Growing up in the far western reaches of Berks County, Boyertown always felt like a world away. I only remember going there once when I was younger (for a double-digit loss in a Junior Legion baseball game). Even through more than a year of weekly reviews on Berks County Eats, the map of my visits had a noticeable gap in that part of the county.
It’s not for lack of wanting: a combination of bad timing and poor planning on my part had left the area as uncharted territory. I knew I had to make an extra effort to get there so my wife and I carved out time on a Saturday morning and headed east for a late morning visit to one of the more popular spots in town, the Jukebox Cafe.
The Jukebox Cafe sits along Reading Avenue to the south of downtown. The two-tiered parking lot was nearly full when we arrived, but we grabbed one of the few remaining spaces and took the stairs down to the front door.
The diner plays up on the jukebox theme with a decor reminiscent of a 1950s drive-in with a checkerboard trim, musical notes and records on every wall. Inside the front door was the namesake jukebox, though I have no idea if it actually works. With a number of groups waiting ahead of us for seats, no one would have been able to get to it if they wanted to.
We took a number and I grabbed a copy of the Boyertown Bulletin and passed the time reading about Amelia Earhart’s connection to Boyertown and brushing up on my Pennsylvania Dutch with an article on planting potatoes.
There is not a lot of seating in the dining area, but the tables were turned over quickly so we did not have to wait long before we were escorted to a corner booth.
Going in, I had every intention of ordering lunch; a burger and fries was sounding really good. I decided to take a look through the breakfast menu anyway (because like all great diners, they serve breakfast all day).
That’s when my eyes spotted four words I had never before seen together: cinnamon bun French toast. I realized then that my burger would have to wait another day.
I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting until the plate was laid in front of me. It turns out that it is exactly what it sounds like: two cinnamon rolls that have been put through an egg wash and grilled like French toast. A layer of whipped cream was sandwiched between the two rolls, and the whole thing was swimming in strawberry syrup with more whipped cream on the side.
With every forkful, the warm cinnamon filling oozed out of the center. Somehow it managed to taste both like a cinnamon roll and French toast without sacrificing either flavor. The strawberry topping was something I never tasted along side a cinnamon roll before, but those sweet, fruity notes were a perfect match. The whipped cream was just the icing on the cake (or cinnamon roll, as it were), adding one more layer to an already divine dish.
To temper the sweetness of the main course, I also ordered a side of home fries with onions. For its home fries, Jukebox Cafe uses red skins potatoes which are so much more flavorful than yellow potatoes to start. With the mound of fried onions on top, it was a delicious, though unnecessary add-on as the cinnamon roll French toast would have been more than satisfying on its own.
Julie also opted for breakfast during our visit, ordering the Little Richard: an omelet filled with bacon, tomato and cheddar. The ingredients were finely chopped with a pool of cheddar inside to ensure a flavorful bite every time. Her meal also included home fries and toast for a hearty breakfast.
Everything we had was enjoyable and made the trip to Boyertown worthwhile. With a check totaling less than $20, the prices are pretty good too.
Whether the jukebox plays or not seems irrelevant because the real star at the Jukebox Cafe isn’t the jukebox, it’s the food.