Cheap Eats: York Street Treat serves ice cream from morning until night, plus burgers and crab cakes
If you've ever wanted a banana split at 6:30 a.m., you can find one at York Street Treat in Penn Township.
It's not a common occurrence, said Michael Bair, president of the company. But it is possible.
What's more likely is that at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday, you'll stand behind eight people for a frozen treat.
And what some customers might not know is that York Street serves more than ice cream. A kitchen staff in the back starts each day by making breakfast sandwiches — the real reason why York Street opens so early. An egg sandwich costs $1.55.
The grill and fryers stay hot throughout the day serving sandwiches, subs, soups and more, all ordered from a window on the building's side. You can also order baskets — including shrimp or chicken tenders — complete with fries and your choice of coleslaw, applesauce or macaroni salad. Or pieces of honey-dipped chicken, which Bair described as deep-fried chicken with a sweet breading.
Bair said the Treat Burger is one of the most popular items on the menu. For $3.85, it's a double burger with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, fried onions and cheese. But if that doesn't suit your fancy, there are 28 other sandwiches to choose from — and about 30 subs.
I tried the crab cake sandwich for $4.35 and topped it with lettuce (20 cents), tomato (20 cents) and tartar sauce. Then I splurged on the macaroni and cheese wedges for an extra $3.50. The crab cake arrived on a fresh kaiser roll, and the macaroni and cheese wedges — in all their fried goodness — were in a basket.
Tip: York Street Treat only accepts cash. After placing an order at the kitchen, the cashier hands you a slip of paper with your number. As you wait for your number to be called, you could 1) sit on a picnic table behind the restaurant, 2) sit in your car, or 3) head to the front of the restaurant and order ice cream.
I chose option No. 3, and my number was called over the loudspeaker just as I got my thick and creamy chocolate milkshake in hand.
York Street offers only soft-serve ice cream. You can always find chocolate and vanilla, but raspberry season returned last month. And judging by the number of raspberry cones I saw young and old patrons holding, there's a clear flavor winner, which Bair confirmed. He said the raspberry is made on premises by using vanilla ice cream as the base, and it'll stay through November.
Although three ice cream flavors might sound limiting, they're not when you're choosing between sundaes, milkshakes, dipped cones and flurries.
It's kind of fitting York Street Treat sells soft-serve: Bair said the building started as a Dairy Queen sometime around the 1940s. It was Farley's Drive-In before Bair's parents purchased it in 1985. They ran it until they incorporated the business in 2005, making Bair president.
"I've been here like forever," Bair said, remembering growing up with the business and helping as a kid.
Over the years, the building has been spruced up, a Facebook page has been created. But Bair said the Treat Burger remains a menu staple.
Email Jess at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter @JessKrout.
York Street Treat
Location: 881 York St., Penn Township
Jess's pick: Crab cake sandwich with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce, $4.35; macaroni and cheese wedges, $3.50; small chocolate milkshake, $3.20
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays; kitchen closes at 9:30 nightly
Price range: 90 cents for a small applesauce, coleslaw or macaroni salad to $14.45 for 12-piece honey-dipped chicken
Smoking: Yes, on parking lot
Accepts: Cash only
Kid's menu: No
Details: Find York Street Treat on Facebook or call 717-637-4165