The Rail Trail Café in New Freedom offers up different flavored espressos.
The Rail Trail Café in New Freedom offers up different flavored espressos. (FLIPSIDE - JASON PLOTKIN)
John Lanehart had his eye on the New Freedom Train Station for about seven years.

The first time he was there, he ate a Belgian waffle in the Railroad Café. He liked the way the

sunlight streamed through the farmhouse-style windows and onto the hardwood floors and walls.

Lanehart - a bass player with 12 years of experience in food service - thought he'd one day like to have his own café in the station. So he asked the former tenant of the building to let him know if he were to close.

In December, Lanehart opened the Rail Trail Café in the train station. He chose a café so he could continue to play music at night with A.D. Chandler and HogMaw.

Because the building is historic, he said, he can't use gas appliances. He uses a two-burner range, a convection oven and a griddle to

prepare food.

"That eliminates so many options," he said.

The café has a small menu - including wraps for breakfast and lunch, soups and some baked goods - as well as coffee and an espresso bar.

Some of its most popular items include the Mule Skinner: eggs, breakfast potatoes, cheese, and bacon, ham or sausage in a grilled wrap; the Pedal Pusher: a wrap made with egg whites, spinach, black beans and Swiss cheese; and the Wooter: a wrap filled with chicken salad, lettuce and tomatoes.

Lanehart said a lot of runners order the Air Money, a wrap layered with peanut butter, jelly, apple, banana and granola.

He said he wants to focus on building the coffee and espresso side of the business, rather than the food. Ship to Shore Coffee in New Freedom roasts the café's beans and created a unique coffee - the Hobo blend, a medium roast made with arabica beans.

Lanehart plans to incorporate music into the café by hosting music nights for the community and having solo artists perform.

He said he's looking forward to the spring, when activity bustles on the rail trail, one of the county's most beautiful attributes.

"There's no real culture that's fitness centered other than the river," Lanehart said.

He lives in a house along the rail trail in New Freedom and said it's almost always busy with families riding bikes, and people running and walking their dogs. He said it's a great place to own a business.

"It's Mayberry," Lanehart said.


Rail Trail Café

LOCATION: 117 N. Front St., New Freedom

CUISINE: Breakfast, lunch, coffee

LEIGH'S PICK: Vegetarian minestrone soup, small salted caramel latte, peanut butter cookie ($9.06)

PARKING: Yes

HOURS: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday (hours to expand in the spring)

PRICE RANGE: $1 to $5.

John Lanehart, owner of Rail Trail Cafe in New Freedom, prepares eggs for wraps offered at his restaurant.
John Lanehart, owner of Rail Trail Cafe in New Freedom, prepares eggs for wraps offered at his restaurant. (FLIPSIDE - JASON PLOTKIN)
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ALCOHOL: No

SMOKING: No

ACCEPTS: Cash and credit

TAKEOUT: Yes

KID'S MENU: Yes

DETAILS: Call 717-227-0299 or visit www.facebook.com/railtrailcafe