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Papertown

Location: 267 N. Main St., Spring Grove

Cuisine: American

Jess' pick: Hot beef sandwich with mashed potatoes, $6.25

Parking: Lot

Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and Saturdays, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays

Price range: $1.30, side of cabbage slaw or applesauce; $12, seafood combination platter

Alcohol: No

Smoking: No

Accepts: Cash only

Takeout: Yes

Kid's menu: Yes

Details: Call 717-225-1542

If you're in the mood for an inexpensive family meal, head to Papertown Dairy Bar and Restaurant.

The eatery is appropriately named for its residence in Spring Grove, also the home of Glatfelter paper company.

Owner Jim Senft said it started as a dairy bar in the 1950s. The restaurant was added in the 1960s, and his family took it over in the '70s.

Upon entering the glass doors, signs warn customers cash only is accepted, but there is an ATM inside. (And with the Papertown's prices, you won't need a lot of cash.)

I seated myself at one of the many booths available, though several were full and more customers continued to arrive during a recent Wednesday lunch hour.

Some customers chatted with each other; others read the newspaper.

Natural light filtered in from the many windows around the restaurant, making it feel bright and cheerful.

As the waitress asked for my drink, she also prompted me to look at the daily specials board mounted high on a wall.

That day's special was the ham and green beans with applesauce for $6.25, but I could also see what was planned for the next few days, ranging from chicken pot pie to salmon cakes.

The soups of the day were Maryland crab, chicken rice and hamburger minestrone; deli sandwiches ranged from corned beef and swiss ($4.95) to egg and olive salad ($3), all served with chips and a pickle.

That's not even touching the everyday menu, kept at the table.

Platters, which come with two vegetables, rolls and butter, range from hamburg steak served with gravy ($7.50) to a seafood combination ($12).

It only gets cheaper from there.

A bacon burger with Swiss and mushrooms is $3.15; hot dog, $1.40; cheese pizza slice, $1.75.

I picked the hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes for $6.25. The dish arrived just a few minutes after I ordered.

A hearty scoop of potatoes sat on one side of the plate, with roast beef slices between two pieces of white bread, covered in gravy, on the other side.

When the waitress checked in, I requested a small chocolate milkshake to go ($2.70), which arrived quickly with my check.

Customers pay near the front of the restaurant, where you can also pick up takeout or order ice cream. If you don't even want to come into the eatery, a front window outside lets patrons order ice cream and takeout there, too.

You'll find similar good deals at the dairy bar -- most sundaes are between $3 and $3.30 – and what doesn't sound delicious about a smores sundae?

Soft serve and hand-dipped (Green's brand) ice cream is available, plus about 25 flavors of Italian ice.

But if you want dessert and ice cream isn't your thing, look again to the daily specials white board, where pies and cakes are listed, too.

The always-revolving board keeps the menu as fresh as Papertown's sunlit interior, while the prices remain low.

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