Country Eats & Icy Treats Thriving After Six Months in Business
Since then, the little restaurant has created quite the buzz – locally and with travelers to the area.
“Everyone really enjoys our burgers.” says Ashley Callihan, who runs the day to day operations at Country Eats. “Almost every day, someone goes as far as to say that they are the best burgers that they have ever eaten. This of course is likely not the case, but we have developed a bit of pride in the fact that we are serving one of the best burgers that you will get in the area.”
A quick glance at Country Eats’ menu board shows a good number of interesting burgers, 15 at the moment actually.
“Our most popular burger is just the good old fashioned cheeseburger, but some of our specialty burgers are customer favorites,” Ashley continued. “The most interesting burgers on our menu are probably the Artery Buster and the Barn Burner Burger.
“The Artery Buster is our hand patted burger, with bacon, two cheese sticks, and a pair of grilled cheese sandwiches for the buns. Some of our regular customers order this burger every time they come in. It really is a unique experience and people love it.
“The Barn Burner Burger is our hand-pattied burger, with bacon, two Jalapeno poppers, provolone cheese, and just the right amount of our Barn Burner wing sauce on a homemade bun. The Barn Burner sauce is pretty spicy, but there is a lot of food for it to mix with on this burger so it really isn’t that bad. Actually pretty tasty if you like spicy food.”
Another burger on the menu – the Rail 66 Burger – is one way that the Callihan’s have found to give back to the community, something that the company wants to do more of in the future.
The Rail 66 Country Trail passes Country Eats & Icy Treats on its way through the Northern Clarion County countryside. Country Eats & Icy Treats donates $0.25 from every Rail 66 Burger sold to the Rail 66 Country Trail.
Devin Callihan, who has a history in recreational trail advocacy, spoke of the burger, “We knew when we opened that the Rail 66 Country Trail was going to contribute to our customer base in the future as it expands and grows in popularity. It has actually contributed initially to our business more than we thought, so we are very optimistic about the impact the trail will have on our business going forward. Very optimistic. This past summer, it was a not uncommon sight to see bikes in the parking lot. Really cool and is a perfect fit for us because we have a parking lot that is, to put it nicely, a challenge.
“Anybody that walks or bikes here is one fewer car that has to fit in the parking lot. The trail allowed us to put some signage on the trail to direct customers to our location. Twp hours after I first put the signs up, I was excited to see a large group of a dozen bicycles take the short road ride to our doorstep. We will be sending the proceeds from the sale of Rail 66 burgers to the trail group every January. Hopefully, going forward, the Rail 66 Country Trail and Country Eats & Icy Treats find more ways to work together. I know I would love to see that relationship continue to expand.”
It’s more than burgers at Country Eats & Icy Treats, though.
It turns out that they are becoming known as the best place to get another Pennsylvania favorite … the Philly cheese steak sandwich.
“We will own up to that statement. We offer the best Philly Cheese Steak that you will get in Clarion County. Come in and try one, and there won’t be an argument on the point. It is that simple. You will not get a better deal or meal than a Country Eats Philly.” Ashley said with a smile.
And they have quite the choice in Phillies also. They offer a steak Philly, a ranch steak Philly, a chicken Philly, a ranch chicken Philly, and a chipotle chicken Philly. They also offer steak and chicken Philly wraps.
In addition to the wonderful burgers and Philly cheese steaks, Country Eats offers a wide selection of other sandwiches, wings, salads, and sides. In August, Country Eats began serving breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays and that menu continues to grow.
“We offer a very good value for breakfast. We offer it from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 on Saturdays and Sundays.” Ashley stated.
The Callihans also recently added a full range of Pizza to Country Eats and Icy Treats’ offering.
Ashley tells EYT that “We have known from the time that we opened the doors that we were going to do pizza, so we took our time developing our recipes, so that it is just as good as our other food. We are pretty sure that we have it nailed down now. We are starting out with just regular pizzas to get our feet wet in the market, but have a few ideas for some specialty pizzas down the road.”
One unique aspect to Country Eats’ pizza: they will essentially be offering the customer two separate pizzas.
“Devin and I couldn’t decide on a sauce, so we are offering two”, Ashley said jokingly. “One will be a traditional style sauce (what Devin wanted), and the other will be a sweetened version of that (what Ashley wanted). Ironically, this works well as it gives our customers an option to create completely different pizzas. We are also using a ‘cup and char’ style of pepperoni, which you don’t see on a pizza very often.”
As the name suggests, Country Eats also offers a delicious selection of icy treats.
“We are developing a reputation for having high quality soft serve ice cream which is what we wanted. When you do soft serve ice cream, just like anything else, you get what you pay for. We start with a much higher quality ice cream mix than our local competition, and it shows up in the final product.
“I was never satisfied with the locally available soft serve ice cream, and it turns out that I was far from alone. We have gained a lot of ice cream customers in addition to food customers, and everyone seems to come back again and again. We won’t be messing with our ice cream formula any time soon … we seem to be hitting the mark.”
And, the future…
Devin offered some insight.
“The voice of the customer will direct the future of Country Eats & Icy Treats. That being said, we are thinking very hard about offering delivery. We have received more requests for that than anything else. However, it is much more difficult than it appears on the surface, especially when you are doing business in a rural area like we do. It is expensive for a business because you have to dedicate an employee to just that role. Unfortunately, the only way we can offer it, is if we charge a fee for it.
“Who’s going to pay for delivery? Fifteen years ago, the answer was nobody, and that is why you saw delivery in rural areas vanish. The market has changed, and now the answer is that everyone will pay for delivery if they want the convenience. Look at how services like Uber Eats and Doordash and the like are rising in popularity, that is what delivery is nowadays … a paid service. It is what people want, and we need to figure out how to offer it to our customers without affecting pricing for our dine-in and take out customers.”
“We have a lot of work to do on the property yet, Devin continued. “The booths in our restaurant are from the 1940’s. They are really cool, but in bad shape. We are going to start the process of refurbishing them this winter. We thought about getting rid of them and putting tables and chairs in. It would increase the number of people that we could serve, but we think we’d hurt the atmosphere, so it’s a non-starter.
“We also want to spruce up and reorganize the back of the property. We put a handicap ramp, handicap parking spot, and new gravel on the front of the property this past Spring and Summer, and want to get the back lot looking just as nice. We are going to hopefully gravel the entire area, line out better parking, and put in a few picnic tables and bike racks. Our back parking lot still looks like a ‘bar parking lot’ and hopefully that will change in the Spring/Summer of 2020.”
Take the trip to Lucinda for a meal at Country Eats & Icy Treats. You will not be disappointed, and you will be back.
Call 814-297-7588 to place an order and have it ready and waiting for you.
Country Eats & Icy Treats is located at 28868 PA Route 66, Lucinda, PA 16235.
Like Country Eats & Icy Treats on Facebook, @countryeatsicytreats, to stay up to date with what they are up to.
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