Fall 2018


There are no shortage of choices for a sit-down meal in the charming Victorian town of Beaver. But you needn’t sit down to eat your way down the borough’s main thoroughfare, Third Street.

A yummy day in Beaver begins with an early morning stop at Kretchmar’s. Early, as in 5 a.m. The bakery’s interior glows in the pre-dawn twilight and colorful rows of pastries, pies, cakes and breads beckon. Sip on coffee made in the shop as you make your selections. You may finish a cup right there because the decisions are so very hard to make.

Lincoln Kretchmar, 47, is a third-generation owner of this bakery that specializes in tortes and European pastries like napoleons and cannoli. “First and foremost, value,” is the family motto. His father, Henry, double-checks the cases one recent morning. He gestures to a tray of intricately decorated sugar cookies made for the local Rotary International chapter, of which he is president. The cookies are free in exchange for a $1 donation to Rotary.

“We are all-scratch. We’re hand-made. Basically, there’s a lot of love and attention going into each and every piece,” says the younger Mr. Kretchmar.

After you grab a famous cinnamon roll — the size of a smallish dinner plate, no kidding — and after you get your almond torte boxed, head a block east and make a right onto College Avenue. There you find Don’s Deli, which opened in December 2016.

What’s particularly cool about this place is the $10 made-to-order “lunch boxes” that fly out of the door, one after another. With high-quality meats and cheeses in the case, good bread on the shelves and an array of luncheon salads, you can get a to-go lunch of a sandwich, pickle, cookie, drink, coleslaw and potato salad or potato chips for $10. For tomorrow’s lunch, grab a pound of really good ham and some spicy pepper cheese.

Craig Stanzak, 46, said lunch is the busiest part of the enterprise but catering is picking up steam due to the Shell cracker plant in nearby Potter, plus the businesses and county government operations just up the road.

Now, it’s time to think about supper. Back on Third Street, within spitting distance of Kretchmar’s, is the Beaver Super Market. Here you can buy some of the tastiest steaks at the best prices ever. Pick up a couple delmonicos for $6.99 a pound, Con Yeager spices made nearby and some Amish cookies for dessert.

Owner Mark Ondrusek, 58, who has been in the grocery business since he was 7 years old, has been the owner of this, the oldest grocery in Beaver County, for 30 years. This store is so old that when it opened 75 years ago, there were poles outside to tie-off horses. He learned what he knows from his great-grandfather, grandfather and father, all of whom worked in the grocery business.

As an independent store, his bread-and-butter is service and quality. “Yesterday, I was delivering food to one of my customers. I realize I’m not and fancy but we make up for it on our service — we know our customers by name — and in our quality.”

The store is particularly known for its meats. Mr. Ondrusek works in concert with a store in nearby Ashtabula, Ohio, to “shop the deals. We find them then we go out and get them.

“We can do things the big chains can’t.”

Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com, 724-772-9180 or on Twitter @KarenKanePG.