While there are various reasons for the Confederates venturing into the north and the Union maneuvering north to defend Washington, the simple fact is this. To move massive, marching armies you had split them up and move them along congruent roads. Well, in south central Pennsylvania at that time, all roads lead to Gettysburg. So well laid out and positioned it was, 10 roads culminated at or around the town square. The two armies were literally on a collision course that had them slam into each other outside the tiny hamlet of 2,400 in early July, 1863.
The 3 day battle would open to the north east of town. The Union would be pushed back to defensive positions south of town for the second and third days fighting. The main part of the battle and of course battlefield park lay to the south.
The town of Gettysburg today would all but not exist if not for the battle. Virtually every business is there to support the tourist industry. Outside of hotels, banks or gas stations, pretty close to every proprietor sells either souvenirs, food or kitsch.
And speaking of food, that brings me to Hunt’s Café.
A short walk up Steinwehr Ave. from the battlefield sits Hunt’s. Much like many of the businesses along the road it occupies an old house.
One part restaurant and one part souvenir shop Scott Hunt is serving up some of the best eats in the town. Featuring fresh cut fries, great burgers and “The best darn cheesesteaks out side of Philadelphia.”
The interior as you can see is small and cramped. Plastic outdoor furniture outfits the dining room and the smell of beef cooking on a flat top hangs in the air. As does the smell of fries cooking in hot oil. The walls are concealed by head shots of famous guests, hats, posters and just about anything else they sell.
A neat place doesn’t always translate into good food but in this case, Hunt’s delivers the goods. The sign outside advertising fresh squeezed lemon and orange juice was to portend the goodies inside.
The lemon and orange ‘ades were great. So fresh tasting (go figure) and nice to refresh ourselves after a morning in the heat at the battlefield.
The double cheeseburger had a really nice beef taste but was somewhat overcooked and a little too weighed down with condiments. For instance, there’s no need for tomato on two different levels IMHO. I’d give it a passing grade but it could be a lot better. Next time I’ll ask to have it more streamlined and tuned into my tastes. Less tomato, lettuce and I’d ask for it cooked to medium. That will probably kick up its grade a few ticks.
The cheese steak was beyond good. We don’t really have them in TO so I don’t have much to judge it against but this was easily the best I’ve had. We had ours with onions and mushrooms and the beef had a nice peppery taste. It was simply incredible.
The fries were good. Really good in fact but ultimately not a paradigm shifting experience. I don’t know whether my life long exposure to frozen fries has ruined me for fresh cut or I was expecting too much. I just wasn’t blown away. Perhaps there’s only so much you can do with french fries. Perhaps french fries just don’t move me.
All in all a really good place to eat that could still do better I think. I look forward to a return trip.
You can find Hunt’s Battlefield Fries and Café at 61 Steinwehr Ave in Gettysburg, Pa.
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You can find them on the web here or on facebook here.
Well that’s all for now folks. See ya next time in the food court.