Located 9 Yoder Lane, Turbotville PA
Call (570) 437-3976 for prices, menu, and reservations
This is by reservation only - and you must reserve for 10 or more people
(I cannot remember the price, does anyone happen to know?)
Looking for a true amish dining experience in our area? This is probably as close as you will find anywhere, without being invited into a private amish home. "Diner" is a bit of a misnomer, Two sisters diner is a very small restaurant in the basement of an amish home in Turbotville PA.
By Amanda Grossman-Scott
For The Daily Item
Sally and Rebecca Yoder are sisters and friends as well as business partners. They are also Amish. You won't find advertising for them on the web, as it is against their beliefs, but unlike many Amish, the Yoders want your attention. Specifically, they want you to find their out-of-the-way restaurant, Two Sisters Amish Cooking.
Located in Turbotville, the restaurant is off the beaten path. It's a far cry from the highly commercialized establishments one might find in Lancaster, an area which is known for its more visible Amish population.
"We had a call from a tour guide in Lancaster and she was looking for something ... not so commercialized to bring her groups to," said Rebecca Yoder.
Two Sisters is nothing if not authentic, right down to the kerosene lamp lighting and gas-powered stove. One main room with one long table, meals are served family-style just as the Yoder sisters have been serving meals all of their lives.
The Yoders also sell jars of goodies like red beat eggs and pickles, crafts and their very own cookbook, now in its second printing. Also available are cheeses made by the Yoders' niece. In fact, the restaurant has become something of a group effort, with the beef bought from one brother, crafts made by another brother and vegetables home-grown by the sisters themselves when possible.
After the meal, guests enjoy traditional hymns and German songs sung by other family members of the Yoder sisters.
Rebecca Yoder does most of the cooking using all of her own recipes. She learned at her mother's knee. Sally doesn't enjoy cooking as much, but she acts as more of a prep cook and hostess. She also bakes the bread. "Everybody loves Sally's bread," remarked Rebecca.
Sharing their cooking with others has been a dream of the Yoder sisters for years. Neither had children of their own, but both have helped in the raising of 15 nieces and nephews so far, and are accustomed to cooking large quantities of food. The Yoder sisters, who are two of six children in their family, have been house cleaners and contributed to their household in other ways for years, but wanted something of their own.
After their father died a few years ago, Rebecca told Sally she would like to pursue her dream of serving meals to the public.
"I said, 'Go for it!,'" laughed Sally. Two Sisters was born.
By reservation only
Two Sisters requires reservations and those reservations must be for a party of 10 or more. The Yoders book reservations weeks, sometimes months, in advance ... and not just for dinner. Brunch and lunch meals are available as well.
Bring your appetite. A typical meal begins with "chow chow," Sally's specialty that includes carrots and pickles in a tangy juice. There is fresh-baked bread and peanut butter spread. Diners choose two meat dishes from four the Yoders offer. Most often requested is meatloaf with sides of mashed potatoes, homemade noodles or stuffing and salad with warm bacon dressing or veggies and of course, dessert.
"I almost always make at least two kinds of pie," said Rebecca. She also gets requests for traditional Amish treats like shoo fly pie but the most often requested is Lemon Sponge pie.
The Yoders have hosted everything from birthday parties to rehearsal dinners to large family parties in the year they have been operating.
The sisters boast guests from all over the country and they have hosted international guests from Thailand as well as Saudi Arabia, for whom the Yoders had the experience of preparing a kosher meal.
A map pocked with push pins in the dining room lets diners leave their mark at Two Sisters. Both enjoy meeting people from other cultures and think they may have something unique to offer, too.
"I guess our culture might be considered different ... so that's why I enjoy knowing about other people's cultures," Rebecca said.
It is not often the Amish invite people in to observe their culture with as much comfort as the Yoders do. It helps that they have had positive experiences in their tenure.
"People are very respectful ... I haven't seen anyone step over the boundaries yet," said Rebecca.