We try to avoid the usual fast food joints, and because most of the Tim Hortons stores we saw were in such an arrangement, I assumed it was just another fast food sort of chain. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I can only eat so many meals of burgers and fries before I want something slightly more nutritional/imaginative.
We were traveling south on I-81 in Northern Pennsylvania and as lunchtime approached, we began scrutinizing the highway signs, looking for a place to eat. We always appreciate finding restaurants that offer food a step above the usual fast food fare, but without breaking the bank.
As we approached Hallstead, PA, a small town on the Susquehanna River, about 20 miles south of Binghamton, NY, my wife Tiffany spotted the Tim Hortons sign and said, "Let's try it." We were all hungry and ready to stop, so we decided to take a chance.
What a pleasant surprise.
Now I'm sorry we hadn't taken the opportunity to seek out other Tim Hortons locations during our travels. This turned out to be one of the best surprise finds we've ever stumbled on.
I ordered the chipotle turkey Panini with a Danish pastry for desert. The sandwich was outstanding – fresh ingredients; absolutely one of the best sandwiches I've ever eaten. The Danish was equally impressive. In fact, Mom, a gourmet cook for 50 years, told us it was some of the best pastry she had ever eaten. High praise from a baking expert; not given lightly. The staff in Hallstead was friendly and smiling, and the restaurant was clean.
A little background: Tim Horton was a hockey player; a defenseman who played 24 NHL seasons from 1949-1974, for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was killed in a car accident at age 44 in 1974.
His restaurant chain began with a few stores in 1964 offering just coffee and donuts. After Horton's death, a business partner bought the Horton Family out and continued to expand the chain, adding stores across Canada, Northern and Northeastern US, and Persian Gulf locations, now operating more than 4300 stores (note the lack of an apostrophe in 'Tim Hortons' is intentional, and is now the legal corporate name).
Unfortunately, we live in Texas – far from the nearest Tim Hortons restaurant, so hopefully this excellent chain will soon figure out they need to invade the Lone Star State. We already have hockey here, and we definitely need quality restaurants like Tim Hortons.
An excellent restaurant in a convenience store – who would figure such a thing would be a great place to eat? Kudos to the staff and management in the Hallstead, PA store for providing a clean, friendly, comfortable, outstanding eating experience for us. We expected typical fast food, but we were astonished at the great food and reasonable prices – an unbeatable combination at Tim Hortons.
25106 State Route 11
Hallstead PA 18822
Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'Twisted Logic: 50 Edgy Flash Fiction Stories', 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'. His books are available in paperback and e-book.
He also writes about sports for Season Tickets, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.