From a 19th century power base of the American Industrial Revolution, transportation hub of the Northeast and capital of a vastly wealthy Pennsylvania, Harrisburg suffered the insults of industrial decline in the post 1970 economic landscape. Yet the halving of its population has not dampened its legacy of hospitality and that legacy is what's responsible for the current revitalization. In the first decade of the 21st century, the city's population has begun growing and the force is young professionals flooding the city center with a penchant for gathering with friends. That penchant is fueling a revitalization of both residential housing and hospitality businesses.
Farmers who created Pennsylvania's moniker the "American breadbasket" in the late 18th century built Harrisburg. Immigrants fueled 19th century steel mills, railroads, nearby coalfields and assorted industries. Irish, Italian, Polish, German, African-Americans, Eastern European Jews and many more nationalities left their mark on Harrisburg's culinary scene. With the 21st century revitalization of the city, the legacy of this international mix lives on in today's vibrant food scene, especially the cafes, restaurants and bars in and around 2nd Street.
Disclaimer: the author was a guest of the Hershey/ Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau