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Ernie’s Texas Lunch celebrates 100 years in Gettysburg

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The employees at Ernie’s Texas Lunch are celebrating 100 years of being part of the Gettysburg community by doing what they always do – providing quality breakfasts and lunches at their counter and tables in their shop on Chambersburg Street.

The store, known originally as Texas Hot Weenies, was opened in in 1921 by Anastasos (Ernest) Kranias soon after he emigrated from Greece. He and another boy lied about their age and crossed the Atlantic just months after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Ernest traveled in the states until he came to Gettysburg which he decided would be the perfect place to settle.

The shop is now in the able hands of Ernest’s grandson, Ernie Kranias, who says little has changed since then. In fact, he credits the lack of change as a reason for continued success. When you sit down and order something on their menu you are ordering food that someone would have eaten a century ago.

After returning to his birth country for a visit, Ernest sponsored a relative and another Gettysburg icon, Tommy Kranias 14 years later, helping him make a place for himself in Gettysburg by opening the iconic Tommy’s Pizza Shop. “Ernest and Tommy bonded and Tommy became like a second son to him,” said Krinias.

“Tommy once asked me which one do you think is better, ‘Tommy’s Pizza or T & K Pizza Stop?’, and I said ‘T & K Pizza Stop’”, said Kranias. “Obviously, I chose wrong, but I was flattered that he asked what I thought.”

Kranias says he often considers the courage of the boys taking their trip across the Atlantic knowing the fate of the people on the Titanic. “But then I thought maybe they didn’t even know about it,” he said.

Kranias said Gettysburg turned out to be a good choice for both businesses, in part because there were many other Greek emigrants starting up at the same time. “The neighbors are competitive, but ultimately helpful and friendly,” he said.

Kranias said the shop’s customers have remained supportive over the years. “People may change the way they look or talk,” he said, but “so many people have gone out of their way to show support to their business over time and especially during the pandemic.”

Kranias said many customers ordered takeout while indoor dining was forbidden, which helped keep things going. “The same supportive customers were always there from the very start of our opening. Though the regulars change over time, their eagerness to help has not changed at all,” he said.

Kranias said a customer donated $400 to support the shop. He distributed the gift among his employees.

Kranias credited his wife Linda, who died of cancer in 2014, as his “pillar and rock. I never realized just how important this family business was until she came along and showed me,” he said.

Linda Kranias was a kind and caring person who helped with local fundraisers. Kranias continued her legacy, helping raise almost $128,000 for cancer research since 2014. “Linda had a shining personality and brought fun to the business. She touched the hearts of everyone,” he said.

Kranias spends his free time researching his grandfather to learn more about his life and how exactly the family business came to be. He does not have any children to pass down his family’s legacy, but hopes to convince a distant cousin or one of his nephews to take over the business.

Ernie’s serves traditional breakfast items including eggs, omelets, and pancakes, as well as hot dogs, fries, burgers, and chili. The unique menu offerings, including the Texas Weiner, Cheese Dog, Dummy Ho Hot Dog, and the Taco Dog, are all homemade and follow recipes that have done well for 100 years.

And they still serve beer for their adult customers.

To see a video about Ernie’s and to place an online order, please visit them here.

thokat11@gmail.com | + posts

Hello! My name is Katrina Chase Thomas. I am from Nanticoke, NEPA. It is a small city, but a small city with lots of character and the lack of dull days.
I currently attend Gettysburg College. I am a senior and I am expecting to graduate this Spring, majoring in Japanese and English with a writing concentration.

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  • This town would be at a great loss without Ernie’s. The food is fabulous and my favorite is the hot dog with everything that you can taste for days! I hope this legacy will continue even if Ernie retires one day!

  • My first ‘real’ job in Gettysburg was working for Ernie. When I asked him if he’d hire me, his first comment was spoken in near disbelief; “You want to work here”? That was 1981. It was a wonderful introduction to the Kranias family and another reason to stay in this beautiful and historic town upon my graduating from Gettysburg College.

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