Mis Main Eats: Anthracite Cafe in Wilkes-Barre

Crab fries from Anthracite Cafe

Abby Blockus, Editor in Chief

This week, I took a trip to Anthracite Cafe in Wilkes-Barre for a delicious fried meal.

I usually like to try different menu items when it comes to visiting new restaurants, but this week, I felt a need to go back to the basics, so that’s exactly what I did.

Anthracite Cafe is located on Scott Street in Wilkes-Barre, a nice 15 to 20-minute drive from campus, depending on traffic. It features a bar, seating inside the bar room and, for a more family-oriented environment, two proper dining rooms, both of which can accommodate large groups. A party of 50 was being served in one of these rooms while I was there.

The environment here is “homey.” When I walked in, I immediately felt like family. The hostess greeted us with a smile and, before seating us, said, “Shane will take care of you guys tonight; he’s great!” Shane really was great. He was our waiter, perhaps the most friendly one I’ve ever had, giving us ample time to make a decision on what to order, which was well needed.

The hostess even stopped by our table to ask about our day and to see if Shane was doing a good job (he was). It made me feel like I was eating at home with family, not too proper and by-the-book but not too laid back that you felt like you weren’t cared for. A perfect balance.

The only complaint I have about where we were sitting in the bar room was the loud bathroom door. It slammed shut every time it was opened by unsuspecting guests; those in the know did not allow it to slam shut. This wasn’t a deal breaker. though. We laughed about it because we knew it wasn’t the fault of the staff, but rather a fault of the infrastructure and complaining about something beyond anyone’s control is pointless.

The food was spectacular. We started with appetizers made of French fries; the two we ordered were the Crab Fries and Texas Fries. The Crab Fries are seasoned with Old Bay seasoning and covered with cheese sauce. The Texas Fries are covered in barbecue sauce, bacon and cheese sauce, as well. I can’t decide which one I preferred as it’s ever changing. As of this writing, it’s the Texas Fries. These fries were good when they were fresh and hot, but as time passed, the cheese sauce became a little thick and…chunky? But it still tasted fine; the texture was “sus” as a friend of mine described.

Before ordering, we had a discussion about how “We haven’t had a good wing in a hot minute” so I took the bait and ordered a dozen wings, bone-in of course, not those glorified chicken nuggets. When it comes to wings, I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur. I’ve eaten a lot of wings in my 20 years and these were definitely some of the better ones. I’m always torn on choosing sauce, sometimes hot is too hot, but sometimes mild ends up being sweet, which is unacceptable. I took the risk and ordered mild, and was pleasantly met with a wing that was perfectly spicy and vinegary without being “too much.” Also, the flats were perfectly crispy, which is the make-or-break factor for me when it comes to wings. If the flats aren’t crispy, the wings are not good.

The prices at Anthracite are reasonable. The fries are priced at $5.99 and the wings are $17.99 a dozen, which is on the expensive side, but worth it. You can find cheaper and more expensive options here. While I went a traditional comfort food route, their menu contains unique items, such as Macaroni Logs and various burgers and sandwich creations. You can find a comfort food experience or a more culinary-creative experience if you choose.

Overall, my experience here was wonderful. While I say this a lot, I definitely recommend checking out this restaurant, probably more so than any of the places I’ve written about, not just because of the food, but also for the overall dining experience.