crowd, I would assume. The room has had plenty of people on both of my visits so I’m glad I’m not the only one taking advantage of this new local treasure.

The available beers are displayed in a fun way on a chalkboard on one wall. The DIY nature of the taps – the Leggy Blonde beer has a Barbie doll fastened to the handle – gives the room a homey feel. The staff has been great each time I visited. They also have a large TV above the bar.

I had found that I enjoy the Passive Aggressive Pale Ale (PAPA) best of the ones I have tried. Shocking, I know, because of my penchant for that behavior at times and because that’s probably my favorite style of beer. They have a dry-hopped version as well now, but I didn’t try that the other night. I also tried the Downtown Brown on my first trip and like that, although not as much as the PAPA. I want to try the Blonde as well as their Hopknocker IPA some other time.

My snack the other night was about as simple as you can get, but that didn’t make it less enjoyable. I got pretzels (a snack-sized back of Snyder’s sourdough hards) and mustard, a homemade beer mustard that really hit the spot. The mustard had a kick which went away after you took a sip of beer (because they use a horseradish base the bartender told me) so that it didn’t destroy your experience.

I can’t find enough good things to say about the place based on just two visits. I don’t know how regularly I will go, but I will definitely make sure I don’t leave it out of the rotation (or forget to tell people about it) in the future.

First Try: Pink Spoon

My descent into full-bore frozen yogurt obsession continued last Saturday when we visited Pink Spoon in the Grandview Plaza shopping center on its opening weekend. We have a friend who manages the store so we wanted to show our support. Plus, frozen yogurt is very good.

In a lot of ways, not much separates Pink Spoon and Sweet Frog. The basic setup is the same, but I’m leaning toward spending more time at the newer joint. And not just because of a friend working there.

First off, a simple addition made the experience pleasant from the start. Pink Spoon had an LCD screen which showed the available flavors of yogurt. At Sweet Frog, you kind of have to crane your neck through the people already standing at the machines to see what they have to offer that particular day. A small difference, but one I appreciated.

Something else I like, even though I probably won’t take advantage of it, is that the toppings include breakfast cereals. So if you want Cap’n Crunch on your yogurt, the south of Hanover is where you should go.

Lastly, I simply liked the seating area better. Pink Spoon doesn’t have as much seating as Sweet Frog. That can count as a negative because Sweet Frog has been packed a number of times lately, and if the new competitor does as well, it might need more places to sit. But I just liked the feel of Pink Spoon better. Maybe it was the changing colors of one of the signs or the slideshow on yet another LCD screen.

But in terms of yogurt, I don’t think you can go wrong with either location. Definitely give both a try.

Brian March 8, 2013 2 Comments Permalink

First Try: Little Everett’s BBQ

A friend highly suggested the new Elm Avenue joint back in December, but I didn’t get a chance to go until recently. I officiated a wrestling match at Delone Catholic and knew I could refuel right down the street at Little Everett’s BBQ.

Even though I chose carryout for my meal, I really liked the inside of the restaurant. They have a small amount of room in the front where you order and a larger dining area in the back. I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived.

I went for the Little Boy pulled pork sandwich with fries. The quarter-pound sandwich goes for $6 on its own with fries selling for $3. I may have gotten some sort of combo for a better price, but I forget.

What i do remember is how much I liked my meal. The sandwich held a generous amount of meat, and I cannot recommend the fries enough. I couldn’t eat all of them, and my wife and daughter concurred with my positive reviews of the fries.

I have also heard solid recommendations for many of the other items on the menu, and figure that the catering service provides the same quality experience. I already have designs on going back to try the wings and baby back ribs (probably not at the same time, but you never know).

Just because Little Everett’s might sit a little out of some people’s usual driving routine (it’s between Delone and Magic Elm Skateland), don’t miss out on the chance to give them a try.

