When you walk into The Pantry Restaurant, 2715 Marietta Ave., you feel welcome immediately.
Chances are the person welcoming you is Mary Kardiasmenos, who has owned the establishment with husband John since 1998.
The property has housed a variety of eateries since the 1960s, Kardiasmenos says. “It was an ice cream shop at one time. It was the Farmer’s Daughter restaurant,” she says. “It’s evolved over the years.”
Lucky for Lancastrians, it’s evolved into a place to find a hearty, home-cooked meal.
Open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, the Pantry serves breakfast and lunch. “We serve breakfast all day,” Kardiasmenos adds.
Among the restaurant’s specialties are “Signature Skillets,” including the Italian Garden (two eggs scrambled with spinach, mushrooms and broccoli, topped with provolone cheese, $7.99), the Greek Island (two eggs scrambled with onion, spinach, tomato and feta cheese, $7.99) and the Southwest Skillet (two eggs scrambled with onions, peppers and ham, topped with cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream and adobo seasoning, $8.99).
“They’ve been serving things in skillets here since the 1970s,” Kardiasmenos says. “We still have some of those original skillets that we use.”
Additional egg dishes include Eggs Benedict, omelets and egg sandwiches.
Not an egg person? Not to worry. One of the Pantry’s most popular dishes is its loaded baked oatmeal. Topped with strawberries, peaches, bananas, blueberries and vanilla frozen yogurt, it sells for $7.99.
Customers also crave the restaurant’s Croissant French Toast. “My husband came up with that about five years ago,” Kardiasmenos says of the bread that’s “dipped in our fabulous mix” and priced at $5.59.
The Pantry also serves lunch items including the BLT Supreme (double bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo, served on a grilled soft pretzel roll, $8.59), various other sandwiches with fillings such as chicken salad and oven-roasted turkey, along with a variety of burgers.
Daily specials are offered, too, as well as seasonal menu items including pumpkin pancakes, coming soon. They’re topped with a sweet cream sauce and are delicious, she says.
Former New Yorkers
The Kardiasmenoses formerly lived in New York.
“My husband is from Greece, but he came to New York in 1969 and worked in the restaurant industry since he was about 18 years old,” Kardiasmenos says. “We’ve both been working in restaurants our whole lives.”
The couple and their three children (two of whom work at the restaurant) moved to Lancaster in the early 1990s. “It’s such a great place to raise kids,” Kardiasmenos says.
A few years ago, the couple completed renovations that expanded the restaurant’s seating to more than 60, with additional seasonal seating outside on a patio. The renovations added 400 square feet to the establishment, including an additional room and a large bathroom accessible from inside the restaurant. “Before we put that in, people had to walk around back to get to the bathroom,” Kardiasmenos says.
The Pantry Restaurant’s success comes from its low-key, casual atmosphere, its great food and its friendly staff and customers, she says.
“Everyone who comes in here is nice. The waitresses are chatty and will spend time talking to the customers, if you feel like talking, but they’ll leave you alone if you don’t feel like talking,” she laughs.
“It’s just a very friendly place.”
IF YOU GO
• What: The Pantry Restaurant.
• Where: 2715 Marietta Ave.
• When: Open 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
• Offerings: Croissant French Toast, $5.59; Pantry Melt (oven-roasted turkey breast on grilled bakery 14-grain bread, with provolone cheese, coleslaw and Russian dressing), $7.99; Cranberry Chicken Twister (chicken salad with dried cranberries, sliced provolone cheese and romaine lettuce, wrapped in a flour tortilla),$7.99.