Dad's Garage

Dad’s Garage in Mechanicsburg offers Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks, complete with ribeye beef, Cheez Whiz and onions.

Stephanie Kalina-Metzger, For The Sentinel

Although I’ve frequented Mechanicsburg untold times, I was unaware that a restaurant by the name of Dad’s Garage and Burgers operated at 245 E. Main St., across from Joseph James Jewelers.

Until just a few weeks ago, I assumed that ice cream was the only offering at the establishment, likely due to the signage, which could be more prominent.

A waitress greeted us with a smile when we walked through the door and within minutes she was taking our orders.

The décor at “Dad’s Garage” is just as one would expect, with various car-related ads adorning the walls. Edison bulb pendant lighting enhances the industrial appearance. About 17 mauve-colored booths are comfortably spaced throughout the restaurant and additional seats are available on stools at the bar up front.

Dad’s has earned a reputation for its burgers. Those with a hearty appetite might enjoy one of six eight-ounce “Big Block Burgers,” like the decadent “Downtown Burger” topped with mac and cheese, bacon, extra cheese and tomato; or the “Meltdown” with grilled onions and Swiss on rye; or the “Roadhouse Burger” topped off with a fried egg. More adventurous folks may be interested in trying the “Naughty Burger” topped with peanut butter, bacon, lettuce, tomato and sliced onion.

Even the salads are hearty at “Dad’s Garage,” and the restaurant offers a choice of three, including a Taco salad and a “Cool Salad” topped with blue cheese crumbles and homemade bacon cobb dressing. The Pittsburgh chicken salad with onions, mushroom, wedge fries and cheddar, served with a house-made blue cheese dressing, will satisfy even the largest of appetites.

Fried chicken fans can choose from a one-piece breast meal, or order up to 20 pieces for a larger crowd, adding sides like potato wedges, French fries, coleslaw, mac and cheese, onion rings or sweet potato fries.

The menu also lists seven “Big Block Sandwiches” with a range of selections like the classic BLT, Nathan’s beef hot dogs, a grilled cheese with three cheeses served on sourdough, a fried fish filet and “Old School Philly Cheesesteaks,” which my partner decided to try ($7.99).

I opted for the single cheeseburger topped with cheddar and onion ($5.99), with an order of chili to share ($5.49).

Within minutes, a generous plate of chili topped with cheddar and tomatoes hit the table, accompanied by half a hamburger roll topped with cheese—a meal unto itself. Those who have an aversion to grease, however, might just want to skip it. Eating around the pool of grease that rose to the top edges of the dish wasn’t a very viable option.

As for the burger, it met my expectations — juicy, flavorful and done just as I ordered. My dining partner couldn’t wait to dig in to his overstuffed ribeye beef sandwich made with grilled onions and Cheez Whiz and added ketchup (before I could snap a picture). I hear adding ketchup is a “Philly thing” too. As for the cheesesteak, he declared it on par with some of the best in the area.

Those who save room for dessert have dozens of ice-cream flavors from which to choose, along with sundaes, root beer floats and banana boats.

“Dad’s” even offers a children’s menu including hot dogs, chicken fingers, cheeseburgers and grilled cheese, all served with fries for $4.99—not a bad deal these days.

If you’re pressed for time, “Dad’s” is the place to go. Just one tip, if you’re in the mood for fried chicken, they make it fresh to order, so allot 20 minutes after ordering or call ahead first.

I’d also be remiss if I failed to mention that “Dad’s” offers breakfast anytime. For the late risers who love their morning meal, it’s a match made in heaven. For fast, friendly service and generous portions at reasonable prices, “Dad’s” is actually a good choice any time of day.

Next up: Dinner at Cork and Fork Osteria in Camp Hill

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