Who doesn’t love a good brunch? Mixing breakfast foods with lunch foods, a little cocktail, a little coffee—genius! And if you add in a little shopping and a visit to a museum, it’s perfection. No, I was not in Philadelphia or New York or even Baltimore. I was in Harrisburg, yes, the capital city of Pennsylvania, the quiet little place (at least when there are no elections and the Farm Show is over) in the middle of the state.
Miss C wanted to come to the ’Burg to see the Ansel Adams exhibit at the Susquehanna Art Museum (hurry, it ends January 21) and of course we wanted a meal. She is my “I’m going to ___ city, what are the good restaurants?” friend because she always knows the best. But she left this choice up to me. Harrisburg is full of good brunch possibilities and I was having trouble choosing until I talked to another friend, who said, “The Millworks.” She and others had been recommending the Millworks to me for a few years, it was just a couple of blocks from the museum, it was a great suggestion. “Best Bloody Marys,” she also said but that fell on deaf ears (not my thing—give me a mimosa anytime).
Easy to find (actually, almost anything in Harrisburg is easy to find), the Millworks is next to the Broad Street Market (oldest farmers market in the country!). Free parking (yea!). Industrial interior with a lot of recycled materials (read the “About Us” for the full story). Even with the high ceiling it didn’t seem terribly loud (but this was brunch, I know, not a Friday night after-work crowd—I would assume it’s hopping then). Mimosas, anyone?
The menu made it hard to choose—numerous options out of the ordinary--but in the end I went with the scallops and grits (New Jersey Day Boat scallops, stone ground grits, arugula, poached egg). Miss C had the country fried chicken and sausage gravy biscuit (house made buttermilk biscuits, cream sausage gravy, Green Ridge Acres free-range chicken, bourbon-maple syrup). Next time I’m going for the smoked brisket tacos . . . Servings were generous but not enormous (kudos for that!). And I had apple cobbler for dessert.
Usually my reviews end here, right? Well, not this time! The Millworks is not only a restaurant and brewery, it’s also an artists’ community. Want pottery, jewelry, paintings, silkscreened clothing? They’ve got it all. What is not restaurant in the building is divided up into small studios for artists to work and sell their works. Not every artist was in while we were there but we did get to watch a potter at the wheel and talk to a jewelry designer.
When we had seen everything we could, we moved a few blocks down the street to the Susquehanna Art Museum for the Ansel Adams exhibit. His early works are on display in this former bank building; you can see the beginning of what became his iconic photographic style.
One last stop before we said our goodbyes—down Third Street to the Midtown Scholar, Harrisburg’s large, independent bookstore, where Miss C picked up a copy of Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and we both admired Lair of the Lion: A History of Beaver Stadium, written by Lee Stout and Harry H. West (which I had the pleasure to edit last year but hadn’t yet seen in print).
And all of this in Harrisburg, PA! There are many other businesses in Midtown (e.g., see my Yellow Bird Café review) but you need to explore to find them. You can always get a good sampling by going to Third in the Burg. And a great way to stay informed is to subscribe to The Burg, a real local newspaper—they will let you know what’s going on . . .