Restaurant suffers damage in accident; Don Julio closes; and more Berks Food News

Car damages wall of Temple Family Restaurant

The Temple Family Restaurant suffered damage when a mini van ran into a wall late Friday night. Saturday’s Reading Eagle featured a full report of the incident, including a photo showing damage to the side of the building. The damage was done to the wall facing Tuckerton Ave. According to the article, the driver of the van took the turn too fast, hit a pothole, and lost control of the vehicle. No one was hurt in the accident.

Douglassville’s Don Julio closes

Don Julio Mexican Restaurant in Douglassville has officially closed. A post Monday on the restaurant’s Facebook page announced the closing:

We want to thank to all our Don Julio fans .

It was an adventure and a pleasure to serve an awesome community like douglassville,birsboro,pottstown area etc….

Unfortunately Don Julio has to go to a different direction….

The restaurant it’s officially closed….. Sorry for the late update….

The restaurant had announced last week that it was temporarily closing for major repairs. The restaurant had operated in a strip mall along Route 422 since last spring, taking over the former Jom’s Burritos and Cheesesteaks.

More information revealed on Dino’s second location

The second location for Dino’s Wings and Things will be near FirstEnergy Stadium, according to a post on the restaurant’s official Facebook page. In a post from Sunday, December 29, the restaurant advertised that it was now hiring for its second location “near [the] reading Phillies stadium.” No other details about the second location have been announced.

Food News

Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches


A soup and a sandwich. It’s about as stereotypical a lunch as you will find. That’s probably why so many restaurants offer soup and sandwich specials during the midday rush.

But just because it’s simple, that doesn’t mean it has to be to boring. Some places have taken it beyond grilled cheese and tomato soup.

One of those places is Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches.

Isaac’s began more than 30 years ago with a single location in downtown Lancaster. From there it has grown into a successful and popular regional chain with 17 locations across six Pennsylvania counties: seven in Lancaster, three each in York and Cumberland, two in Dauphin, one in Chester, and a single location in Berks County.

A bright pink flamingo beckons customers into the Village Square Shopping Center along Broadcasting Road in Wyomissing.

What makes Isaac’s unique from other restaurants is the simplicity of its menu. There are no “dinners,” no smattering of side dishes. Instead, it’s all about soups, salads and sandwiches.

That doesn’t mean the menu lacks variety. On the contrary, there are plenty of options, especially for sandwiches where you can order flatbreads, pretzel sandwiches, French bread sandwiches, Reubens, clubs and more.

Soup offerings are more limited. The creamy pepperjack tomato is available every day, along with one other flavor that rotates daily. According to Isaac’s website, there are more than 100 flavors in rotation.


On our visit, the soup of the day was potato garlic. With the main ingredients being two of my favorite things, I could not resist ordering a cup. While not overly garlicky, you could definitely pick up its flavor. Every bite it seemed had a sliver of potato skin, which only enhanced the delicious flavors. The soup was complimented by a piece of toast, which did more than just add to the presentation.

As it was December, I decided to be festive with my sandwich choice and order from Isaac’s holiday menu: the swan club.


No, there is no swan in the swan club. Every sandwich at Isaac’s is named for a type of bird, and the swan club was the name given to Isaac’s version of the Pilgrim sandwich (better known around here as the Wawa gobbler). The club was stacked with  turkey, brown gravy, bacon, mayo, tomato, lettuce, cranberry sauce (I decided to hold the cheddar). With it soaked in gravy, the middle slice of bread served as a stand-in for stuffing, creating an entire holiday meal in one sandwich. The bacon was a nice addition, adding saltiness and a crunchy texture. What could have been a soggy mess was instead a delicious, cohesive sandwich.

While I was looking for a more substantial sandwich, Isaac’s offers a combo of a bowl of soup and half of a sandwich. Julie decided on a mix of Isaac’s tomato soup and the hoopoe: tun salad, melted cheddar, bacon and tomatoes on multigrain bread.


The pepperjack cheese gives the tomato soup a completely new flavor, adding both a little spiciness and a little creaminess to the bowl. The homemade croutons only add to it, providing a zesty crunch to compliment the soup.


