For someone who doesn’t drink, I have spent a lot of time in bars.
Over the years I have spent many an evening at local watering holes, mostly competing in trivia games or dealing myself in to poker games.
Monday night sports trivia was the reason I first went to Klinger’s on Carsonia about two years ago. In the time since, I have tried most of their 15 flavors of wings and eaten more French fries than I can count, but it took those two years to finally convince my wife to join me for a real dinner at the restaurant in Pennside.
The bar is the first thing you see when you walk through the door. About 15 seats wrap around its three sides with seven flat screen TVs shining down atop the patrons on the stools. High-top tables flank the bar to the left with just a handful of four- and six-person low-tops set along the far wall.
The second thing you see is the Carsonia Park mural. Closed in 1950, Carsonia Park is but a distant memory, surviving only in old postcards and stories from Reading’s old-timers.
But on the wall of Klinger’s, the park lives on. The 50-year-old mural depicts a beautiful summer day at the park, with excited men, women and children walking in the shadow of the rides.
Though Klinger’s is clearly a bar first, the mural helps add class to the restaurant, making a place you could enjoy a family dinner.
Klinger’s menu is dominated by bar food staples: burgers, wings, fried food and sandwiches. But there are some surprising options as well like the create-your-own mac and cheese, fish tacos and my choice, Cuban pork.
Served with black beans and rice, the Cuban pork stands out from the more traditional menu items. A heaping helping of shredded pork, seasoned in “Cuban” spices. I don’t know enough about Cuban cuisine to tell you exactly what those spices are, but there were hints of garlic, salt, pepper and (perhaps) a bit of cinnamon.
Though the dishes look the same, do not confuse this for the pulled pork you would get at a barbecue joint. The pork is served dry without any type of sauce, and the salt and spices used in the meat dry it out further. I mixed in the black beans to give the meat a little moisture, but it really doesn’t need it.
Sticking to the more traditional menu options, my wife opted for the black and bleu burger, one of nine burger options on the menu.
The burger came dressed with bleu cheese and bacon, a tasty mix that is a little out of the norm. The crispy bacon added a crunch to the juicy burger.
Our meals, like most on the menu, were about $10.00 each, though I did have to pay an extra $2.00 for my starter salad.
Klinger’s is much more than a bar, and they serve so much more than bar food. As much as I enjoy a good night of trivia, it’s the food that will keep bringing me back.