The Loft, Lancaster, Pa.

One of my treasured Lancaster dining moments was the evening that four of us were dropping an absurd amount of money on some nearly-deserving farm-to-table fare at John J. Jeffries restaurant in Lancaster, and the waiter was going on about how their red velvet cake is colored the authentic way—with beet juice—and after he left the couple beside us turned to our table and said conspiratorially, “The food is so much better at The Loft.”

Okay, look: they’re entitled to their opinion. But they’re wrong.

John J. Jeffries is the place that serves an amazing Korean-influenced small plate they call “Jim Bim Bop,” with spicy pork, rice, kimchi, seasonal vegetables, chili paste, sesame ginger soy sauce and a fried egg.

The Loft is a restaurant where you get a small vat of soft butter to go with your hard dinner roll, and just in case that weren’t enough processed fat, an equal bowl of sour cream with chives.

The Loft’s website says it’s “poised to be a contender for one of the country’s top restaurants.”

Is it a typo? Do they mean county? C’mon folks—we don’t live in Trumpville. Just because you're brazen enough to say something outrageous doesn’t make it true.

The Loft was hot before Molly’s Pub was hot before Character’s Pub was hot. What’s the connection? Former owners George Centini and Gary Hufford. I don’t know what they’re doing now, but I bet it’s hot. 

In the meantime, all the restaurants they started float on like week-old helium balloons. You won’t die from eating there; you might even have a good time. But you probably don’t want to proclaim their culinary merits outside of Cracker Barrel.