Dining in Hershey: A Chocolate Bonanza

Chocolate cake, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Hershey’s Kisses chocolate martinis, chocolate raspberry pancakes and even cocoa chili shrimp — there is no shortage of chocolate on the menus at Hershey resorts and there are no shortage of dining options either. There are six dining options at both the Hotel Hershey and the Hershey Lodge, so you can eat every meal at the convenience of your hotel if you so choose. The only shortage you might encounter will be room in your belly for all the sweet concoctions. 

Since we were staying at the Hershey Lodge during our recent visit, that is where we concentrated our eating. Our first stop after checking in on a busy Sunday evening between Christmas and New Year’s was The Forebay, one of the resort’s finer dining establishments. Luckily we made reservations ahead online, because the resort was packed.

The Forebay

Described as offering “regionally inspired comfort food,” The Forebay had the wood panelled, leather chaired, clubby look of a steakhouse or rustically elegant lodge. Upstairs from the lobby, the restaurant overlooks the front entrance to the hotel and features lofty ceilings with dark, wooden beams and comfortable, padded booths and chairs. The restaurant was not as large as I expected, but still had a moderate noise level given the large number of families visiting at the time. Since we had a booth, the atmosphere was still enjoyable and not too loud that we couldn’t enjoy a peaceful moment and conversation after our drive from Philadelphia.

I’d been looking forward to trying one of their many varieties of chocolate martinis but I was exhausted and just not in the mood for a sweet drink or alcohol of any kind but I knew I had to get something with chocolate. I opted for the Cocoa Chili Shrimp with torched poblano and sweet corn grits, cilantro, and chorizo stewed tomatoes. It was delicious! The shrimp were grilled perfectly and the grits and tomatoes had just the right amount of heat for my palette. I can’t say I really tasted the cocoa — but that is fine, I made sure to get my chocolate fix for dessert.

My husband and daughter both tried the smoked baby back ribs with handcut fries and celeriac-apple slaw. I was very impressed with the kids menu at The Forebay as I’m always happy to see menu options that include “real food” and not just chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese. They offer these typical options but also have entrees including a petite filet, ribs, grilled chicken breast, seared fish and grilled shrimp. The prices aren’t kid sized so be prepared to shell out if you eat here with the family. My daughter insisted she was too hungry to order off the kid’s menu — at 10 1/2 she is on the cusp depending on the restaurant and her appetite whether or not the kid’s menu is enough for her. Apparently the kid’s rack of ribs only comes with four ribs so she wanted to get the adult portion. It was huge and she would have been satisfied with four ribs but since she had insisted on ordering the more expensive, larger portion, I insisted she eat at least five to make it worthwhile (she did…and still had room for a bit of dessert.)

For dessert we all shared the molten chocolate cake. I think we are all of the same mind that you can always find a little room for dessert! What we couldn’t fit were the handful of Hershey Kisses that came with the check, so those were added to our growing collection for another time (including some yummy caramel filled kisses!) If you want a nice meal without leaving the hotel, and you are willing to pay, The Forebay was better than I expected for a family resort hotel restaurant and the service was great.

Dining in Hershey PA -- The Forebay at the Hershey Lodge

Lebbie Lebkichers

Named after Milton S. Hershey’s life-long friend (because why else would you choose this name?), Lebbie Lebkichers is where to go for breakfast if you want to stay in the hotel. If you’d like to venture into town, some say the Hershey Pantry has the best breakfast in town but we didn’t have a chance to check it out. The thing about this being the place to go means that you can also expect lines because they don’t take reservations. Their pancakes are worth the wait but alternatively, you could pick up something next door at the Cocoa Beanery.

We visited during prime holiday season so the place was packed at 9:30 am. Even still we only waited 10 minutes for a table and were then given the option of ordering off the menu or going to the buffet. It took a while to get our orders and the service and atmosphere reminded me a bit of a very large, very crowded and loud Friendly’s — with many large tables of 10 or more with extended families and tons of kids. My daughter kept it simple with the chocolate chip pancakes while I went all out with the chocolate raspberry pancakes. These pancakes were so large, dense, and thick it was a bit like eating chocolate cake drizzled with raspberry sauce and topped with nearly melted chocolate chips. Oddly enough, they serve the pancakes with a small muffin on the side (just in case you didn’t get enough carbs!) I’m not sure I even finished half and could barely move when we left but they were so, so good.

We had plans to have lunch at either Home 231 or MoMo’s BBQ in Harrisburg after visiting the National Civil War Museum, but after that breakfast, we ended up skipping lunch entirely and not eating again until we got some soup in a bread bowl while warming up in Hersheypark that evening.

Dining in Hershey -- Lebbie Lebkichers in the Hershey Lodge

The Hershey Grill

The Hershey Grill is on the property of the Hershey Lodge, but adjacent to the convention center, so you actually need to walk through the conference area and outside to reach it. Also smaller than I expected, this dining option is sleeker and more modern than the other options. We went for brunch and even on a Tuesday, the restaurant was hopping. We opted to sit at the counter so we could eat faster and get on our way to the Whitaker Science Center in Harrisburg. This time, I went for savory over sweet with the Crispy Crab Benedict with poached eggs, tomato caper relish and chive hollandaise. It was as delicious as it looks and filled me up again until dinner. (Okay, I may have snuck a couple of Hershey Kisses in the afternoon.)

Dining in Hershey PA -- Brunch at the Hershey Grill

The Hershey Lodge also offers a casual bakery-cafe with the Cocoa Beanery, as well as a hockey themed family-restaurant and sports bar, The Bear’s Den. The Bear’s Den, named after the local minor league hockey team, the Hershey Bears, is the largest of all the restaurants. It features classic American options in a fun atmosphere with 28 HD TVs, and an enormous 7′ x 12′ HD video wall tuned in to all the sports action.

Dining in Hershey PA -- The Bear's Den sports bar

Other options in the area include Troegs Brewery in Hershey and Bricco in Harrisburg. For more ideas and insights into the area, check out the UncoveringPA.com blog (thanks Jim for your restaurant suggestions!)

Note: Our stay at the Hershey Lodge was hosted by the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau and we were provided gift cards toward some of our meals in Hershey. 

Do you have a favorite place to eat in Hershey or Harrisburg?

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10 Comments on “Dining in Hershey: A Chocolate Bonanza

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  1. I haven’t been to Hershey in years and it wasn’t with kids, but I would LOVE to get back there with them in tow the next time.

    I got close to Hershey in 1995, but never made it there. Wish I had. That Crab Benedict is pretty divine. I don’t think I could ever make an egg do that!

    the food sounds really interesting! i feel like i would have ordered the cocoa chili shrimp too. 🙂 and def the molten chocolate cake!

    Tamara I am ready for lunch! I can’t recall where we ate on a 2 day stay with my fam in Hershey some 30 years ago. I do recall the ever present smell of chocolate wafting in the air around the park. I loved it. So much so that I became a life long Hershey’s Kisses fan after our stay. Not that I wasn’t a chocolate fan before 😉 I just became a more of a….chocolate zealot!

    Thanks so much for the fun share Tamara. Keep on inspiring!

    Ryan

      Thanks Ryan! That smell was hunger inducing!

    Well, you had me at chocolate but then … those ribs! Can you see me drooling from here?!

    Seems to me eating would be the best part of visiting Hershey’s! I love chocolate chip pancakes. There is a lot of crab benedict around here during crab season – it is delicious!

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