Fay's Country Kitchen

Fay's Country Kitchen's Tex-Mex Skillet came with a piping hot iron skillet filled with food, as well as toast and corned-beef hash.

Stephanie Kalina-Metzger, For the Sentinel

Evidently Fay’s Country Kitchen is the place to be on a Sunday afternoon.

When my dining companion and I arrived at noon this past Sunday, we discovered the place was almost full, with several groups of six or more gathering to chat over brunch.

Located at 203 S. Hanover St., just a few blocks from the square, Fay’s Country Kitchen has been attracting locals for over four decades now, earning its moniker as a Carlisle institution.

Nostalgia lovers will enjoy the retro vibe, from the red-and-white checkerboard floors, to the abundance of coke memorabilia that includes lively wallpaper, eye-popping advertisements and stools emblazoned with the familiar brand.

Large windows allow plenty of light to shine in, which adds to the cheery atmosphere. It’s no wonder many patrons choose to start their day at Fay’s where breakfast is served all day.

Customers entering the restaurant find themselves practically in the middle of the spacious dining area, but I noticed that employees manage to do a good job of ensuring that patrons are guided swiftly to their seats. We were offered a table at a window overlooking the street, which suited us just fine.

As I perused the menu, I noticed a few things worth mentioning: Fay’s is “cash only,” and open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. the rest of the week.

The schedule works well for breakfast fans who can wake up late and still enjoy dishes like crab benedict, or any number of omelets containing a variety of ingredients ranging from meat, to cheese and vegetables.

Those with a sweet tooth may prefer pancakes or French toast in flavors like banana nut, strawberry or blueberry. I must admit the Bananas Foster French toast whispered my name. Described on the menu as “warm, caramelized, cinnamon Foster glaze with pecans,” it practically wooed me, but I promised to feature lunch here, so I decided on a traditional cheeseburger ($4.99) and a cup of chili ($2.25).

My dining companion was loath to turn down so many mouthwatering breakfast options, so he decided to order a dish that could be considered either breakfast or lunch —Fay’s “Tex-Mex skillet” ($8.50).

Fay’s “skillets” include two eggs served with potatoes and other extras like onions, peppers, chili and cheese, as in the case of the “Tex-Mex.” Additional selections include a vegetarian garden skillet with mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and cheese, or a meat lover’s skillet with ham, bacon, sausage and cheese.

The lunch menu offers 17 sandwich classics ranging from Reubens, to BLTs and grilled cheese. Nine wraps include tuna, chicken salad and turkey and cheese, with similar offerings in an even heartier club sandwich. Those who prefer a lighter lunch can choose from salads like Greek, grilled chicken and chef.

After about 20 minutes, our orders hit the table. His came piping hot in a cast-iron skillet with a side of stick-to-your-ribs corned beef hash and an order of toast. The man-sized breakfast hit the spot and he finished every bite, describing it as delicious.

My cheeseburger was man-sized as well. When I saw the slab of meat on the hearty, buttery grilled roll served with kettle cooked chips, I wondered why anyone would choose McDonald’s over Fay’s. At $4.99, it was quite a bargain and tasty too. Those who like their chili a little on the sweet side will like Fay’s chili, which is also a bargain clocking in at $2.25.

Fay’s even has a “Kid’s Corner” section on the menu that lists six selections priced less than $5, making it easy on the wallet for families on a budget.

For a restaurant to last as long as Fay’s, they must be doing something right. Serving generous portions at reasonable prices with a menu that offers a little something for the entire family might just be their secret to long-lasting success.

What’s Next: Dinner at Bangkok Wok.

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