The Laurel Highlands is known for restaurants that serve delicious comfort food in appetite-sating proportions, but visitors to the area, and locals alike, are especially fond of two unique foods...gobs and pierogies.
The Greatness of Gobs
The one thing that people can agree on about gobs, two pieces of chocolate cake held together with a creamy icing filling, is that they're delicious. But like many recipes that have been passed down through generations, the actual creation of these sweet treats is a matter of some debate.
The term "gob" was trademarked in 1927 by the Harris-Boyer bakery in Johnstown, PA, but recipes date back to Germany in the Middle Ages. The popularity of the treat grew as coal miners in Somerset County enjoy them for lunch. The placement of the icing kept it from melting on the wrapper, and scores of schoolchildren grew up with gobs as a reward.
Where to Find a Gob
The Original Pie Shoppe, Laughlintown
Ranked on the nationwide list of "hidden gem restaurants" by Taste of Home, America's #1 cooking magazine. Get in line early, because they sell out fast!
Ligonier Creamery, Ligonier
Go for the homemade vanilla gob ice cream.
Grandma's Country Oven Bake Shop
Red velvet, pumpkin, chocolate, and chocolate chip gobs.
The Country Pie Shoppe, Donegal and Mount Pleasant
Pumpkin and chocolate chip gobs, and even gob cakes.
Ruthie's Diner, Ligonier
Peppermint, mint chocolate chip, strawberry, and coconut gobs
Prantl's Bakery, Greensburg
Chocolate, red velvet, or toasted almond gobs
Brought to the region by Eastern European immigrants and reflective of the area's melting pot culture, pierogies have become a staple on tables throughout western Pennsylvania. These dumplings, which can be filled with sweet or savory fillings and are similar to ravioli, can be bought ready-made so you just have to cook them, or enjoyed at local restaurants where they're fried fresh to order.
Where to Find Pierogies
Gosia's Pierogies, which can be found at the Ligonier Country Market on Saturdays, are made from a secret family recipe that originated in Poland and was handed down from generation to generation. Variations include potato and cheese, sweet cabbage, potato and feta, sauerkraut, cottage cheese and potato, and cheddar cheese and jalapeño pierogies, which can also be found at Bardine's Country Smokehouse in Crabtree, Lapp Family Market in Latrobe, Arlington Market in Jeannette, and Ferri's in Murrysville.
The Darlington Inn, a Transylvanian-Hungarian restaurant in Ligonier, serves fried pierogies both as an appetizer and as an entrée, and that's debatably still not enough. Stop into the unique, cozy restaurant and enjoy home cooking at its finest, but make sure you take cash! They don't accept credit cards.
Don't forget to tag us in your mouthwatering gob and pierogie pics using #LaurelHighlands, and we may share your photo on social media or our website!