Graduation dinners are a tricky thing at F&M. People start booking restaurants about a year in advance to make sure that their special day is marked by a special dinner. If you don’t know where to start looking, fear not. We’ve compiled a list of great restaurants that won’t disappoint.

The Loft


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This is definitely one of the most posh places to have dinner in Lancaster. The food is five star and the atmosphere is fantastic. From seafood to steak, this place has a huge menu guaranteed to please your entire commencement party.



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If you care for a thoughtful meal that is locally sourced in a rustic but elegant ambiance, MA(i)SON is definitely the place for you. The Masons, owners of the restaurants and upstairs neighbors, will make you and your family feel right at home—or maison as they say in France. Not to mention, the cuisine features veggies sourced from the area where you went to school for four years.

Gypsy Kitchen

If you have a big party that wants thoughtful food and etherial decor, Gypsy Kitchen is the place to go. Conveniently located in the Lancaster Theological Seminary Refectory just off campus, the menu starts anew each week with expertly prepared local food. If you call early enough in advance, you can book the entire space and have your own private dinner party.



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There aren’t too many places that serve French fare in Lancaster, but Citronelle does so with resounding success. Every dish is prepared exquisitely, making it the perfect place to impress a relative or feel especially fancy on your special day.



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For the student looking to have dinner at a Lancaster institution, look no further than Jethro’s. The restaurant was opened by an F&M alumnus and has been serving heightened American cuisine for almost 30 years.

The Stockyard Inn


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The Stockyard Inn gives aged beef a whole new meaning. As one of the oldest steakhouses in the U.S., the restaurant brings a historical heritage to its fine dining. For those parties desiring a more private event, you can rent out their back room for an intimate evening.

Himalayan Grill


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For the graduate who wants to put a new spin on a traditional commencement dinner, treat yourself to some amazing Indian food. This dinner will come under budget and will definitely not disappoint on flavor.



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This place is the perfect straightforward eatery: an awesome menu for the adventurous eater without the fuss or outrageous price. Find the perfect plate and pair it with a signature cocktail or craft brew. Buy your graduate a gift from their market and remember to save room for dessert, prepared by their talented pastry chef.

John J. Jeffries

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With seasonal eats, a renowned bar and a chic industrial interior, this has to be one of the best places to have your commencement meal. The restaurant speaks for itself and has been known to students for years as “that place you have your parents take you to when they visit because you can’t afford anything”. 

Aussie and the Fox


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For a newly opened restaurant, Aussie and the Fox has taken Lancaster by storm. Their unique furniture and modern Australian and American food makes for a unique dining experience. It’s perhaps not the best venue for a large group, but if you would like an intimate dinner with a menu that elevates the ordinary, check it out. 

Fenz Restaurant and Late Night 


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While the outside is unassuming, the interior is extremely classy and the roof dining is a unique feature. The restaurant prides itself on fashionable comfort food while maintaining a bistro-like atmosphere. Many students don’t know about this place, so it’s worth claiming a reservation while others flounder to find a seat downtown.

The Pressroom


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If you’re looking for an ambiance with a little more warmth, head over to the Pressroom. The historic location and relaxed feel make it a great place to enjoy your meal. Their large menu and newspaper theme appeal to all generations, making it a great place to bring your extended family.

Federal Taphouse

A commencement dinner doesn’t have to be an over the top event. Having a great meal with the people you care about is all that matters. The Federal Taphouse has an unpretentious design, great food and beer, all at a reasonable price range. This would be a great place to grab a drink and dinner with fellow seniors before venturing into the real world.

Carr’s Restaurant


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Located in the heart of downtown Lancaster next to Central Market, this is a great place to say goodbye to the town you’ve lived in for the last four years. Their wine selection is unparalleled and the dishes utilize quality protein paired with local vegetables.

Checkers Bistro


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For the group that wants a classic sit down dinner in a room with dark wood furniture, Checkers Bistro is right for you. The menu is an interesting mix of American, French and Asian cuisine, and the brick walls remind you of the Lofts and other old converted factories.

The Horse Inn

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As the oldest continuously run restaurant in the city, the Horse Inn is truly a step back in time. The old bar and upright piano really bring the 19th century charm to a modern dining experience. The menu changes daily, so you won’t know what you’ll get until you sit down.

The Belvedere Inn

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Classy is the best way to describe the Belvedere Inn. From mini kobe burgers to crawfish mousse crusted swordfish, this menu has all of the fancy dishes you’re looking for at your commencement dinner. The live music that filters down from upstairs adds a layer of sophistication that can’t be beat.



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If you care deeply about the drinks being served at your dinner, Pour has you covered with all of the best wines, beers and cocktails. The menu was constructed to pair well with their signature drinks, so pull up a seat outside and raise a glass to your graduation.

Cork and Cap

This restaurants takes local cuisine and kicks it up a notch. The rustic decor is stunning and the food reflects the melting pot of coastal and Pennsylvania-German cuisine.

Need more Lancaster eats? Check out these restaurants: