The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81)

Post
Mosca
Filet Mignon
2008/11/16 22:53:25
We've eaten at The Anthracite many, many times, and I've written about it and raved about it once or twice; but I've never posted a review with pictures. (For the photography-curious; two separate visits. On one visit we were directly under a track light!)

The Anthracite is a little bit out of the way (at 804 Scott Street in Wilkes-Barre, PA, if you are setting your GPS) but it is worth the extra turn or two if you are passing by on 81, and it is DEFINITELY worth the stop if you are staying in the area. The people are friendly and the food is cheap, fresh, homemade, and really, really good.

Decor is local color; The Anthracite used to be a VFW. The main dining room is a big, high-ceilinged box, and the walls are covered with old black and white photos of the region's history.









The pesto bruschetta is our appetizer of choice... really, the photo tells you all you need to know about why we love this place. $7.95 for fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, pine nuts, shaved parmesan, black olives, and home made focaccia... and that presentation! WHAT is not to like?



Homemade soups... vegetable clam chowder, and chicken pastine. Like mama used to make. Really. No lie. Cup of soup, $1.95.






Entrees... This is something called Hawg Wings. It is pork shank seasoned with homemade bbq sauce (not slathered, but seasoned), presented with fried potato wedges and roasted red pepper strips... $11.95.



Chicken scampi over rice... in this valley, you have to have the scampis on the menu.




Some chickeny Mexican thing:




Of course, we drank from[url='http://mybeerbuzz-anthracite.blogspot.com/2008/07/bottle-list-as-of-81-anthracite-cafe.html']the extensive beer list[/url]...



It's hard for me to post this like one of my regular reviews, you know; this is like reviewing my back yard or something. The food is so familiar, the restaurant is so well known to me that I can't point out the details any more! I've brought out-of-towners here, and to a man/woman, they have raved about the food and marveled at the prices.

And it's not always all about how unusual the food can be. Last night was the school class play (The Music Man; pretty good, for a high school production). We were in a hurry, and dropped into The A for a quick bite. MJ ordered the chicken fajitas, I ordered the steak... $7.95 each:





See what I mean? Nothing fancy, but it's what you would do if you were making the food for yourself.

Burgers are real burgers, half pound and piled high, meaty and steaky and cooked to order. They do have regional specialties, like Murazzi (brand) sausage and pasta, pork & sauerkraut... turkey and gravy, Cadillac meatloaf (and Cadillac meatloaf burgers) served with mashed corn potatoes (mashed potatoes with corn mixed in, just like you'd do at home), and more. ALL menu items are prepared from fresh ingredients; NOTHING is bought bagged/frozen and then microwaved.

HIGHLY recommended. If you are traveling the I-81 corridor, I recommend calling in advance [(570)-822-4677] and making sure that there isn't an event at the Wachovia Arena, as The Anthracite is pretty packed the hour before a hockey game or a concert.





John A
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 06:51:02
Nothing like a "Go to favorite" you can always count on, that's a real good one. Nice job on the pictures, looks like you've figured out the crop feature on Photobucket.
stanpnepa
Double Cheeseburger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 07:05:11
Tom, nice job!

I work about two miles from the Anthricite and proudly drive past the chains on Kidder St. to get there. Prices are reasonable too.

Maybe I'll go there for lunch today? Monday's getting better already!
joerogo
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 08:14:31
Mosca, Great pics and report. Never been there, that will change soon.
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 10:25:25
quote:
Originally posted by John A

Nothing like a "Go to favorite" you can always count on, that's a real good one. Nice job on the pictures, looks like you've figured out the crop feature on Photobucket.


No crops, John. As shot. Processed in Lightroom 2.1 by hitting "auto", and posted; "auto" brought up the blacks a little, but otherwise left everything else alone.
John A
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 17:13:16
quote:
Originally posted by Mosca

quote:
Originally posted by John A

Nothing like a "Go to favorite" you can always count on, that's a real good one. Nice job on the pictures, looks like you've figured out the crop feature on Photobucket.


