It’s not just a sub shop anymore…
Just in time for football season, I managed to find the hottest new sports bar in the county.
I first stopped into The Sandwich Factory Sports Lounge in Neffsville on a Friday at happy hour to get a glimpse of the crowd, which has been raving about the bar on the internet.
The happy hour crowd is a mix of people. I saddled up next to a couple of middle-aged guys finishing off a late lunch/early dinner, and several minutes later two 20-something ladies occupied the seats on my other side. With an ample dining area, the seats in the restaurant filled quickly with couples out on dates, families with children and groups out to just get a good buzz.
After introducing herself while whipping around the busy bar, the bartender, Concetta, offered me a menu and a beer. Smiling and busy, she quickly poured me a Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter – a perfect beer for the fall season. Beer in hand, I took a look around.
The 80-seat restaurant has a clean, industrial décor; it’s built to resemble a factory with touches of polished metal and worn brick. A new pool table, a state-of-the-art juke box and a Golden Tee game sit between the bar and the entrance to what was the original space of the Sandwich Factory II.
There are more than a dozen televisions at The Factory, so every seat has a view; two racks of giant TVs hang back-to-back down the center of the room. The bar top is custom made and built to resemble a conveyor belt; it might be tough to clean, but it looks cool.
The open layout of the restaurant and bar area features a back corner with oversized leather chairs for just kicking back. The space housing the former deli still exists, with its own separate entrance and is connected to the bar area by a sliding door. That space has also been renovated and now features a large cooler for take-out 6-packs.
Co-owner Eric Perrone, whom I talked with after my initial visit, made sure to let me know The Factory is all one brand-new restaurant. The Lititz Pike location opened in 2006. After eight years of success, Perrone wanted to seize the opportunity when the space next to his sandwich shop was vacated.
“We had this prime property, and Neffsville didn’t really have a bar, so we made the move to do that,” says Perrone. “We are a local business with local owners. We’re not a chain or a franchise. We’re just your local bar.”
The Factory still offers a wide variety of club sandwiches, hoagies, burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches. And while they are still known for their steak sandwiches, Perrone added a new wood stone pizza oven to create signature Factory Pizzas.
Back at the bar, I witnessed one of those pizzas come out to a table. It looked crisp and delicious, but before I got too hungry I ordered another beer. Having some time to scan the selection of drafts, I was impressed by the offerings. It seems The Factory has something for every taste.
“We wanted to offer a 50/50 selection. The beer market has such a variety,” says Perrone, describing his draft lineup, which has everything from mass-produced domestic brews to craft beers and cider. The bar also offers more than 30 bottled beers.
It’s a local crowd gathering at The Factory. Being Friday, folks chattered at the bar about Manheim Township and Penn State football games. But Sunday – and even Monday night – the NFL rules The Factory. The Factory features DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket, so every game is available. Tuesdays at The Factory feature four tacos for $5 and $5 margaritas from 4-6 p.m., with trivia starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday is Factory Mojito night; the spin on this classic mojito uses Rumchata and a few other secret ingredients Perrone decided not to share. On Thursday, Miller pounders are $2, and every other Friday karaoke starts at 9 p.m. Happy hour is every day from 4-6 p.m. and features $2 off common drafts, $1 off craft brews and well drinks.
As I finished up my conversation with Perrone, he had to mention a shot that was growing popular at the bar – The Lumberjack. First created by Harrisburg bartender Doug Hodges, bartender Pete at The Factory makes a variation of Yukon Jack, butterscotch schnapps and Bailey’s Irish Cream … garnished with a slice of bacon!
Now, there’s another reason to go back and visit The Factory.
• 2520 Lititz Pike, Lancaster; 581-8180
• Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-12 a.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-2 a.m