Leah Davies, a waitress at the Apple Bin Grill and Bakery in Biglerville, takes a lunch order from Jane Lindis.
Leah Davies, a waitress at the Apple Bin Grill and Bakery in Biglerville, takes a lunch order from Jane Lindis. (Evening Sun - Eric Drummond)
There's a place in Biglerville to grab lunch where you won't spend a lot of money, the food is great and it is prepared with the tender culinary care of a pro.

Plus, it has the kicked-back, relaxed atmosphere of an old-time diner.

The Apple Bin Grill and Bakery greets you with a homey smell of something good cooking in the kitchen. The country dining room layout is inviting, and it gives you a relaxing distraction from the rest of the day.

The Apple Bin has been owned for the last eight years by Tammy Nieves-Ramos, who has worked in restaurants most of her life. Just sitting in the restaurant as an anonymous diner, hiding a reporter's notebook under the table, I could tell the Apple Bin has a friendly, inviting, folksy charm. The waitresses are ready with a smile, and have natural, witty exchanges with the regulars.

"Our special today is jambalaya," one waitress informed a table of hungry guys.

"Who?" a customer joked about the special that would get you a lot of points on a Scrabble board.

Some of the regulars enjoy their usual fare, and others look forward to a rotating gallery of special dishes each day, Nieves-Ramos said.

There's an underlying apple theme running through the narrative of the menu. Apple sticks were advertised on the blackboard that displays today's specials. Apple fritters are a favorite among the choice of sides. Pretty appropriate for a restaurant in apple country.

I tried the chicken parmesan, which was served topped with sliced parmesan cheese and sprinkled with parsley. Nieves-Ramos's sauce was enjoyable. It's lighter than my family recipe, which has the consistency of molten lava.

What you'll find at the Apple Bin is Nieves-Ramos' own creation. It's light and not overwhelming, but a combination of Italian spices pops through. The thickness comes more from actual chunks of tomato.

The chicken is served grilled, as opposed to breaded and fried as is often found in chicken parmesan. It's a healthier alternative, and a taste that surprises you. The whole thing is served on angel-hair pasta.

I ordered a side of apple fritters, which are apparently a regional thing. If you've never had one, it's like a mini apple pie.

The portions were pretty large, which is always a good thing when you're looking for a new place to go for lunch.

Ticket to Lunch is a weekly column featuring local restaurants' meals available during the lunch hour. Reach Steve Marroni at smarroni@eveningsun.com.

If you go

LOCATION: Apple Bin Grill and Bakery, 674 Arendtsville Road, Biglerville

HOURS: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

OWNER'S PICK: Closed Reuben

PARKING: Lot

ACCEPTS: Visa and Mastercard

TAKE OUT: Yes

DELIVERY: No

DETAILS: 677-4141