In 1927, young James Stoughton left a life of tending fields and animals to erect a small roadside sandwich stand. As its popularity grew over the decades, he gave in to his artistic proclivities and built a professional theater. Room by room, the stand and the playhouse grew into a sprawling estate, and Green Gables Restaurant was born.
Today, owner and descendant Mary Louise Stoughton grins at a sea of diners and wedding-reception guests as they chat in the restaurant's hand-hewn wooden halls. The revelers excuse themselves from tables momentarily to wander the building, which is home to a bevy of hidden whimsies. Observant explorers discover statues of inquisitive human forms, carved in the nineteen-twenties by French sculptor Crenier, that silently heft monolithic urns which bear the weight of the ceiling above. Beside wrought-iron chairs and tables, glass windows bloom with verdant plants, and antique shelves bear rows of antique Pennsylvania glass, china, and pottery. The Tuscany Room's skylights spill natural light over hand-carved wooden beams harvested from local barns and a dance floor inlaid with fleurs-de-lis, all bordered by four towering oak trees.
Executive Chef Susan Kroft fills each room with spice-laden aromas from duck, beef, and shellfish. Stoughton, who is also a sommelier with training from the French Wine Academy, fills clinking glasses with more than 100 grape elixirs during normal meal hours, at monthly wine tastings or at occasional wine-and-dining events that save pupils the trouble of breaking open a satyr's piggy bank. A network of paths and terraces leads to the adjoining Huddleson Court country inn, as well as to the doors of Mountain Playhouse, the property's original theater.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,500 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the Pepperoni Pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs or slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including Frozen Lemonade Mixers.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex?s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. They also reach out to local communities through fundraising opportunities.
When requests for their showstopping seafood dishes poured in from more friends and family than they could fit inside their kitchen, the Krieger family set up shop inside a roomy Victorian mansion. Today, Ligonier Tavern still serves up crab cakes and ciopinno, as well as burgers made with local grass-fed beef. Diners can pair their meals with a drink from the bar, such as a cocktail made with Knob Creek bourbon, whether they're seated in the restaurant's solarium, its main dining room, or on its second-floor balcony.
At Edo Hibachi, meals don't get cooked behind closed doors: talented chefs prepare the restaurant's cuisine with fiery flair right before diners' eyes. With a focus on healthy ingredients, they grill up combination platters, such as chicken and salmon or filet mignon and lobster. Edo's chefs also showcase their talents from behind the restaurant's sushi bar, artfully assembling platters of sashimi and assorted selections of sushi.
The chefs at Chef Dato's Table craft elegant American entrees using ingredients purchased from local vendors, farmers, and bakers. Recognized on the Food Network, the restaurant?s Hollywood burger is covered with mango salsa, creamy adjika, and biryani seasoning and served with a bodyguard and five paparazzi. Also popular on the menu: the wild mushroom risotto and the German pork schnitzel. The dressings for the specialty salads are made by hand; the salads also come topped with maple glazed salmon or grilled chicken and mandarin oranges. Additionally, special menus are crafted for occasions such as Oktoberfest; this year's Oktoberfest menu, featured in September and October, includes German sausages, Jagerschnitzel, potato pancakes, German bier pretzels, sauerbraten, roasted pork and kraut, and other German-inspired dishes, perfect for enjoying in the German-style beer garden, which serves a large selection of German and local craft beers.
Not many people get the chance to dine in a restaurant's wine cellar, but at Vallozzi's, diners can book the underground space for a private dinner or dine in one of four other elegant areas. While enjoying award-winning wines, guests can feast on upscale Italian cuisine in Vallozzi's Classic dining room, which awards the eyes with hand-painted murals and romantic lighting. Alfresco dining options include Casa Elena and the patio, where guests can bask in the breeze without picnicking on an airport runway. Rounding out the quintet of rooms and boasting a handmade maple and olive wood bar, Rosso Bianco blends casual and chic with light-strewn tables, wine racks, and flat-screen TVs.