Ranch House Restaurant

I’ve driven passed it for many years but have never stopped there. This year, I happened to be passing by around dinner time so I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did as I quickly found out that the Ranch House Restaurant is the best family style diner on Route 15!

The Ranch House Restaurant seems to be a local institution in Perry County, located on Route 15 in Duncannon, Pennsylvania just north of the intersection with Route 22. It’s about 15 miles west of Harrisburg.

The restaurant was started in 1949 by William and Ida Deiter. At some point, their daughter Verna and her husband Tom Step took over the restaurant. The two retired in 1986 and their 3 children — Darleen, Linda, and Tom — continued the tradition. In 2020 they handed off the restaurant to a long term employee named Todd, presumable using the same recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.

The Ranch House has a fairly extensive menu, containing appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, steak & seafood, and pasta, among other dishes. Appetizers include crab dip, corn fritters, and onion rings. Sandwich options include a Club, deli meats such as roast beef or turkey, tuna melts, Ruebens, and Cheesesteaks. Seafood entrees include their “Signature Homemade Crabcakes”, scallops, and haddock – fired or grilled. The pasta is either spaghetti with marinara or Alfredo .

There were some winter specials the day I was there and I decided to have one of those, the Italian meatloaf. I was amazed, as this turned out to be the best meatloaf I have ever had. It consisted of two thick slices of that were swimming in a marinara sauce, along with some peppers on sauce. It was the sauce that made the dish, being spiced quite heavily with Italian spices. Highly recommended!

Italian Meatloaf and sides

All entrees are served with two sides. I chose Mac & Cheese and one of the vegetables of the day, broccoli in a garlic butter sauce.

Broccoli with garlic butter

Both were very good. The mac & cheese is baked and homemade. It contains plenty of cheese, but mild tasting and not too heavy. The broccoli was cooked a little more than I would like, still has some texture. The butter garlic sauce went well with it. It has a strong garlic taste, which I very much liked.

The Ranch House Restaurant also has a good selection of desserts. You notice this as soon as you come in as the display case is front and center. In it are displayed an assortment of pies, muffins, cinnamon rolls, and apple dumplings. Not in the case but available for dessert are cookies or ice cream.

Apple Dumpling

I knew right away what I wanted: an apple dumpling. I have have only found them in Pennsylvania Dutch country and did not want to pass up the opportunity. For a small surcharge, ice cream can be added. I went that route, chosing butter pecan. The apple dumpling was enormous. Big enough for two people, but I was able to finish it. The filling was lightly seasoned, which is what I expect of dumplings. The butter pecan ice cream provided additional flavor, complementing the dumplings very well.

Ranch House Restaurant is a nice, relaxing restaurant to dine in. I was seated immediately. The waitress took my drink order right way, but gave me time to go over the menu. She was also very helpful in providing to go boxes for the portions of the meal I saved for later. It was all around a great dining experience. I plan to make The Ranch House a regular stop on Route 15.

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