When I moved to Carlisle in July 2021, I asked a local friend for her restaurant recommendations.
She provided me a lengthy list of options, spanning from grilles, ethnic cuisine to breweries. But at the top of her list was North Hanover Grille, located at 37 N. Hanover St., in Carlisle, and she emphasized the need for me to try their wings.
Boy, am I glad I took her advice.
North Hanover Grille, which recently celebrated its 22nd year in business, serves the Carlisle community an array of food choices and a beer selection that includes 16 options on tap. Even its website alludes to its variety: “Hungry for wings? Burgers? Wraps? Steak, seafood or pasta? How about a fresh salad? Are you a beer lover? We take pride in preparing and serving the Carlisle, PA area’s best food.”
The grille is open Monday to Saturday with hours of 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. the first four days of the week, and hours of 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. North Hanover presents the atmosphere of a family eatery but carries the vibe of a college hang-out, and a spot to catch a game, with three TVs lining the right wall as you walk in the door.
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Various seating options accommodate all restaurant goers. Fifteen to 20 tables scatter the restaurant while a collection of high-tops encompass the bar area. A banquet room sits in the back of the restaurant, which is used for events and larger parties.
The walls of the restaurant possess pictures and bar-type décor, including vintage signs of breweries like Yuengling. Strands of twinkle lights give the grille and at-home feel and snowflakes dangling in the windows of either side of the entrance preview the chilling temperatures that await customers’ entry and exit.
Like my previous trips, my latest consisted of diving into the wing menu. North Hanover offers 18 different sauce and rub choices, and you can choose between bone-in or boneless, and have the choice of eight, 12 or 18 wing baskets.
I decided to venture outside my traditional hot sauce order and rolled the dice on an eight-piece, bone-in order of bourbon hot wings ($11.99). The wings come with a side of celery sticks and blue cheese, and the basket had a fair mix of drums and flats. North Hanover didn’t short any sauce as each wing was covered evenly. Every bite left my beard coated in a sheet of red sauce and no napkin went unused.
The sauce itself provided a balance of kick and sweetness. The tang tickles the tastebuds first before the soothing wave of bourbon flavor comforts the initial punch. The wings were cooked to perfection — with a slight crisp on the outside skin while the meat peeled off the bone — and absorbed the sauce.
Aside from the wings, I also ordered a buffalo quesadilla ($9.99), which is one of five quesadilla options on the menu. The quesadilla came with a healthy serving of salsa and sour cream, and the tortilla itself was brimming with cheese, chicken and blue cheese. The sauce, which is a honey hot sauce, lacked much of a kick. While still delicious — I scarfed down all eight slices — the sweetness from the honey and blue cheese quieted the buffalo component.
If you’re not craving wings or quesadillas, the menu has something for every palette. The shareables span from cheese curds to nachos and fries, and healthier options of salads and soups round out the front side of the menu. On the back, dinners of crab cakes, steak and chicken pop off the top of the page, while rows of wraps and handhelds conglomerate the bottom portion.
Despite appearing to be short staffed, the service is excellent and waitresses welcome all with a smile. The food is served hot and ready and in reasonable time. And if you’re in a rush, takeout is a phone call away from you sinking your teeth into the scrumptious food this Carlisle staple has to offer.