As a little girl, I loved the fable of the town mouse and the country mouse. I was, and remain, a country mouse from rural Pennsylvania, but I loved to visit all those town mice living in distant cities. What excitement there was to be had: museums, stores, restaurants, attractions, music, variety! How curious it was to me that, every summer, families from my little town hosted New York City children through a program that provided those town mice with what was intended to be an unforgettable week in the country, complete with fresh air, county fairs, picnics, sandlot baseball games, hiking, and wildlife fun. Human nature being what it is, I longed for what country life seemed to lack, while those kids looked forward to seeing sights the city could not provide.
In adulthood, I realized that happiness is not tied to geography, and that living in a small town doesn’t make one a small person. Admittedly, we country mice might not find a bistro or boutique on every corner–if that’s what one desires–but there are little treasures in unexpected places. Yesterday, I had lunch at Six Yellow Chairs, a cafe and gift shop located in the unlikely town of Lanse, Pennsylvania. The owners and operators are local young people with the desire to do something special right here at home–and what they’ve done is special indeed!
In Pennsylvania, the first day of spring might be sunshiny bright or gray as granite. And since the weather served up a colorless March 20, we decided a treat was in order. Six Yellow Chairs is situated in a renovated home/ business front; the look is quaint, and the parking is convenient.
Once inside, the inspiration for such a unique name becomes apparent. The focal point of the main dining area, which seats up to 30, is a large, vintage table flanked by six ornate, bright yellow chairs.
Surrounding this table are several smaller tables, each with its own set of chairs, and draped with crisp, white linens. The decor is friendly, artsy, and interesting, with colorful pieces that pop against white walls. Six Yellow Chairs is clearly a labor of love, and there are surprising touches to be seen everywhere.
There is no printed menu at Six Yellow Chairs; diners will find the day’s selections written on the chalkboard. Chef offers two soups, two salads, two entrees, and two desserts at a time, and changes the menu regularly. I’d suggest calling ahead to hear what’s being served up on a particular day unless, of course, you’d rather be surprised when you get there–which would be fun, too!
With St. Patrick’s Day so recently passed, Chef was preparing corned beef with buttered cabbage on garlic mashed potatoes–yummy! But I chose the second entree: sweet potato ravioli with roasted mushrooms and bacon. The meal was generously portioned, served quickly, and beautifully
presented in substantial white dinnerware with utensils that felt heavy–not flimsy or cheap. It’s amazing how having the food plated this way adds value and atmosphere–not to mention a perfect display for the for the chef’s fine and colorful meals.
Although the portions were satisfying, my friend and I saved room for dessert. On the menu was a blueberry tart and fresh apple pie with homemade maple ice cream. It was the tart that
called out to me, a treat which tasted every bit as good as it looked. The tart shell was tender, the blueberries vibrant, and the dollop of whipped cream with mint leaves made a perfect garnish.
After lunch, we climbed the staircase (delightfully papered with vintage sheet music) to visit the gift room, filled with an ever-changing collection of unique items provided by local artisans. The gifts are cleverly displayed, and needless to say, different from what might be expected in more traditional small town shops.
Six Yellow Chairs also offers custom floral arrangements, designed and made on the premises by the owners. Yes, the establishment truly is a labor of love—a business, to be sure, but more: Six Yellow Chairs is a place for those who love creativity, craftwork, aesthetics, little surprises, and a town mouse experience in a country mouse setting.
Six Yellow Chairs Cafe/Florist/Gift Room is located at 30 Knox Run Road, Lanse, Pennsylvania. It is currently open most days from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, with plans to expand the menu to include dinners. Special occasions at Six Yellow Chairs can be arranged with help from the owners. Note: Six Yellow Chairs depends upon word-of-mouth advertising, so visit the Facebook page and spread the good news!
The best testimony I can give is this: I only visited Six Yellow Chairs two days ago, and I’m already planning a return trip.