By ANNE CHOVEY
Special to The Herald-Mail
Rouzerville, Pa. — The Rolling Mill Restaurant is an interesting place. Located near Waynesboro, Pa., it is pretty unremarkable from the outside. But on the inside, it is as if you have traveled back to a different time and place.
I asked my friend, Pap Ricka to visit the Rolling Mill with me recently and we were both pleasantly surprised at what we found there.
We entered the front door of the restaurant and directly ahead, against the wall, was a long, well-stocked bar.
The bar had a wooden canopy over it giving it an air of a bunk house or maybe a saloon.
Just to the right were tables and chairs for folks who wanted to sit in the bar area. The rest of the large room was partitioned off into a dining area by a waist-high wall.
We were met at the door and shown to a table in the dining area.
To my delight, we were seated in front of a gas fireplace where a fire burned invitingly. Before we even looked at the menu we checked out the rest of the restaurant.
The inside of the Rolling Mill is a genuine log building. The logs look old and are irregular in size. Some show cracks. All are polished to a warm dark brown. The mortar between the logs is bright white. The result is charming.
But there is more to see, because horse racing is the true theme of the Rolling Mill. Pictures of horses at various area race courses from as far back as the 1950s decorate the walls.
Saddles perch on top of the dividing wall and bridles, stirrups and other horse racing paraphernalia hang throughout the restaurant.
Once we had satisfied our curiosity we got down to business with the menu.
The menu was not extensive, but was well-thought out so there was something for everyone. It appeared that the signature dish of the Rolling Mill was the “famous Mill Crab dip.” It was sold as an appetizer with Italian bread or smothered over beer-battered fries. It topped chicken or burgers and sandwiches.
Well, what is not to like? I don’t think it can get any better than crab and cheese and dip.
But, in case you don’t like crab, there were also steaks and grilled salmon or haddock. There was barbecued chicken and chicken marinara and lots of sandwiches and burgers. The Mill Turkey sandwich looked especially good: it was thinly sliced turkey and swiss cheese with lettuce, tomato, honey mustard and cranberry sauce served on a pretzel roll.
The barbecue burger was angus beef topped with barbecue sauce, American cheese and a fried onion ring. And there were also ribs billed as “best in town” and “fall off the bone.”
We decided to get the Mill Crab Dip — I, on top of a chicken breast; Pap, on top of a burger. I got two side dishes with my dinner. I chose a salad for my first, and our waitress asked if I wanted cranberries and walnuts in it, to which I enthusiastically agreed.
I also picked fried green beans as my second side. Pap ordered potato chips with his burger and decided that he needed an appetizer.
He was delighted to see fried dill pickles on the menu and ordered a batch.
The pickles were breaded spears and arrived piping hot. They were accompanied by a dipping sauce. Pap generously shared one pickle with me. Yum.
The dipping sauce tasted of dill, most appropriately, and there was a hint of heat.
Neither Pap nor I could decide if it came from the sauce or the pickle, but it was great.
My salad was large and very fresh and had shredded carrot, purple cabbage, cucumber, red onion, tomato and shredded cheese with romaine. The cranberries and walnuts added a special touch. My chicken breast was nicely cooked although, to be honest, I think boneless chicken breasts can be a tad dry. This one was saved by the delicious scoop of Mill crab dip topped with melted cheese.
The fried green beans were terrific. They were lightly breaded and tender crisp. They were served with two dipping sauces: one an orange remoulade; the other a slightly sweet mayonnaise. What impressed me was that these sauces were entirely different from the pickle dipping sauce and also different from the dressing for my salad.
Pap loved his burger, which was cooked through, as he requested, and was also topped with the famous crab dip. It oozed out the side as he worked his way through the burger, and he scooped up every bit.
I am not sure how the Rolling Mill came by its name, as there is no explanation on the menu or the website, however it came about, it is a place to remember.
Anne Chovey is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail freelance writer who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.
3 1/2 (out of 5)
Food: 3 1/2
Service: 3 1/2
Value: 3 1/2
Address: 11657 Buchanan Trail East, Rouzerville, Pa.
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to midnight
Food: Ribs, burgers, sandwiches. Some, but not many, vegetarian options
Bathrooms: Clean but had awkward, double swinging doors on the handicapped toilet. Would be a challenge to maneuver in a wheelchair.
Parking and handicapped accessibility: Ample parking around the restaurant and a handicapped entrance around the side. No accessibility issues noted in the restaurant.
Reservations are not necessary.