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Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards 2011 – Best Restaurant

Hideaway Latte Café, Lewisburg, PA

What a splendid year of dining out 2011 has been. Sometimes accompanied by our friends and family, Jim and I have tasted foods from all over this region. The most difficult part was when we interrupted our dining experiences to actually photograph, write down, and try to subjectively judge the food and restaurants. We hope that it has been interesting and maybe even helpful for a few veggie folks who may want to eat out in this area.

Many hours on the road this past week allowed us to weigh our opinions on which one restaurant gave the best vegetarian/ vegan dining experience in the Pennsyltucky region. We included restaurants in any of the 27 counties that even brushed up against the boundaries of our designated area (see map here).

Marzoni's in Holidaysburg- to beer or not to beer - that was one question.

We debated for hours, each of us playing devil’s advocate to the other’s argument; “They have regular entertainment,” was countered with “I prefer to dine where I can have a conversation,” which was met by “They don’t always have bands.” Then there was the bar and alcohol arguments; does serving alcohol make a place less family friendly – not always but sometimes. Price arguments were tempered by quality, portions size was confuted by presentation. Decor, hospitality and serving food that is locally produced were all factors in choosing what we felt was the best dining experience for vegans and vegetarians of any age.

I have raved about it all year so it will be little surprise to regular readers of this blog that Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks tops out every other restaurant in the region for best vegetarian/ vegan dining experience over all. I think of the great meals I have had at Elk Creek over the past year; an abundance of great vegan flavors, cozy conversations over a snack, chummy family brunches and laughs with quality crafted brews in hand and foot tapping tunes lifting my heart.

Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks (you can read my full restaurant reviews here and here) started off 2011 offering hearty Vegan Bowls of grain, legume, root veggies and greens. That’s when they got their hooks into my heart. Or was it? Maybe it was how Tim Bowser and staff always greeted me and every member of my family as though we were all welcome friends. No, it was the fresh local veggies Chef Mark used in his soups and salads. Wait! I forgot they also won the Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards 2011 for Best Specials so it has to be for that!

If you are overwhelmed with the many great things Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks has offered up this year, you can understand how they beat out every other restaurant (including strictly vegetarian ones) for hundreds of miles surrounding them. For all that I applaud them, congratulate them and award them with the Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards 2011 – Best Restaurant. It’s also great to be able to congratulate them on their 4th anniversary this month. With all of that also comes the challenge to do it again next year and I will enjoy every moment of judging that they can.

Have you eaten at a better restaurant than Elk Creek Cafe? Share it with me so it can challenge the best for 2012! If it’s in central PA (see map here) let me know and I will include it in the judging next year! Drop me, Pennsyltucky Veggie, a line or feel free to leave a comment!

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