Central Pennsylvania doesn’t have much in the way of good Roadfood options. But we found a real gem in Josie’s German Cakes & Market in Mechanicsburg. Located in a quiet, mostly residential neighborhood, Josie’s has fully stocked shelves full of German groceries, but we were most impressed by their hot lunches.
We started with a sausage plate, which comes with a bratwurst, a knockwurst, and a weisswurst, plus generous portions of German potato salad and sauerkraut on the side. The plump knockwurst, which is a beef and pork mixture, is wonderfully garlicky. The mild weisswurst, made with pork and veal, stands out on the plate for its pale color. The brat, my vote for best on the plate, is grilled until its skin is dark and crispy and spurts juice when pressured by knife or fork.
The potato salad, not overly sweet or vinegary, has plenty of small bits of crunchy bacon. The sauerkraut, served warm, with a hint of sweetness, was simply the best I have ever had.
Two different employees of Josie’s recommended the jaegerschnitzel. The pork cutlet, breaded and then pan-fried, is incredibly moist and flavorful. Even better is the rich mushroom sauce, made with cream and white wine. On the side are dense little spaetzle dumplings. The Hungarian goulasch, with tender chunks of beef and onions over top of spaetzles, is another hit. The one misstep: I think the gravy with the sauerbraten is too watery thin.
As if this isn’t enough, they also offer some tempting desserts. The thick apple streudel is sugary and soft, with a tall stack of fruit inside. The plum cake is hard-topped, with lots of sweet plums baked right into it. Both of these were big hits with the group.
If you are a fan of unpretentious family-owned restaurants that put out high quality homemade meals, or German food in particular, you won’t be disappointed by a stop at Josie’s.