No crops, John. As shot. Processed in Lightroom 2.1 by hitting "auto", and posted; "auto" brought up the blacks a little, but otherwise left everything else alone.


Great pictures, what camera is that again?
mar52
Sirloin
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 17:26:15
WOW! What great looking meals. I love the presentation. Great photos!
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 18:30:32
quote:
Originally posted by John A


Great pictures, what camera is that again?


Thank you! The soups and the quesadillas are the Canon G9 (p&s); all the others are my favorite food camera, the Nikon P5000 (also a p&s).

The G9 pictures, we were seated right underneath the track light that is in the first picture. It was kind of stark; we didn't really mind, but it was difficult to get a nice soft shot.

How about that vegetable clam soup? I can feel myself in my own kitchen, chopping up the vegetables and thinking to myself how good it is going to taste!

We are going there again this week, I'll get some different dishes and post more pictures.
Greymo
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 18:42:00
The food looks wonderful and I love the way the dining room looks. I would love to eat there sometime but, unfortunately, the family always opts for meals in Old Forge. I really cannot blame them as we cannot get that good Italian food at those prices where we live.
Ort. Carlton.
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 19:22:39
quote:
Originally posted by Mosca
... Of course, we drank from[url='http://mybeerbuzz-anthracite.blogspot.com/2008/07/bottle-list-as-of-81-anthracite-cafe.html']the extensive beer list[/url]...


Mosca,
WHAAAT?!?!?!? No Stegmaier???? No Gibbons????? No Bartels?????? No Liebotschaner Special Cream Ale???????
Disappouringly, Ort. Carlton in We-Finally-Have-Yuengling Athens, Georgia.
P. S. Now I check their list and see that they really DO carry hometown favorites. Bless them! But still no Lord Chesterfield Ale!
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/17 19:36:06
Same reason we never go to the Poconos, Ort. Greener grass, etc.

Did you know that Old Forge Brewing Co (in Danville, not Old Forge, but, well, so's yer old man, heyna) has the tanks in place and is shooting for a December 2008 opening? Now THAT is good news!


John A
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/18 07:21:43
You're ready for anything with two cameras I would like to try that Hawg Wings
FriedClamFanatic
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/18 17:06:52
Looks fanatastic............especially beacuse of the pics Thanks

Will have to try it on my next trip up north of the state
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/18 19:22:28
I put a little more time into post-processing the soup and fajita pictures.... soory if I seem a little fixated on that stuff, but I get that way sometimes.
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/18 19:24:44
Mosca - Nice job...you can feel your love of the place in your words and photos. It really looks inviting and it is nice to have a place you can go to for any ocasion.
mbaltusk
Junior Burger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/18 19:46:59
Thanks for pointing out a great report for a local joint. I live in Kingston, and actually haven't heard of this place but now I will give it a try. Thanks!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/19 08:10:42
Mosca-
Beautiful photos! Being a soup lover, those are the pics I am most drawn to.
juleebella
Cheeseburger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/19 09:09:58
I keep reading the title of this thread as The Anthrax Cafe.

Great pictures, sounds like a really great place.
ken8038
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/19 12:17:39
Great report Mosca. I've added Anthracite Cafe to my "to Do" list for that area, which I try to get to once a year, usually on a day trip.

Not only does the food look good, but, oh those prices!

At <$2 for a gallon of gas, I could drive there & back from Union County NJ and still have a lower cost than most restaurant meals I could eat locally.

<<WHAAAT?!?!?!? No Stegmaier???? No Gibbons????? No Bartels?????? No Liebotschaner Special Cream Ale???????>>

It does seem odd that a local place with such an extensive beer list would not have any of the local beers on draft. Oh well, I can always pick up a case of Steg Porter on my next trip.
leethebard
Sirloin
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/19 12:29:34
I enjoyed your report Mosca..unfprtunately too afr for me to travel...but I was taken by that homemade Focaccia!!!!
Scorereader
Sirloin
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/19 13:14:48
Mosca: I'll be travelling I-81 through there four times in the next month (two trips to Syracuse). Now that we have our baby, we actually stop for a sit down meal so that the munchkin can be fed. So, The Anthracite will be a must stop on one of the passes through Wilkes-Barre.


