My travels take me to the Mechanicsburg area quite often, but it wasn’t until recently that I noticed a small restaurant by the name of “Track’s End” while driving down Simpson Ferry Road near the Weis Market in Lower Allen Township. I learned that Track’s End is a 24/7 eatery that is open to the general public, but caters to the railroad workers who reside in an adjacent hotel.
When we arrived last Saturday, we easily found a spot in the large parking lot. Once inside, I was impressed by how clean and cute the place was. The attractive black-and-white checkerboard floors unite with black booth, table and stool seating, giving the eatery a crisp, clean look. White walls are sparingly decorated with memorabilia from Pennsylvania sports teams.
Because it was well past the lunch hour at 1:30 p.m., there were just a few “regulars” finishing up their lunches. I assumed that because the server addressed most customers by name. He also did his best to make us feel at home also, greeting us immediately with a smile and checking on us often.
Track’s End seems to take a low-key attitude when it comes to advertising. You won’t easily find an up-to-date menu on the internet, so it may be helpful to know that, in addition to standard breakfast fare, they also serve sandwiches and wraps, with classic selections like grilled cheese, club sandwiches, BLTs, tuna and chicken salad and Reubens. Three “homestyle favorite” sandwiches are also listed on the menu as meatloaf and open-faced selections: hot roast beef and hot turkey.
Six “boxcar burgers” also appear on the menu, with names like, “The Iron Horse,” “The Conductor” and “The Peddler.” These may require a little explanation from the server, since ingredients aren’t listed.
The “soups of the day” when we visited were ham and green bean, French Onion and Italian wedding soup. Other notable menu options include salads like chef and taco, quesadillas and “baskets,” served with chicken strips, clam strips, shrimp, haddock and boneless chicken wings. Track’s End also lists a few other choices listed on the menu as dinner entrees: sirloin steak, chopped steak, grilled chicken, baked haddock, pork chops and meatloaf.
Those with children may consider skipping the fast-food options and taking them to Track’s End for a budget-friendly meal, where nothing costs more than $4.99. Kids can choose from chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, pancakes and omelets.
As for our meals, my husband decided on the pork chops (2 for $11.99), lima beans and the Italian wedding soup, which were included in the price. I chose the Angus Reserve Sirloin Steak ($13.99), served with a house salad and broccoli, which was my choice of vegetable.
We waited about 10 minutes for our first course. My salad was comprised of iceberg lettuce, onion, tomatoes and a generous amount of shredded cheddar, which I topped with a delicious honey mustard dressing that was served on the side.
Approximately 10 minutes later, our entrees arrived. My steak was done medium rare, as requested, and my broccoli was cooked just right — the only problem is that it was north of lukewarm, so that was disappointing. The steak, however, was tasty and thicker than some I’ve had elsewhere for a more expensive price.
My husband enjoyed his porkchop dinner. Pork chops can sometimes be dry when you order them at a restaurant, but these were juicy and delicious. He is a big fan of Italian wedding soup and was not disappointed in Track’s End rendition, packed with plenty of little meatballs, small carrot strips, kale and ditalini. I’m not usually a fan, but when I tasted it, I became one, too.
When it was time to leave, our waiter brought us our check, bidding us a hearty goodbye with a wave as we walked out. Although we aren’t “regulars,” we now know that we’ll always be welcome.
Next Up: Dalicia Ristorante and Bakery in Mechanicsburg