The York Dispatch restaurant reviewers Betty and Hanna swung south to visit the Mason Dixon Family Restaurant, 3 Old Farm Lane, Shrewsbury (717-235-6471 or www.facebook.com/MasonDixonFamilyRestaurant).
Betty: I can sum up this review in two words: won't return.
Eating here is like taking a ride in Doc Brown's DeLorean, only instead of landing in 1955, you land squarely in 1985. From the wallpaper to the laminate floor used as wainscoting, this place is dated. When one of our dining companions ordered coffee, I thought the waitress would ask if Sanka was OK.
We were joined by super-secret reviewers A, C and M as well as Hanna's boyfriend, Peter. All three super-secret reviewers ordered off the children's menu and were presented with standard children's fare. A's chicken tenders were bland, and C's tiny pizza was floppy and undercooked. The burger looked promising, but M reports it was dry and bland.
I ordered Mr. George's burger, a patty with onion rings, cheese and barbecue sauce, cooked medium. It arrived well done and, unfortunately, not hot. It looked appealing but was difficult to chew. I left half of it on the plate — and I am not a girl who walks away from a good burger. I also had a side of steak fries. They looked awesome, and Hanna, who also had them, reports her fries were great. Mine, however, were not fully cooked and the inside wasn't soft. The fries, too, were left on the plate.
On the bright side, leaving all that food meant I had plenty of room for dessert. I ordered the chocolate cake, A ordered cheesecake and C had a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake looked delicious. I even took a photo to make Mr. Betty, who couldn't be there with us, jealous. The joke was on me though; the cake was hard and dry. I tried A's cheesecake, but that had a sour taste and an odd, un-cheesecake-like texture.
Who would have thought a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be the highlight of our meal?
Verdict: Go for the ice cream.
Hanna: Betty got to the restaurant first. She sent me a text, "Holy wallpaper, Batman!" I laughed and thought — diners are not supposed to be fancy!
I love diner food. It should be hearty, flavorful and a little greasy. There is an art to making good diner food, and unfortunately I didn't find that here.
I ordered the turkey and Swiss panini. The bread was crispy, but the bacon was chewy and it had a weird flavor I couldn't identify. The potato fries were cooked properly and I liked them.
None of the desserts are made in-house; they are purchased from a bakery in Baltimore. I ordered the Atomic Bomb cake, which featured chocolate cake, cheesecake, strawberries and white icing. I'm not a fan. I ate about half, only because I'm not a quitter.
They do have Diet Pepsi, and the restaurant was extremely clean, from the corners on the floors to the vents in the ceiling.
Our waitress did a great job keeping our drinks filled and dealing with a table of three kids, two adults and one Hanna.
Peter had the broccoli cheddar soup, which he liked. He also had the chicken with waffles with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. He proceeded to put the mashed potatoes on top of the chicken and waffles. Yes, he really did that. Yes, he really ate it that way.
I feel like I shouldn't use his assessment of his meal because of how he butchered it, but to summarize his opinion: in a pinch, this food would keep you alive.
Verdict: If you are starving and must eat, go here.
— Hanna and Betty are the alter egos of two York County professionals who love dining out. Want to recommend a restaurant for review? Email food editor Mel Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestion.