Following ‘Traditions’ Martinsburg restaurant grounded in faith and family

MARTINSBURG – Christian faith and family are at the root of Traditions Pennsylvania Dutch Restaurant and Bakery.

“We want to really be thankful that our success comes from the grace of God; we are a good Christian place to work here and that’s a big part of our success, I believe,” Laura Rhodes, assistant manager, said. “And also the staff. The staff is very hard working and … it is like a family. We all get along well together and that’s a big part of our success as well.”

“It’s just a fun place to work. Everybody gets along. It’s like a big family. We know how to have fun but get the job done while we’re doing it,” said Josh Barroner, chef and back of the house supervisor.

The family feel extends to the customers.

“Because it feels like a family place, people come to have a good time. They come to get the good food and the good service, and I think they leave feeling like they made a good decision to come here,” Rhodes said of why customers come to the family owned and-operated restaurant which opened in 2007.

The history of the business, which started in Lancaster County as a harness and tack shop with a fabric and notions store added later, goes back to the early 1970s, owner Marcus Zimmerman said in a written statement. The business was handed down through the family of his wife, Lorraine, expanding and moving along the way, eventually coming to Martinsburg and becoming Traditions Pennsylvania Dutch Restaurant and Bakery and Traditions Fabric, Clothing and Gift Shoppe.

Arley Hooder, general manager, said the restaurant’s unique decor and homestyle food sets it apart.

Quilts, Bible verses and inspirational sayings decorate the dining room walls.

“I hear so many customers talking about all our sayings on the wall. While they wait for their food, they read them, and they just think it’s a relaxing atmosphere and they enjoy reading all the positive sayings on the wall,” Hooder said.

The restaurant’s dining area is divided into sections, and a large hand-painted mural by artist Paul Means of Butler is featured in the middle dining room.

An outdoor patio off of the dining area with falling water offers a tranquil ambiance.

“Our patio, it’s different from any other outdoor seating I’ve ever seen in Blair County,” Hooder said. “The waterfalls make it so peaceful to eat in the evening. People have commented several times how beautiful the atmosphere is out there.”

A bride and groom even choose it as their wedding location, she said.

Steak, ham pot pie and ham balls are specialties that Tyler Zimmerman, head chef and the back of the house night supervisor, listed. Tyler also is the Zimmermans’ son and one of several family members working there.

“It’s a ham loaf formed into a meatball shape and they have a sweet tangy glaze over them,” he said of the ham balls. “And then also we have our roast turkey that we make here. Our No. 1 selling item is our roast turkey.”

Other popular dishes are the meatloaf, roast beef and Chef Josh’s crab bisque, which is served on Fridays, Barroner said.

The bakery at Traditions is a stop most guests make, Rhodes said.

“Many people just stop in to grab a whoopie pie to go or a cookie or something like that, but just about everybody after their meal walks up and looks at the bakery. Maybe they don’t get something this time, but they’ll get something the next time,” she said.

The bakery offers treats made from scratch, Tyler Zimmerman said.

On a recent Monday afternoon, Robert and Carol Pletcher of Altoona and friends John and Dee O’Keefe, also of Altoona, came to Traditions for lunch.

Carol enjoys the food, in particular the T-bone steak, and atmosphere, she said.

Robert and Dee also enjoy the T-bone steak, while John said he enjoys the roast beef dinner.

“It’s an all around good place to go,” Robert said.

“The atmosphere, and how nice it is in here, how well kept it is. And the waitresses are all nice. The employees are all very nice. They give you what you ask for,” John said. “We all come out together and have a nice time.”

“I just love the atmosphere. I love country stuff. I love the quilts and the music, especially the music,” said Dee, who appreciates the restaurant’s loyalty club and the store.

“We really enjoy the guests being part of our community,” Rhodes said.

Marcus Zimmerman offered a word of thanks on his, his family’s and the staff’s behalf for the support and patronage from the community and surrounding areas.

“There are many blessings in serving the community, and we want all the honor to go to God,” he said. “If we can only keep our focus on the Lord to guide and lead us every day, we will surely be blessed and be very thankful for all He provides.”

Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.