Looks like Exit 168 is the easiest exit to take (Highland Park Blvd to Kidder to Scott). I know that exit well. we usually stop at that Wegmans.
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/19 15:10:27
quote:
Originally posted by Scorereader

Mosca: I'll be travelling I-81 through there four times in the next month (two trips to Syracuse). Now that we have our baby, we actually stop for a sit down meal so that the munchkin can be fed. So, The Anthracite will be a must stop on one of the passes through Wilkes-Barre.


Looks like Exit 168 is the easiest exit to take (Highland Park Blvd to Kidder to Scott). I know that exit well. we usually stop at that Wegmans.



Scorereader, if you're asked, tell them that you heard about them on Roadfood! And, I'd recommend the pretzel chicken; it is out of this world.
joerogo
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/19 20:23:58
Mosca, I have the original cedar that lined the beer vats at the Stegmaier Brewery from 1857.

When the brewery was sold and auctioned off, Amity lumber in Taylor, Pa. bought the cedar and made tounge and grove siding from it. I walked by it many a times in his lumberyard, thinking what I could do with it.

Finally I lined the walls and ceiling of my wine cellar with it.

[img][/img]
Scorereader
Sirloin
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/11/27 09:01:04
got lost trying to find it. I was in the 100-300 block area. Somehow, I goofed, I forgot my print out, so I was sans map and couldn't remeber the block number.

I'll try again on the next pass, now that I know it's in the 800 block. And, after driving in circles, I'm pretty comfortable with the layout of the immediate area.

We ended up getting back on the highway and hitting Ruby Tuesday near the Lackawana visitor center.

Salad bar was spotless and fresh, they did a really great job on the alpine burger.

Hopefully timing will work out with out little one's eating schedule that we can try to find the Anthracite again.

Scorereader
Sirloin
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/12/01 08:07:44
On the return trip, (Sunday Nov. 30) the little bugger was out cold through the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. So we skipped trying to find that Anthracite on this return pass.

We stopped in Frackville and hit the Dutch Kitchen. I had the Rueben, which was fine. A little greasy, but meaty. The crab bisque was pretty good. After living several years now in the mid-atlantic, I could've used some old bay in the bisque to liven it up, but it was soft and tender, and hit the spot on a cold slushy day travelling through PA. My wife had the roast beef club. Her take: "a little thin on the roast beef, but the rye bread was delicious; it beats Subway, mostly because of the bread. The decor is like Cracker Barrel only homier. Waitstaff was friendly, but slow to deliver the check. Overall, it's a good stop."

Since they do have a baby changing station in the restroom area, Dutch Kitchen will likely become our Frackville stop.

We certainly will give Anthracite another shot, as long as the little one is ready to eat around that time.
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/12/09 12:44:26
Just wanted to add, The Anthracite Cafe now has a website:

http://www.anthracitecafe.net/index.htm
mr chips
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2008/12/16 09:00:10
Missed tis thread earlier. Thanks for sharing a place from your neck of the woods.
joerogo
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/05 23:16:00
Mosca,   We tried The Anthracite tonight.  It started out very bad.
 
Do you have a beer menu(160  beers available)?  No
Clams?  No
Portabella burger?  No
Fresh vegetable?  Canned corn
 
I guess they are changing the menu and discontinuing certain items.  But we hung in there and had a great meal.  Our server, Kathleen, was very nice.
 
The chili was excellent, thick and meaty.  Also, very good french onion soup.  But the winner was the burgers.  Fresh, hand formed, half-pound patties.  I would say it's the best burger in our area.
 
Thanks for info!
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/06 01:10:10
Wow, sad to see the beer menu go! We haven't been there for a couple months. I know times are tough for them, their clientele is the people who are hit hardest by the recession. I used to get lunch there, but they aren't open for lunch any more. And the Texas Hawg Wings have been gone for about 6 months.