Brian January 28, 2013 Leave A Comment Permalink

First Try: Hickory Falls Laser Tag

Many months ago, I bought an online coupon for $20 worth of activities at the Hickory Falls Family Entertainment Center out on Route 194. Then I completely forgot about it.

A few weeks ago, I got a reminder that the coupon expired soon – it was one of those 50 percent off deals – so I let my daughter know we had to go there soon. As you can expect, she didn’t mind taking one for the team.

Things eventually got down to the wire, and we went one day before the expiration date. The original plan called for some mini golf, but it was overcast and occasionally drizzly. So we opted for laser tag. Great. Stinking. Choice.

For $12 a person, you get to play four six-minute games in the indoor laser tag arena. They advertise a 40-minute session, which is accurate, but that includes the orientation video, getting into the equipment and going over the playing area. I think you get good value for your money.

Games go off about every 45 minutes so, after you sign the waiver and pay your money, you just wait your turn. Then the fun begins. They split us into two teams – we were with three guys in their 20s, their Mom and grandmother – before playing. You have to shoot the targets on the other team. No one “dies,” though. You get to play all six minutes and the sensors tally points for how many times you shot the other team.

Our team got killed mainly because we teamed up with Mom and grandma against three guys who seemed to have experience shooting things before. I bet they don’t get deer as easily as they got me that day.

That didn’t diminish the fun. You even get a printout to tell you how many people you shot in each game (and how often they shot you). We definitely plan on going back again.

Brian October 18, 2012 Leave A Comment Permalink

First Try: Moon’s Cafe

I had plans on Saturday morning with some of my fellow Lion’s Club members to raise money for the Red Cross at the Hanover market, but arrived a little earlier than necessary. I didn’t want to buy anything since it would have to sit in the car for a few hours so opted to get a breakfast sandwich at Moon’s Cafe, the small counter right as you enter from the Chestnut Street entrance.

I grabbed an egg sandwich with sausage and a coffee. The whole thing ran me $4, which was well worth it. They made the egg right there, and the coffee was a decent size. I also got a free cup of water when I realized a fresh cup of coffee would not work with a freshly-made hot sandwich.

None of this really shatters any barriers, but I really had an enjoyable breakfast. The counter (and Moon’s salad stand right next to it) were manned by high school/college age students who looked like they enjoyed their jobs. Given the hours of the market on Saturday, I commend them.

I don’t always think of sitting down for breakfast when I go to market, usually because I have already eaten before I head out shopping, but this impromptu decision has changed my outlook on this. I will definitely give Moon’s cafe another try.

Brian October 1, 2012 1 Comment Permalink

First Try: Timeline Arcade

Oh.

My.

God!

I had heard about this place, but didn’t realize the breadth of its awesomeness until I went to the mall on Sunday. I needed to swing by Radio Shack for something and also wanted to check out the sale at JC Penney. As I stepped out of the latter, I saw the arcade and stopped in my tracks.

In my head, I saw the old arcade down by Knobloch’s with a few old games and lots of those new multi-player games. Boy, was I wrong. I played Donkey Kong (albeit on one of those multi-game machines), Centipede and that shuffle bowling game with the disk you slide to try to hit the metal things. We played that for hours at one of our favorite bars in college. Maybe they couuld add a bar at the arcade.

That would be the kiss of death. I don’t know how much I like the system where you buy credits on a card instead of using coins, but that’s mainly because I didn’t feel like playing all the credits I bought and will probably lose the card before I go again if I haven’t already. Oh, and I didn’t see a swipe thing on the Qbert game, but didn’t look that hard so gave up and played Donkey Kong.

But those are really my problems more than those of the arcade. Maybe I just need to go there a lot more to work out those kinks. Yeah, that’s the best solution according to the 12-year-old who controls my brain.

Brian September 19, 2012 Leave A Comment Permalink

First Try: Genova’s

I’ll catch up on this excursion from a few weeks ago – we got pizza there on the evening of Dutch Days – in an attempt to lighten things up a little bit here.

