One Tank Trip

One Tank Trip: Tomato Pie Cafe

HARRISBURG, Pa. - On any given day, you'll want to order the tomato pie at the Tomato Pie Cafe, but Wednesday, for a few hours, it was about the coffee, conversation and taking a little time for nostalgia.

The Tomato Pie Cafe in Harrisburg was known for a limited time as Luke's Diner.

Here's the abridged version for those not familiar: October 5 is Gilmoreversary, the day the TV series "Gilmore Girls" debuted 16 years ago.

In honor of the anniversary and the show's upcoming Netflix revival, 200 cafes across the country were transformed into mini-Luke's.

Luke's Diner is the fictional shop where the show's mother/daughter stars, Lorelai and Rory, get their coffee fix.

"They (Netflix) sent us all the gear, the sleeves, the cups. They did send us actual barista uniforms," explained Jeremy Fisher, Tomato Pie Cafe's director of operations,

Fisher, who was flannel-clad himself, came with the cafe, even if he seems to be sent straight from Stars Hollow. He's aware of the similarities.

"Yes. It's embarrassing," Fisher said. "Yup, I know what Luke looks like. I knew what he wore. I watched 'Gilmore Girls.' I shouldn't say that on television. I did watch 'Gilmore Girls.' We'd come home from school and that's what we would watch."

Like a hipster Luke and a good sport, Fisher was one of those handing out the free coffees.

"There was a line out the door and then it's just been kinda consistent ever since we opened, and then our coffee brewer, I feel like it has never brewed so much coffee in a short amount of time," Fisher said.

Map: Tomato Pie Cafe

But when Luke's Diner fades away, it transforms back into the Tomato Pie Cafe, and a slice of tomato pie is what they come for. It's a recipe that's been in the Fisher family for generations, a take on the classic.

Fisher's grandmother handed it down to his mother. They've been serving it up in this family-run business and another one in Lititz, Lancaster County, for about six years. With the pie comes the kind of place that makes you want to stay awhile.

"I feel like watching that show it made this glorified image of what coffee shops are, and I feel like that's ultimately what we're really trying to recreate, where you walk in and you feel like home and you know the people who are serving you and the people that are serving. You know you and what your coffee is and how you like it," Fisher explained.

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