Kutztown’s Main Street is one of the busiest in Berks County. An array of storefronts: shopping, services and restaurants (with a few residences thrown in) line the blocks from the edge of Kutztown University’s campus to the railroad tracks that bisect the town.
The more than a dozen eateries along Main Street cover just about every type of cuisine you could want: Chinese, Italian, sushi, barbecue, sandwiches, salads: you name it, and you’re likely to find it.
One of the most popular restaurants downtown, the Kutztown Tavern offers one of the most diverse menus in town.
Known simply as “The Tavern” to residents and students, alike, the Kutztown Tavern is housed in one of the largest buildings on Main Street. With a seemingly endless bar, a nice sized dining room and large upstairs event space, the restaurant is expansive. In addition, the building (which is actually two connected buildings) includes Shorty’s Bar, the Tavern Take-Out counter service and the Golden Avalanche Brewing Company.
Brewery equipment becomes part of the decor in the bar area as the system of vats and pipes that create the signature brew are in plain view just inside the front door.
Not being a fan of beer, myself, I was pleased to see Kutztown Red Cream Soda—a personal favorite of mine—on the beverage list.
A deep menu provides a wide range of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees. Everything from soft pretzels and 10 flavors of wings to Black Diamond steaks and seafood scampi. For me, a 9-ounce burger topped with Avalanche chili sounded like a winning combination.
The burger arrived on a toasted sesame seed bun. Chili poured over the edges and onto the plate below. All tavern burgers are served with lettuce, tomato and onion on the side, and I was more than happy to pile them on.
The burger was cooked perfectly with a nice little char around the outside. The mild chili added more flavor without being overwhelming (messy, yes; overpowering, no). And I certainly did not regret the curly fries, perfectly crisped, zesty additions to an already full plate.
Among the multitude of menu options are the “house smoked” offerings, three barbecue selections that are smoked in-house at the tavern. One of those—the brisket, cheddar and onion—caught Julie’s eye immediately.
Meat and cheese more than filled the toasted ciabatta roll. The brisket was flavorful, with a fair amount of fat left on for extra flavor. The sharp cheddar worked well with the sweet barbecue sauce and grilled onions to create a delicious sandwich.
The only part of our meal that I thought could have been better was the price. The $2.89 charge for fries (instead of the standard potato chips) brought our total bill up to $35.00 for the two of us. I guess that is the cost of quality, however, as we were treated to excellent food and surprisingly speedy service.
For the past 15 years, the Tavern has been a popular go-to spot along Main Street. After our visit, it was easy to see why. When food, location, ambiance and service come together all come together, it makes for a great restaurant.