The tuna in the sandwich was very flavorful, and mixed very well with the cheddar cheese. And as you know, bacon makes everything better, and it was a welcome addition. Multigrain bread seems odd, but it worked really well to compliment all of the ingredients.

When we finished with our sandwiches and piles of homemade chips, our final food bill was right around $20 (the addition of a couple speckled lemonades brought the total up a little higher).

With a menu that consists almost exclusively of soup and sandwiches, Isaac’s is not your traditional restaurant.

And with soup and sandwiches that are anything but traditional, it’s a great place for lunch or dinner.

BCE Rating
Food: Very Good
Service: Very Good
Ambiance: Good
Price: Very Reasonable

Isaac’s Restaurant
94 Commerce Dr
Wyomissing, PA 19610

Isaac's Restaurant & Deli on Urbanspoon

Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Tilted Kilt confirmed for Wyomissing; Dino’s opening 2nd location; more Berks Food News

Tilted Kilt confirmed for Shoppes at Wyomissing

Tilted Kilt has officially been confirmed as the new tenant for the Shoppes at Wyomissing. WFMZ mentioned them in a piece on December 11, and the Reading Eagle reported on the restaurant’s arrival in the December 20 edition. The Reading Eagle article reported that the restaurant would open sometime in the second quarter of 2015. Berks County Eats first reported that Tilted Kilt would be taking over the former Bensi restaurant on November 12.

Dino’s announces second location

Dino’s Wings and Things has announced that they will be opening a second location. In a Facebook post dated December 22, Dino’s said, “ATTENTION Reading, PA: Dino’s 2 is in the works!! 🌞More to come after the new year.” Dino’s flagship restaurant is located along the 5th Street Highway in Temple.

Don Julio closes for emergency repairs

Don Julio Mexican Restaurant in Douglassville is currently closed for repairs, this according to a post on the restaurant’s official Facebook page. In a post dated December 18, the restaurant announced, “Hi guys : we are going to be closed for major repairs for a few days… We will keep you updated.” No updates have been given since.

Food News

Road Trip: Dunderbak’s


Berks County Eats crosses the county line to bring you some of the best dining both near and far. This edition takes us 39 miles north of Reading to Whitehall, Pa.

Most restaurants I visit for Berks County Eats are new to me, a chance to discover something different, something unfamiliar.

And I love being able to experience a new place for the first time and discover something I have never tried before.

But there are also the places that I have been frequenting throughout my lifetime to which I continue to return.

One of those places is Dunderbak’s.

I first visited on a field trip with my high school German class. We watched a German-language performance at the Allentown Symphony Hall, then hopped on the bus and headed to the Lehigh Valley Mall for lunch at the most oddly placed German restaurant I know.

Dunderbak’s is like a whole different world, tucked in the corner of the mall next to Macy’s. A yellow awning with white stripes covers the entire dining room, casting a pale haze over the seats. In the center room, a line of European flags hang suspended from the ceiling. Toward the back of the room, the flags are replaced by a collection of woven baskets.

The menu includes a heavy dose of German-American foods (and like any good German restaurant, the beer list is also extensive, with four German, four Belgian, and four craft beers on tap at all times). German favorites include schnitzel, pork and kraut, sauerbraten and seven different wurst sandwiches.

If you are too busy shopping to enjoy a sit-down meal, wursts are one of many items available to go at the front counter.

Lately our visits have come in December, and there is nothing better than a hot cup of soup to warm you up on a cold shopping day. So I started off my meal with a cup of chicken and dumpling soup.


It’s a hearty soup with very little room for broth among the chunks of chicken, celery and carrots, and the thick round balls of dough. A bowl of it would probably make a satisfying meal; just a cup is enough to spoil even the hungriest appetite.


Julie also was looking for something to warm her up so she went with what is probably the most un-German thing on the menu, French onion soup. Unlike my own soup, hers was brothy with chunks of onion and bread, but the best part was the melted cheese that filled the top of her crock.