I certainly knew of Genova’s because of my Maryland commute. The signs aren’t everywhere, but the strategic reminders that their Maryland stores deliver to PA made it clear that Genova’s has a following. I brought them up to some transplants (I act as if I didn’t move here from Maryland 20 years ago) and got a firm endorsement.

Dutch Days seemed perfect since we had pretty much no motivation after the long day spent working (my wife) and yard saling/walking around (my daughter and I). Pizza fit the bill for a quick dinner so I suggested giving the new Genova’s at Grandview Plaza a try.

The verdict: this place is a keeper. The pizza did not blow me away, but I really liked it and would definitely try again. Our pizza loyalties don’t remain completely static. We do have a partiality toward Alfredo’s at Hanover Crossing, but also enjoy Little Caesar’s and Sal’s. In reality, we make pizza at home more often than we dine out or get delivery so Genova’s could be an option for those nights we really don’t feel like making anything.

Let me take a break here and pour one out for Alex’s Pizza on the square. Though I didn’t go there unless I had to for a meeting because of a long-held grudge (you treat me like you don’t need my business, and I won’t forget it for a long time), it’s hard to deny how important a place like Alex’s is to the fabric of downtown. I really hope someone steps in and opens their own pizza joint.

Anyways, even though I only picked up a pizza at the front desk, I thought the interior looked really nice and hope to maybe give a sit-down meal there a try sometime in the future.

Brian August 16, 2012 Leave A Comment Permalink

First Try: Sweet Frog

I found myself out by Target with a little time to kill a couple of weeks ago and decided to try out Sweet Frog, the new frozen yogurt place. I had heard good things, plus it was hot.

In the end, I can simply say “meh.” Like Coldstone Creamery, this seems like the focus is more on the process than the product, except they add a DYI component. There are a ton of frozen yogurt flavors and another ton of toppings. You pick a cup, fill it with whatever you want, weigh it, then pay.

I’m not trying to be hypercritical. With a bulk of dessert options, I just didn’t find it so outstanding that I would make a special run out there just to get my fix. I’m sure some people love the many options, so I’m glad that kind of place exists.

One other thing. I know every restaurant has to have a fundraising component now. I have no problem with this because we have helped organize some, and they really can do a nice job of raising money. But the night I went, some church had a guy standing outside holding the door for people and asking them to say they were with their group.

That is a sure fire way to not get me to help your group raise money. In fact, if I were the store manager, I’d be pissed that I was trying to help you out and you had to get complete strangers to raise your share of the money instead of, you know, actually getting people affiliated with your group to come out and do that by patronizing my business.

I know some stores have rules on what you can and can’t do in these programs. If part of Sweet Frog’s strategy is to have a personal greeter try and get you to support their cause, I’d be more than happy to not stop by again. I can always go to Rita’s or the Big Chill to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Brian July 6, 2012 3 Comments Permalink

First Try: Hanover Hospital Express Care

One in a occasional series of places around Hanover I am trying for the first time

I woke up with a special Father’s Day present – pink eye. My right eye felt a little funny yesterday, but didn’t seem like it rose to the level of conjunctivitis. I knew as soon as I woke up I had been wrong.

So I get to add something to my First Try series that I never expected: the walk-in clinic in Grandview Plaza.

I have to say, I really enjoyed my experience, well as much as anyone trying to get a prescription for an eye infection can. They didn’t make me feel rushed, but everything moved along quickly. Within an hour, I had been seen by two people, handled all the paperwork and had the prescription in hand (picked up at Giant on Baltimore Street).

I can totally see how these clinics, whether it’s this hospital-affiliated one or the other place in town, can really help people. Otherwise, I probably would have waited a day and taken sick time to get an appointment at my family doctor or eye doctor. And parents in there with a sick kid – sick, but not vomiting – may have ended up at the ER or sitting at home wondering if something worse was afoot.

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