Yeah, the burgers kick butt, do they not! Always a great choice there. And if you return, try the pretzel chicken; my mom used to make that, but not as good.
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/06 07:46:01
Weird, their website still lists a load of beer:
http://www.anthracitecafe.net/beerdrink.htm

Pretzel Chicken you say...what's pretzel chicken? I like pretzels..I like chicken...


Pretzel Chicken
Fresh chicken tenderloins rolled in honey mustard sour dough pretzels, fried golden brown and served with honey mustard sauce. $13.99


Wow, I think I'd go there just for that. Got any pictures of it?
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/06 10:00:19
I don't think I have any pictures; but it looks like shake 'n bake chicken with a coarser crust. Actually, I experimented and made it at home, I got pretty close. Whirr a couple or t'ree big honey-mustard sourdough pretzels in a food processor, but not too fine. Set out some bowls with milk, flour, egg, and the pretzel crumbs. Dredge the tenderloins through each and fry in a hot skillet with about 1/4" of peanut oil in it for about a minute on each side to set the coating, then bake in a 325* oven until done, maybe 15 minutes.

Mix up a honey-mustard sauce, try 2 parts Dijon mustard to 1 part honey, a little mayo and a little lemon juice, I like mine on the mustard side. Or use a good commercial sauce.
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/06 10:23:07
That sounds delicious. I love the Snyder's Honey Mustard Pretzel Bits...I bet that would work nicely
joerogo
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/06 11:25:19
Mosca & EatingTheRoad, The sign out front says "160 Beers Available", but they didn't have a menu showing them.  Not even a breakdown of what was available on draft.  Our waitress tried to rattle off some of the choices, we ended up with Coors Light and Yuengling
 
 
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/06 11:35:12
She must have been new then; there is an extensive beer menu, I've held it in my hand many times. Heavy on the Stone's, Rogue, Bell's, Dogfish Head, Victory, etc. The usual suspects, all in your favorite place.
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/06 11:43:15
joerogo

Mosca,   We tried The Anthracite tonight.  It started out very bad.
 
Do you have a beer menu(160  beers available)?  No
Clams?  No
Portabella burger?  No
Fresh vegetable?  Canned corn


Maybe that's just s.o.p. when they get someone that they don't want as a repeat customer...

Brad
joerogo
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/06 17:19:37
Brad_Olson

joerogo

Mosca,   We tried The Anthracite tonight.  It started out very bad.

Do you have a beer menu(160  beers available)?  No
Clams?  No
Portabella burger?  No
Fresh vegetable?  Canned corn


Maybe that's just s.o.p. when they get someone that they don't want as a repeat customer...

Brad


Maybe you are right Brad.  No pickles either.
sk bob
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/07 20:19:09
great report & nice pictures, Mosca.
the only thing that ruins that nice dining room is that TV.
joerogo
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/07 21:16:28
I was back at the Anthracite today.  The house right next door belongs to one of my customers.  Yesterday her home and the Anthracite were robbed.  Sad.
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/07 23:36:44
Joe, Bob, that is at least the second robbery in the last year; the TVs were stolen sometime in the spring.
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/08 08:09:50
Mosca

Joe, Bob, that is at least the second robbery in the last year; the TVs were stolen sometime in the spring.

sk bob
great report & nice pictures, Mosca.
the only thing that ruins that nice dining room is that TV.


Maybe it was sk bob who took 'em...he was just making the dining room more pleasant.


sk bob
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2009/12/09 22:03:13
I ain't sayin nuthin
I got an alibi
Mosca
Filet Mignon
Re:The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2010/03/13 20:52:50
We ate here tonight, first time in a while. There are quite a few menu additions. I was going to order the hot maple garlic chicken ("Sauteed chicken tenderloins in a zippy maple garlic sauce topped with caramelized Bermuda onions"); and then I saw BEEF TENDERLOIN TROEGANOFF!

Alls I had was my cell phone:



"Tips of beef tenderloin, fresh mushrooms & onions in a Troegs Brewery’s Famous Troegenator Doublebock & sour creamed rich gravy over fettucine pasta."