There are very few entrees at Dunderbak’s I haven’t tried (all of them good), and on this occasion I opted for the Munich wurst and pasta: smoked sausage served atop a bed of spaetzel pasta with onions, peppers and mushrooms.


Each component of the meal is good in its own right, but what really brings it together is the cup of brown gravy. Once that’s poured on, it gives a little moisture to the spaetzel and compliments the smokiness of the sausage to perfection.

On the side, I enjoyed an order of hot German potato salad. For those who have never had it, it’s almost a cross between roasted potatoes and sauerkraut, with a mostly sour, but not unpleasant, flavor.


Next to me, Julie was enjoying the Dunderbrat, one of the seven sausage sandwiches on the menu. The Dunderbrat is a traditional German bratwurst, topped with weinkraut and Swiss cheese. The bitterness of the kraut mixed with the sweetness of the Swiss made for a well-balanced sandwich. Dunderbak’s battered fries are a great addition and an easy way to overdue it.

Normally that would be the end of our meal, but we were dining with some friends and we collectively decided that there was room enough for dessert so we got ourselves an order of apple pie pierogis.


These fried treats, which looked more like hot pockets than pierogis, were filled with cinnamon and apples and served with whipped cream. Fried pies are always good, but the addition of the whipped cream for that little extra sweetness put this over the top.

Eating all of this at lunch time, this served as our last meal of the day so the $40 price tag for the two of us ($80 for our table of four), was well worth it.

Dunderbak’s is always well-worth the (sometimes aggravating) drive to Whitehall and back. It’s great food, an atmosphere unlike any other in the area, and a place that I will continue to come back to for years to come.

Dunderbak's Market Cafe on Urbanspoon

Dessert Lunch & Dinner Reviews

5 Favorite Entrees of 2014

December is a time to look back and reflect on the year that was. Berks County Eats is taking a look back at the best of the best from more than 50 restaurants and 10 festivals we visited in 2014. This week: Our Top Five Favorite Entrees.

We started with appetizers and we have already tasted dessert, now it’s time to dig in to the main course as we present our five favorite entrees we have tried in the past year.


Chicken and BiscuitsChef Alan’s American Bistro

Comfort food doesn’t always have to be familiar. Chef Alan’s proves that with their chicken and biscuits, a unique take on a classic American dish. The dish looked beautiful, and it tasted as good as it looked. The biscuits were nice and flaky and the chicken breast was seared to perfection, but it was the sauce—a creamy broth crossed with Marsala— that really brought it together and took it over the top.


Dazed and ConfusedTomcat Cafe

Breakfast is an often overlooked meal, but when done right, it can be a memorable dining experience. The Tomcat Cafe does it right with creative dishes—with creative names—like the Dazed and Confused: two slices of French toast dipped in Fruity Pebbles and topped with strawberries, bananas, strawberry syrup and whipped cream. The sugary shortstack was half breakfast, half dessert, and all delicious.


Evil Jungle PrincessThaiwat

Not just the coolest sounding name of anything I tried this year, the Evil Jungle Princess at Thaiwat was delicious. Based on Thaiwat’s heat scale, I was prepared for a “stimulating kick to the lips and tongue,” and what I got was a sweet and spicy masterpiece, a blend of chicken and vegetables tossed with curry and coconut milk.


Italiano BurgerFrank & Diannah’s Arbor Inn

Frank & Diannah’s is one of the highest rated restaurants across all review sites, and our first Burger Night did not disappoint. The evening’s special was the Italiano burger, a thick meaty patty topped with capicola ham, roasted peppers and provolone cheese. At times it was like eating a pizza or a meatball sandwich, but always delicious.


Pasta al Parmigiano Romano – Mangia Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

Mangia’s Pasta al Parmigiano Romano is much more than spaghetti and sauce: it’s an experience. The tableside show starts when the chef carves a layer out of the 80-pound cheese wheel, then pours flaming grappa (Italian liquor) on the shavings to melt them. The fettuccine and sauce are tossed right in, allowing the cheese to adhere to every bite in this truly inspired dish.


