Let's put it this way: If you stop in at the diner that used to be known as Jennie's, you will not go away hungry.
Now renamed the Route 30 Diner, it remains a place that caters to tourists, truck drivers and locals, and that's what diners are for. You arrive, and you eat. They have pancakes that are just slightly smaller than your average counter seat. They have creamed chipped beef served over toast with home fries. They have corned beef hash. They have gravy fries.
Just give in, and don't tell your doctor.
Well, OK, you can be good and order a fruit salad, which is $7.95, and is made with cottage cheese and fresh fruit. But, really, don't you want pancakes ($3.95 for one; $5.25 for a "short stack" or $6.45 for three)? If you want to go all Ritz-Carlton fancy, the Route 30 Diner, on (where else?) Route 30 just past the intersection of Route 30 and Route 896, also offers Eggs Benedict ($7.45). It's made with poached eggs and Canadian bacon with house-made Hollandaise sauce.
Speaking of Canadians, "I have truck drivers from Canada" who call the restaurant home, says Anthony Morales, who has helped run the spotless kitchen for almost a dozen years. Staff member Eleesha Frank backs up that opinion.
"If there are trucks out back, the food is good!" she says.
The restaurant has a classic 1950s shiny diner look, and it's been around for decades. It originally opened in 1952 as Gehman's Diner. It became Jennie's in 1979 and recently assumed its present name.
For a while, the diner went through some tough times. It was closed down for two months early this year. New owners Pete and Patti Skiadas cleaned up the place before reopening the restaurant in April. The floors have been redone and new equipment has been installed in the kitchen. The Route 30 Diner has a new vibe, but the menu remains old-school.
Pete and Patti have a track record when it comes to running restaurants; they have been in the business since the 1970s, helming such places as the former Market Fare in downtown Lancaster, now known as Carr's. They love running their current venue, which has down-home fare and a down-home attitude.
"We have some of the old staff," Patti says. "It's a nice marriage."
"All of our employees are never grumpy," says Pete. He and Patti liken the diner to the old TV show "Cheers," except they don't serve alcohol but everybody does indeed know your name.
That staff will be happy to serve you anything from a grilled cheese sandwich ($3.75 or $5.45 with bacon or ham) to something called the "Breakfast Burger" ($8.45); it's topped with a fried egg, ham and American or Cheddar cheese. Somewhere in between is the homemade chicken corn soup ($2.45 for a cup or $3.50 for a bowl). It is a meal of its own, with big chunks of chicken floating around the slow-simmered broth.
Entrees, served with two side orders and a salad, average $8.95 to $12.95; that latter price will get you a 14-ounce ham steak. If you want to splurge, go for the T-bone steak; it's $19.50, which should fill up your average tourist or truck driver.
Like its Route 30 namesake, this place is very Lancaster County - chicken pot pie, pork and sauerkraut and ham loaf are on the menu! - but you can also find Italian and Greek platters for under $10. There's also a kid's menu, where you can get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for $2.95.
And there's a nod to those who have served our country; the walls are decorated with photos of American military veterans. But all are welcome, including those Canadian truck drivers.
The Route 30 Diner
2575 Lincoln Highway East, Ronks, just past the intersection of Route 30 and Route 896. Call 397-2507 or check out the restaurant's Facebook page. Prices are under $16.
Hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 24 hours Fridays and Saturdays. Breakfast all day. Cash only.