This column offers a sampling of dining experiences in the area. It is not intended as a review of the restaurant other than to provide the reader with one diner's experience. It also appears in The Herald's Friday entertainment section, "Ticket."
PERCH'S SEAFOOD, CHICKEN & BBQ
LOCATION: 708 E. Liberty St., York
HOURS: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday
AMBIANCE: Relaxing, fast seafood and more
At the former McDonald's building on S.C. 5, or busy Liberty Street, in York is Perch's - home to seafood, chicken and barbecue. The made-over hamburger giant's building -- now with blue and white -- has retained the front ordering counter, drive-thru window area and partially visible kitchen area.
But the dining area -- of tables and booths like McD's -- splashes a new feeling with brightly painted murals in a scheme of sea scenes with brilliant royal blue water on nearly every wall.
Perch's pulls quite a list from the water -- perch, tilapia, calabash shrimp, scallops, crab cakes, baby or Canadian flounder and catfish.
The menu, taped to the counter, includes wings (10 for $5.29 to 40 for $20), salads with toppings including cucumbers and egg ($2.99-$5.99), a cold tuna salad plate ($5.99), sandwiches -- chicken, barbecue or fish ($3.49), fried seafood (one choice with a side for $6.59 to three items for $11.59), land lover dinner plates -- pork chops, chicken, barbecue ($5.99).
Then there's the Early Bird Specials, running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with two special options served with a side and hushpuppies for $4.99.
My friend and I decided to split two orders -- one of the Perch filet (since it's called Perch's) with a side of light fried, crispy fried okra, and the other, the super special calabash chicken with fries.
We took a seat by a big window that looks out on the four picnic tables, each with an umbrella, on the concrete, metal-fenced yard. As soon as we took a seat, the hostess came with our drinks and a surprise -- a small dish each of complimentary shrimp cocktail -- six pieces. Nice touch. Definitely pushes Perch's out of the fast-food category.
However, the food is served fast. In less than 10 minutes, we had a plate with a mound of juicy, wonderfully-seasoned , fried calabash chicken with a heap of fries, light and tasty coleslaw and a few hushpuppies. All for only $3.99 -- that's a super special. It's also the same price as the children's menu, which includes all the same pleasing meats and fish.
The plate of Perch filet plate ($6.59) was just as big with five pieces of the fish cooked perfect with a covering of light, non-greasy fried breading over the warm and tender, flaky fish inside. This, too, came with coleslaw and a few hushpuppies. Even the tartar sauce and shrimp cocktail were light and tasty. Despite the "seafood items may contain bones" warning on the menu, I didn't hit one.
Our sweet teas never ran dry, either, thanks to the attentive hostess. We had a relaxing, quiet lunch.
After eating as much as we could, we asked for boxes and could easily have had enough for another meal each. Perch's dives in to feed the hungry. Just as one diner can order take-out, so, too, can a family of four to six. The eight family packs come with fries or five baked potatoes, slaw, hushpuppies, cocktail or tartar sauce, and a gallon of tea. The options include calabash chicken and shrimp or chicken and barbecue for $21.99 to 12 pieces of tilapia, six chicken tenders and one box of shrimp for $25.99.
Hmmm, so I can have a gathering and not turn the oven on this summer, or just pick up a good seafood meal on the go? Perch's is quite a pearl.