Entrees Features Stories
Alebrije sign

Alebrije moving to former Ciabatta restaurant; Black Dog Cafe Re-Opens


Alebrije Moving State Hill Road Location

Alebrije Mexican Restaurant is moving its Wyomissing location into the former Ciabatta restaurant. The sign was recently erected in front of the new location, which is just west of the current State Hill Road location. Alebrije also has locations on the 5th Street Highway and on Perkiomen Boulevard. Ciabatta closed this summer after eight years in business.

Black Dog Cafe Reopens in Stouchsburg

The Black Dog Cafe has reopened its doors under new ownership after going dark for four months. According to an article in the December 12 Reading Eagle, the cafe officially reopened on December 11. It is now owned and operated by the same family that owns Johnny & Hon’s Smokehaus in Robesonia and Johnny & Hon’s Grill on Kutztown Road. Black Dog Cafe was one of two shuttered restaurants in Stouchsburg. Risser’s Family Restaurant also closed its doors earlier this year. A realtor sign outside that restaurant says a sale is pending.
Van Reed Inn To Open Today

The Van Reed Inn announced on Facebook that it is officially opening today, December 16. The restaurant is opening in the home of the former Milan’s Van Reed Inn along Bernville Road (Route 183) north of the Route 222 interchange. Renovations to the building have been ongoing since September in anticipation of the opening.

Food News

Mike’s Taste of Philly – CLOSED


Editor’s Note: Taste of Philly is now closed. After a change from Mike’s Taste of Philly to Taste of Philly, the restaurant closed in 2018. In December 2018, a new restaurant called Tony’s Al Taglio opened in the location. 

Every major city has a food that it is famous for. Buffalo has wings. Kansas City and Memphis have barbecue. New York has pizza. New Orleans has po’ boys. Even Reading, the Pretzel City, has its own.

In nearby Philadelphia, it’s all about the cheesesteaks. Ask 500 Philadelphians where to find the best steaks in town and you’re likely to get 500 different answers (none of them being Pat’s or Geno’s).

If you live in Berks County, you already know that you don’t have to drive an hour away for a mouthwatering cheesesteak. I’m admittedly biased, but I would put Berks County’s offerings up against Philadelphia’s anytime.

And there is no more appropriate place in Greater Reading to get a taste of Philly than Mike’s Taste of Philly in West Reading.

Mike’s began serving Philly favorites in 2012, taking over the former Yellow Submarine restaurant along 5th Avenue, just off Delaney Circle.

Jerseys and memorabilia from all of Philadelphia’s professional sports teams adorn the walls of the shop, and if there’s a game happening, you can bet it’s on in the small dining area. Even though there was plenty of seating the two of us, we opted to take our meals home on this day.

The menu includes favorites from Philadelphia and beyond including pizza, hoagies, smoked wings and Zeps—Norristown’s answer to the hoagie featuring a single meat, cheese, onions, sweet peppers and oil, but no lettuce. There’s also Mike’s “Conshy” line of sandwiches served on grilled flatbread.

And of course, there are the Philly Cheesesteaks.


All of Mike’s Philly Cheesesteaks are served on 9-inch rolls from the Conshohocken Italian Bakery. For those with a bigger appetite, Mike’s also offers an 18-inch in all of its sandwiches (stood on end, that’s about one-quarter the height of an average person).

Like any true Philly steak, you have the option to get it “wit” or “wit-out” onions, along with other standard and not-so-standard toppings like hot peppers, tomatoes, pepperoni or bacon.

In my opinion, any kind of sandwich is better “wit” so I went with onions and sweet peppers on mine. Julie’s sandwich was identical to my own except hers was slathered in melted American cheese.


While some restaurants use thin sliced meat on their sandwiches, the ribeye on Mike’s Philly Steaks are cut thick so you can actually taste the flavorful meat. The steak was moist, but there was no pile of grease when it was finished. The sweet peppers and onions gave a little jolt of flavor while the gooey cheese found its way into all of the cracks.


For the frugal foodie, there’s no better day than Thursday to try Mike’s. Every Thursday, you receive a free order of fries with a sandwich purchase. And Mike’s fries are among the best around. The fresh-cut, golden brown spuds have a crispy outside and a great flavor. If you want more than the standard, you can also try pizza fries, loaded fries, gravy fries and wiz fries wit or without.


