Expect good food, service at Glen Rock Mill Inn
Manager Alyssa Quinteros, 28, remembers eating at the Glen Rock Mill Inn with her family when she was a teenager.
Sometimes it was open, sometimes it wasn't, she said. They usually called ahead.
"I remember there were times when it was really, really good," Quinteros said. "It would switch hands, and it was not so good. It was not a consistent place."
Her family bought the business about two-and-a-half years ago and tries to keep customers' guesswork to a minimum.
"We still have people who call all the time and say, 'Are you going to be open?'" she said.
I dined at the rustic eatery on a recent Friday afternoon. I sat in the fountain room, one of four dining areas.
Old bottles and photographs of historic Glen Rock line the walls. Pieces of the mill - such as beams, tools, barrels and wheels - stand as a reminder of what the building once was.
Quinteros said most of the antiques accumulated through various owners. When her family bought the inn, they kept the décor the same.
I ordered a small greens salad with homemade herb vinaigrette and a bowl of cioppino, a tomato-base seafood stew.
I rarely taste such fresh produce in salads. It was as if the cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, onions, mushrooms and romaine lettuce were handpicked that morning. The stew was hot and flavorful, filled with shrimp, scallops, clams and fish.
Quinteros said the restaurant buys most of its seafood and produce locally to maintain freshness and support the community. It also serves wines from local wineries, including Naylor Wine Cellars in Stewartstown, Four Springs Winery in Seven Valleys and some from Adams County.
She said buying locally makes a difference in the food, compared with ordering from a major supplier.
Quinteros said customers know what to expect from the kitchen. Her brother and classically-trained chef David Carpin has worked in restaurants and catering for years, and studied food in Ireland.
She said he experiments with different sauces, such as a dill remoulade paired with crab cakes, the most popular menu item.
"He learned a lot of different types of food," Quinteros said. "He's at a point now where he knows what he does well."
She said Carpin changes certain menu items seasonally and tries to accommodate all customers and their many tastes.
Quinteros said her family's main goal in taking over the restaurant was to make it a place where people know exactly what they're getting.
Consistency is important in maintaining a business. Customers choose to revisit a restaurant based on past experiences. With bad food, service or management, it seems like someone just isn't trying.
When a business does try, it shines through a dining experience. When I go back to the Glen Rock Mill Inn, I know what to expect.
If you go
LOCATION: Glen Rock Mill Inn, 50 Water St. in Glen Rock
LEIGH'S PICK: Cioppino ($6) and greens salad with herb vinaigrette ($4)
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday, except for special events and groups of 20 or more
PRICE RANGE: $3 to $24
ACCEPTS: Cash and credit cards
KID'S MENU: Yes
DETAILS: Call 235-5918 or visit www.glenrockmillinn.com