Our recent road trip took us far into central Pennsylvania where my daughter lives in peaceful serenity surrounded by Amish farms, rolling hills and mountains. Around those parts there’s not a lot of dining out options which is why whenever I call her she’s either off to a dinner party or having one. Besides the rare local small diner or farmstand there are no options.
Just down the road apiece (ha!) and over a couple of mountains (ha!) into Milheim however, is a jewel of a restaurant venue called the Elk Creek Café, the cornerstone of this charming one-stoplight-town. The Café takes its name from one of the three great creeks in the area, all well known for the best fly-fishing in the area. When it comes to the food and ales, owner Tim Bowser is committed to community, health and sustainability.
Head Brewer Tim Yarrington makes a variety of excellent award winning beers and ales, all brewed in-house.
Chef Andy Rose offers fresh baked pastries, breads and buns and sources as many ingredients as possible from local and sustainable farms, using only the freshest vegetables from a local Community Harvest cooperative.
I had their popular Alaskan Salmon (caught by local fishermen) grilled over a salad of delicious greens (harvested locally). You don’t get much fresher than that. It was absolutely wonderful. We also had one of their Pretzels, crafted by Chef Andy and served with a yummy mustard dip, the perfect accompaniment to a pint of ale. The burgers are made from local pasture-raised beef. And they also serve a Valley Ham and Cheddar sandwich, again locally sourced, that’s a crowd favorite.
Of course the highlight of my evening was the after dinner show – my daughter Christine Smith & Dave Bielanko who as the band Marah (marah-usa.com) delighted us and the sold out crowd with music from Marah and Mountain Minstrelsy. This stage mother was grinning ear to ear. Elk Creek Café offers an impressive lineup of bands and performers from near and afar. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world you’ll have to stop in and enjoy a meal, a brew, and some awesome music in a small town relaxed atmosphere. We’ll be back for sure.