The Philadelphia influence also stretches into dessert as Mike’s carries a full line of Philadelphia Water Ice in a range of flavors that include cherry, root beer, blueberry and mango. Even though baseball season is still four months away, we went with the Phillies Swirl, a blend of cherry and lemon that is mostly sweet but will make you pucker just a little.

Not only is Mike’s food as good as any sandwich shop in Philadelphia, the prices can’t be beat. With the free-fry special, our bill came in at $20, at least $10 less than what you’d pay for the same thing in Center City.

With places like Mike’s Taste of Philly, along with other Berks County restaurants like the Steak Shack and V&S Sandwiches, there’s no need to sit in traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway. True Philadelphia flavor can be find right here at home.

Mike's Taste of Philly on Urbanspoon

Closed Reviews

5 Favorite Desserts of 2014

December is a time to look back and reflect on the year that was. Berks County Eats is taking a look back at the best of the best from more than 50 restaurants and 10 festivals we visited in 2014. This week: Our Top Five Favorite Desserts. 

Appetizers make the first impression, but dessert creates a lasting memory. It’s the last thing you eat, but certainly not the least important part of your meal. Here’s a look back at five of the sweetest, most creative desserts we tried in the past year:


Banana Cream DelightAustin’s Restaurant and Bar

Imagine a banana cream pie turned inside-out. That’s the best description I have for Austin’s banana cream delight. It starts with a bed of graham cracker crumbs. Then you add on sliced bananas, a heaping helping of custard and a dollop of whipped cream. The custard was good enough to eat on its own, but together with everything else, it was incredible.


Banana Split Arctic SwirlSchell’s Dairy Swirl

Dairy Queen has their Blizzards, but if you want a soft serve treat in Berks County, it has to be an Arctic Swirl at Schell’s. The banana split version includes vanilla soft serve, fresh banana and bits of strawberry to create a cool treat. It’s the perfect dessert for a retro eatery like Schell’s.


Key Lime Tart and Banans Foster CheesecakeViva Bistro & Lounge

The only thing better than dessert is two desserts. With Viva’s Duets menu, the $35.99 dinner for two included your choice of two mini desserts. The key lime tart was sweet enough to make my mouth pucker and the cheesecake was extra moist. This was a case where we were served both quantity and quality.


Orange Creamsicle Crème Brulee – The Hitching Post Restaurant and Bar

It looked like traditional crème brulee, but it tasted like a popsicle from childhood. The Hitching Post’s orange creamsicle crème brulee was beautifully caramelized with a heaping helping of whipped cream. But it was the citrus twist that took this dessert from delicious to divine.


Vietnamese Banana Cake – Hong Thanh

A cake that was nothing like a cake. With a flaky top crust, layers of bananas and a thick custard, Hong Thanh’s Vietnamese banana cake looked and tasted more like a pie. And a darn good one at that. Add on a dip of ginger ice cream and you have a sweet and spicy dessert that was one of my all-time favorites.

Desserts Features Stories

2 New Restaurants Coming to Wyomissing and more Berks Food News

Dickey’s, Wayback Burgers to open in Wyomissing

Two new restaurants are coming to Wyomissing with the addition of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and Wayback Burgers. Both restaurants will open in the Berkshire Square Shopping Center, which already includes Thaiwat, East Wok, Subway, Taco Bell and Burger King.


Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is a fast casual barbecue restaurant that serves traditional Southern “meat and sides.” It was featured in our recent “5 Chains Berks County Is Missing” blog. Dickey’s will occupy a portion of the former Hobbytown USA next to Redner’s. A “Now Hiring” sign is out front, but the interior is a long way from being ready. No date has been given for opening.


Wayback Burgers, formerly known as Jake’s Wayback Burgers, is a hamburger chain based out of Delaware that has expanded across the United States. Wayback Burgers promises made-to-order food including hand-formed burger patties. Pennsylvania is home to more Wayback Burger locations than any other state with 16, not including the Wyomissing location and another location in Chalfont that is coming soon. The windows of the storefront are completely covered up. No date has been given for the opening.

