The Many Faces of Strawberry Square Mall: Retail, Dining, and Business in Harrisburg, PA

The Historical Significance of Strawberry Square Mall

Strawberry Square Mall opened its doors in 1978, serving as a cornerstone in the modern urban revitalization of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The mall was initially part of a larger project to breathe new life into the city’s center. The Harristown Development Corporation (HDC), a non-profit organization committed to the city’s growth, spearheaded this effort.

The mall’s development was divided into two phases. The first phase offered 1.4 million square feet of office and retail space. This was a significant development, especially considering it followed the demolition of the Penn-Harris Hotel in 1973. Eleven years later, the $21 million Phase II expansion was completed, adding more value to the city’s core.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Strawberry Square is its historical architecture. The Phase II expansion involved the restoration of ten 19th and 20th-century buildings. These structures are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and are some of the city’s oldest remaining retail establishments.

The name “Strawberry Square” itself has historical roots. It was named after Strawberry Alley, an alleyway from Front Street to Third Street in downtown Harrisburg. This alley was integrated into the mall’s design, serving as a commons area beside the second-floor escalators.

The Current Tenants: A Snapshot

Strawberry Square has always been a hub of activity, but the current tenant list is a bit more compact than in years past. Today, the mall houses seven shops catering to various needs, from wellness boutique C.R. Blooms to pharmacy store Rite Aid.

ManeClass Salon and Market on Market are other notable tenants, providing beauty and grocery services. Pedego Harrisburg offers a unique experience for cycling enthusiasts, while Unleashed Grooming Company takes care of your furry friends. Cue-Nique Lottery II adds a bit of excitement with its lottery offerings.

Each shop has its operating hours, generally aligning with the mall’s overall hours of Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm. It’s advisable to check individual retailer websites for the most accurate information, as hours may vary.

The mall’s tenant list may be smaller than before, but it’s clear that the focus is on quality and variety. The shops offer a blend of essential services and specialty items, making Strawberry Square a convenient stop for downtown Harrisburg residents and visitors.

A Culinary Journey: Dining Options in Strawberry Square

When it comes to dining, Strawberry Square doesn’t disappoint. The mall offers ten dining options, each with a unique flavor profile. From burgers at Fresa Bistro on the 3rd to the fast-food delights at Taco Bell, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

For those who prefer Asian cuisine, Sakura Tokyo Express and Chef Chen’s Express offer various options. Coffee lovers can get their caffeine fix at Little Amps Coffee, while those looking for healthier options can head to Tropical Smoothie Café.

Just like the shops, dining establishments have their operating hours. However, most align with the mall’s general hours of operation. It’s always a good idea to check individual restaurant websites for the most current information, especially if you plan a visit during weekends or holidays.

The dining scene at Strawberry Square is as diverse as it is delicious. With a range of cuisines and dining styles, from sit-down restaurants to quick-service eateries, the mall offers a culinary journey in the heart of Harrisburg.

Beyond Retail and Dining: The Business Directory

However, Strawberry Square is a more bustling business hub than a shopping and dining destination. The mall has several government offices, including the Department of Human Services and the Gaming Control Board. These offices make the mall a focal point for both retail and official activities in Harrisburg.

Educational institutions also find a home here. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and Temple University Harrisburg have set up campuses within the mall. This academic presence adds another layer to the mall’s multifaceted identity.

Various other offices and services are part of the mall’s extensive business directory. The mall is a one-stop shop for multiple needs, from chiropractic services at Center City Chiropractic to legal services at Gibbel Kraybill & Hess LLP.

The business directory reflects the mall’s role as a comprehensive service provider. Strawberry Square serves as a microcosm of downtown Harrisburg’s vibrant community by housing a mix of retail, dining, official and educational establishments.

Recent Developments and What’s Next

Strawberry Square continues to evolve, and one of the most exciting recent developments is the upcoming opening of the Real Elite Buffet. Owned by a Harrisburg native, this new eatery opened its doors on September 15, 2023. Located at 15 North 3rd Street, the restaurant occupies a 2,155-square-foot space with a seating capacity for 75 guests.

The Real Elite Buffet aims to offer an array of lunch and dinner options, focusing on slow-cooked meats. This new addition is not just about food; it’s also about community. They plan to create 15 to 20 new jobs, encouraging interested individuals to apply in person.

In addition to new dining options, the mall has seen other changes. One notable event was the removal of the “Chockablock Clock,” a 41-foot tall audio-kinetic sculpture, in 2022. This iconic piece was relocated to Shippensburg University to make room for a new meeting space.

As Strawberry Square looks to the future, it’s clear that the mall is more than just a retail space; it’s a community hub. With its rich history, diverse tenant list, and continuous developments, Strawberry Square remains integral to Harrisburg’s evolving landscape.

Conclusion

Strawberry Square has come a long way since its opening in 1978. From its historical significance to its current status as a retail, dining, and business hub, the mall has continually adapted to meet the needs of Harrisburg’s community.

The tenant list may have shrunk over the years, but the quality and variety have not waned. The mall continues to offer a blend of essential and specialty services, making it a convenient stop for anyone in downtown Harrisburg.

Strawberry Square in front of the Capitol
Strawberry Square in front of the Capitol Kirkpatrick, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dining at Strawberry Square is an experience in itself. With a range of options, the mall caters to diverse culinary preferences, making it a go-to destination for food lovers.

As we look to the future, new developments like the Real Elite Buffet and changes like the removal of iconic art pieces indicate that Strawberry Square is far from stagnant. It continues to evolve, serving as a testament to Harrisburg’s resilience and community spirit.

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Comments: 2
  1. Avatar of Max Stevens
    Max Stevens

    I can’t even think of one thing I would go to this mall for.

    Reply
    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for sharing your perspective on Strawberry Square Mall. I can understand how it might not meet everyone’s needs.

      Reply
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