Forklift & Palate

Location: Spooky Nook Sports Complex 2913 Spooky Nook Road, Manheim

Cuisine: American

Steve's pick: Potato ravioli appetizer with any of the sandwiches

Parking: Lot

Hours: Breakfast 6 to 10:30 a.m.; lunch and dinner 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Bar is open 3 p.m. to midnight weekdays, 11 a.m. to midnight weekends.

Price range: $5 appetizers; $28 bone-in Delmonico steak

Alcohol: Yes, full bar

Accepts: Cash and credit

Takeout: Yes

Kid's menu: No

Details: Call 717-537-6205, visit

Read more On The Menu columns here.

It's hard to envision a nice restaurant sitting inside the massive indoor sports complex that is Spooky Nook in neighboring Lancaster County.

However, right across the hall from a 130-room hotel named the Warehouse Hotel, inside the more than 1 million square foot complex, is Forklift & Palate.

The restaurant, along with the hotel and Spooky Nook Sports are located in a repurposed industrial warehouse, all of which share a common theme of recycled and reused materials throughout the facility.

Keeping an environmentally friendly, local flavor is important for Forklift & Palate.

"About every three months, we do a change in the menu and it does highlight the seasonal ingredients that are in the county," said Bob Rothfus, food and beverage manager for the entire property.

Not only does the place use produce from nearby fields, but meats, from the rosemary marinated pork chop to the Lancaster beef tenderloin, or bone-in Delmonico steak are also raised locally.

Rothfus said that using local produce and PA-preferred meats help sustain the local farms, while offering a unique and enjoyable product.

The fall menu came out on Sept. 4, with appetizers, sandwiches and full meals being a part of the combined lunch-dinner menu.

There is also a breakfast menu, that includes buffet's on the weekends, a full bar menu, as well as dessert selections.

While it would be easy to find a larger menu, there is something to suit most every taste at the Forklift & Palate.

"It's good to not have a menu that's too big, you sacrifice quality," said Rothfus. "We want to offer things that aren't normal. It's a good thing to have balance with seafood and meat options. We try to do a little of both. We customize any meals."

There for lunch, I opted for a crab croissant, a very good choice, combining crab, fried fennel and tarragon pesto. Although if I was there at dinner, the Delmonico or Atlantic salmon would've likely caught my eye. Rothfus said that steak has been getting rave reviews.

We sampled an outstanding potato ravioli appetizer, which was a fresh pierogi made to perfection with caramelized onions.

Nook director of baseball operations Troy Steffy, who provided a tour of the massive structure, ordered his regular chickpea and tahini hummus appetizer, which I had to sample. It was outstanding. Facility communications and public relations director Alyssa Matangos, ordered the charred chicken sandwich, which looked really good. She said it was delicious.

One this was certain, the portions were large, especially the delicious French fries that come with the sandwiches. We were able to get a tangy homemade catsup, although that is a seasonal item.

Again, being there at lunch, we skipped dessert, although there are some nice options, including a local handmade ice cream and a pumpkin custard, keeping with the seasonal and farming theme.

Rothfus is not only in charge of food at the Forklift & Palate, but he also is responsible for the food court, which includes a smoothie bar, a sandwich and snacks counter, which gets busy when tournaments come to town.

What quantities of particular foods that are brought in varies, based on the event happening inside the facility.

"We plan on the type of tournament and who is coming through. The clientele ranges," Rothfus said. "Here we kind of stay true to what we do because there are so many aspects of food service in the building.

"Anything from smoothie bar, a deli sandwich, to chicken tenders to a filet mignon. It's not the same in every area, but you are getting quality throughout the establishment."

Related : Have some fun at Lancaster County's Spooky Nook

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