Johnny G’s Temporarily Closed

Johnny G’s Barbecue on the Avenue in West Reading is temporarily closed. According to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page, one of the issues centers around their smoker. The post goes on to say that they have been asked to remove their smoker due to complaints about the smoke, but they promise to reopen “bigger and stronger.”
Winedown Cafe adding distilled drinks bar

Winedown Cafe in West Reading announced in a video blog that the restaurant is expanding their offerings with the addition of a whiskey, scotch, bourbon bar. WInedown Cafe presents the Distilled Whiskey Room will open in 2015 in the adjacent building, currently Winedown’s special event space. According to the video, the concept is for the bar to be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Food News

Penn Werner Hotel


Like any good Pennsylvania Dutchman, I love a good deal. The phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” is one that I have come to rely on in all parts of life, but especially when it comes to food.

When you are doing a restaurant review every week, I try to save money wherever I can. And one of my favorite ways to pinch pennies is with half-off deals.

You see them all the time: Clipper Magazine’s Double Take Offers,, or any number of other outlets.

The Penn Werner Hotel in Wernersville is a place I had been dying to try so when I saw I could get $30 worth of food for $15 through Reading Eagle Big Deals, it was a deal too good to pass up.

Unlike a lot of restaurants I go to, I was very familiar with the Penn Werner already. I tried the restaurant’s food at the Kempton Pepper Jam, the Hamburg Iron Chef and Wilson Iron Chef. I had also been there once before for their Sunday breakfast buffet.

But I had never actually sat down to dinner in the dining room, so this was something altogether new.

Set on the corner of Penn and Stitzer, the Hotel has a long history dating back to the late 19th Century when Wernersville and South Mountain were renowned for their resorts. While time has taken a toll on the exterior, the building still maintains a lot of its original charm.

Walking from the back parking lot to the front of the building, you pass by the bar room door to the main entrance which leads to two dining areas: straight back, a small room with free-standing tables; to the right, a larger room with tables and bench seating.

From their appearances at the Pepper Jam and Bowers Chile Festival, the Penn Werner has a reputation for their spicy dishes, but the menu is not exclusively hot. There are pastas, burgers, sandwiches and simple entrees. The “Grandma’s Best” section includes pot roast, meat loaf and a one-pound (yes, one-pound) ham slice.

But I came looking for some heat so I ordered a dish you won’t find anywhere else in Berks County: pastalaya.


As the name implies, pastalaya is an alternate take on the classic Creole dish, jambalaya. It featured sausage, shrimp, turkey, bacon, onions, peppers and tomatoes, but instead of rice, the ingredients are tossed with ziti.

I had originally planned on starting my meal with a cup of corn chowder, but after seeing my plate delivered, I was happy to have passed. There was a seemingly endless amount of pasta on the plate with two large pieces of garlic bread.

The dish was described as having “not too much heat” and that was accurate. It was a pleasant burn that was more flavor than fire. Rather than adding more spice to the dish with hot sausage, more flavor was added with smoked sausage. The bacon added salt and a little crunch and there was just enough shrimp that you didn’t forget it was there. I don’t know that it was better than jambalaya, but it was a great new take on a classic.


Looking for something a little spicy for herself, Julie went with the creamy Cajun chicken pasta bowl. The blackened chicken breast was served atop the same mountain of ziti, this time with a light cream sauce and plenty of zest. The pastalaya was a little hotter, but her chicken was just as flavorful.

Unfortunately the generous portions left us no room for dessert, but we did manage to hit our $30 mark ($33 to be exact). So with our special offer, that meant we got both of our meals (and a Pepsi) for $18.

If you’re ever looking to try a new place, or just looking to stretch your budget, look for deals and coupons because they are a great way to save some dollars.

And if you’re looking to add a little spice to dinner, make a trip to the Penn Werner Hotel.

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Good
Ambiance: Fair
Price: Reasonable

Penn Werner Hotel
5 E. Penn Ave
Wernersville, PA 19565

Penn Werner Hotel on Urbanspoon

Lunch & Dinner Reviews