One of the best things about researching a new travel book is getting back on the road. And one research source I didn’t have last time—the Internet--is now a major source of information for me. It’s a great way to find those places I wouldn’t necessarily see otherwise.
On a sunny winter day Mary the Photographer and I drove north toward the small town of Catawissa. I had been reading about the cabooses in Catawissa (say that three times fast!) and came across an ad for Edith’s Kitchen. Once I saw the “Mess” on the menu, I knew we had to eat there.
When people travel, they are sometimes uncomfortable walking into a “local” establishment, feeling out of place, thinking everyone else knows each other. But at Edith’s we felt at home immediately. A sunny, warm room with freshly painted walls covered in eclectic “art” (the Mona Lisa, framed flowers, a lumberman’s saw, pretty much anything they felt like putting up), a waitress bantering with customers. Edith’s is a few blocks off the main street but clearly no one has problems finding it—nearly every table was taken.
The menu as posted on the Internet is comprehensive and includes “The Mess,” which they explain by saying, “we figure it all goes to the same place anyway.” That’s my kind of attitude! The waitress handed us the lunch menu. Even though it wasn’t on the lunch menu I suspect if I had asked for a Mess, they would have accommodated me, but the grilled eggplant sandwich sounded so good. Mary ordered the “grilled cheese and rustic tomato soup.”
While we were waiting for our meals, we read an article posted on the wall about the restaurant’s beginnings. Sean and Shauna Thomas opened their establishment in December 2010 hoping to give diners some fresh, local fare. In September 2011, like so many other places, the restaurant flooded from the dual impact of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Unfortunately, having been open less than a year they weren’t eligible for government assistance. But with a lot of help from friends and family Edith’s Kitchen was saved.
And when I saw our lunch, I wanted to thank those people. My grilled eggplant sandwich, on very fresh bread, was heavenly. And Mary’s soup was both delicious and large (when they say “hearty bowl,” they’re not kidding). The waitress convinced me to try the banana cream pie as well. Edith’s is not a place you’re going to leave hungry.
After we ate, we wandered around the train cars next door (the season runs April to October so they were all closed up). Then we headed north toward our next destination and talked about when we could come back to Catawissa just so we could eat at Edith’s Kitchen.
Forget the fast food stop if you’re driving Interstate 80 near Bloomsburg. Take Route 42 (exit 232) 6 miles south and have lunch at Edith’s Kitchen in Catawissa. This is exactly the kind of place that gives “local” a good name.