The self-taught chef and owner of Biglerville Bistro & Barbeque is serving up scrapple fries, fried bologna burgers, pineapple coleslaw, and more dishes with a twist at the borough’s newest restaurant.
“I love cooking. I grew up in a large family and I always had to do the cooking,” Edna Wolters said.
Although Wolters just opened the casual eatery Oct. 3, business is booming. Once word got out, their small staff learned how fast 45 seats could fill up.
“I’m overwhelmed. The community has really supported me,” Wolters said.
The most popular dishes so far are the meats, which Wolters smokes herself on site. Brisket, pulled pork, and pit ham have been “flying off the shelves,” she said. Her favorite item on the menu is flash fried Brussels sprouts, tossed in a lime vinaigrette.
The menu also features bistro-style items such as salads, wraps, soups, and sandwiches at modest prices. Every item on the menu is under $10. A highlight on the appetizer, or “munchies” menu, is the poutine fries. These hand-cut French fries are piled high with cheese curds and brown gravy. As for burgers, there’s the scrapple burger, fried bologna burger with spicy brown mustard, the Polish burger with Kielbasa and sauerkraut, and a classic cheeseburger.
As a Maryland transplant living in McSherrystown, Wolters wasn’t too familiar with the Biglerville area. When the former Fidler & Co. Craft Kitchen location went up for sale, Wolters gave it a once-over last summer and “fell in love with it.”
She’s found that when you’re a part of the Biglerville community, the locals treat you like family.
“They’re just good, genuine people,” she said.
Wolters started her culinary career working in a sub shop as a teenager, then spent some time in her Aunt Jean’s restaurant and bar.
“She was one of those people who took chances,” Wolters said.
After a stint in emergency medical services, Wolters acted on her longtime dream of opening a restaurant, like her aunt. Though Jean has passed, her daughter Michelle, Wolter’s cousin, was there to help launch the bistro and barbeque off the ground.
“It just took off,” Wolters said.
Wolters wanted a place that would feel “blue collar” and “family oriented,” and that seems to be the crowd she’s attracting. She said men come still wearing their work boots, families gather around big tables, and everyone seems to know each other. The eatery is BYOB, so adults often bring their own beverages. Customers place their order at the counter, pay, grab a number for their tabletop, and wait for the food to be dropped off.
“I want it to be like ‘Cheers,’” Wolters said.
Taking inspiration from her aunt, Wolters creates new recipes whenever she gets a free moment, which is rare. She hopes to add ribs to the menu soon and is dabbling in barbeque sauce creation. When the warm days are back again, Wolters plans to use local produce. She already sells jams and apple butter from Hollabaugh Bros. and gets supplies from Knouse Foods.
Biglerville Bistro & Barbeque was almost a breakfast joint, but before making her decision, Wolters put out a poll on social media. Bistro and barbeque were neck-and-neck, while the breakfast option gained little interest. Wolters listened to the voters and it paid off.
“I listen to them. I’m here for them,” she said.
Wolters hopes people find the restaurant to be a warm and cozy place to gather. She doesn’t see the eatery as a business alone, but as part of the community.
When winter arrives and plow truck drivers need a hot meal, they can come to Biglerville Bistro & Barbeque.
“When they’re calling for a big snow storm, I’m staying here,” Wolters said.
For now, Wolters’ biggest challenge is keeping up with the responsibility of two jobs as chef and owner. She hopes to hire an experienced line cook who can help her get a moment’s rest, but for now, Wolters is just glad to be in business.
The 213 E. York St. eatery offers dine-in and carry-out. Wolters said some call ahead at 717-677-7014 so their food is ready to go when they arrive, or they can place an order in person and wait a few minutes. So far, Wolters has seen many customers from the local area, but also people from East Berlin, New Oxford, and even New Jersey. Biglerville Bistro & Barbeque is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They will be open Black Friday.