Damn, damn, damn. This was really good. It was awesome.

post edited by Mosca - 2010/03/13 20:56:35
sarah3988
Junior Burger
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2010/04/17 21:56:10
absolutely the worst customer service i have ever seen. as soon as we got in there, it took us about ten minutes to get our menus. when our waitress finally gave us our drinks, she said she would be "right back to take our order". this took about ten minutes just to place the order. the food wasn't all that bad. however, when i asked for a refill on my water, it came back with the most nastiest looking brown bug in my water. i was soo disgusted by this i couldn't even finish my shrimp salad (not to mention the other two people that were dining with me). it took me forever to finally find my waitress, and when i told her, all she said was "wow thats disgusting" and took it back. she brought back another water and just said sorry about that, but it honestly didn't even seem like she was surprised by it or even cared that there was a bug in my drink. any other restaurant, they would have sincerely apologized, maybe even brought the manager out to apologize. i was mostly appalled the unconcerned waitress. i will never go back to that place again. NO NOT GO THERE!!! the menu might seem really good, but the fact that it is a dirty restaurant should make everyone not want to go there. we saw one of the cooks come out from the back, he didn't even have a hairnet on his head. i mean, if there was a BUG in my WATER, imagine what can be found in the food. i regret ever eating there and i will never go back there again. absolutely disgustingggggg.
joerogo
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2011/02/12 21:07:02
My last two visits to the Anthracite were less than spectacular, to say the least.  The place was literally coming apart at the seams.  From what I gathered, the owner had some medical issues....Yadda Yadda Yadda.
 
Well, I saw a review in the local paper and decided to give the place another try.  So, to everyone who was disappointed, especially my buddy Mosca, I say, give the place another try.
 
I was there this evening and the place was jam packed the whole evening.  There was more than enough well trained staff, along with an excellent dining room manager to handle the traffic.  And the food was spot on.
 
I had steamed clams(which are hard to screw up)and they were excellent.  The wings were outstanding as were the burgers.  The fried ice cream dessert received high marks also.
 
Nice to see a local RF joint hanging in there.  
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2011/02/13 09:20:54
sarah3988

absolutely the worst customer service i have ever seen. as soon as we got in there, it took us about ten minutes to get our menus. when our waitress finally gave us our drinks, she said she would be "right back to take our order". this took about ten minutes just to place the order. the food wasn't all that bad. however, when i asked for a refill on my water, it came back with the most nastiest looking brown bug in my water. i was soo disgusted by this i couldn't even finish my shrimp salad (not to mention the other two people that were dining with me). it took me forever to finally find my waitress, and when i told her, all she said was "wow thats disgusting" and took it back. she brought back another water and just said sorry about that, but it honestly didn't even seem like she was surprised by it or even cared that there was a bug in my drink. any other restaurant, they would have sincerely apologized, maybe even brought the manager out to apologize. i was mostly appalled the unconcerned waitress. i will never go back to that place again. NO NOT GO THERE!!! the menu might seem really good, but the fact that it is a dirty restaurant should make everyone not want to go there. we saw one of the cooks come out from the back, he didn't even have a hairnet on his head. i mean, if there was a BUG in my WATER, imagine what can be found in the food. i regret ever eating there and i will never go back there again. absolutely disgustingggggg.

OMG!  A cook without a hairnet?  Ewwwwe!!!
Mosca
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2011/02/13 13:16:08
Don, I hadn't responded to defend The Anthracite against Sarah's post because we felt the same way; the service had gone downhill, the menu had changed. It's good to see per Joe, whose judgement I trust, that it is back on track. I'd read the same review and was skeptical, but now we'll give it another try.
joerogo
Filet Mignon
RE: The Anthracite Cafe, Wilkes-Barre PA (Off I-81) 2011/02/13 15:53:27
Yeah, I think sarah3988 just threw that in because she was on a roll.  But basically, her rant also describes my two previous visits to the Anthracite.
 
On this visit, as soon as we walked in the door we were greeted and brought to our table by the dining room manager.  The first question I asked was "is the place under new ownership?".  Same owner, new sense of commitment.
 
One thing though.  No beer menu yet.  They are still working on it(2 years)
post edited by joerogo - 2011/02/13 15:54:29