Two more restaurants Close; More on Muddy’s situation; Many restaurants on vacation; and more food news

Windy Acres Barbecue Restaurant closes


Windy Acres Barbecue Restaurant has closed, according to a post on its official Facebook page. June 26 was the last day for the restaurant, which was located north of Kutztown along Route 222. According to the post, Windy Acres will continue its catering services and has two upcoming events: July 11 at the PA BBQ Fest in Leesport and July 18 at Saucony Creek Brewing Company in Kutztown.

Donuts Divine/Mamma B’s Pizza closes

The joint venture between Donuts Divine and Mamma B’s Pizza closed late last week. Both the website and Facebook page for Mamma B’s were shut down early last week and a For Sale sign now sits in front of the building. Donuts Divine posted an update on its Facebook page on Saturday saying that they had left the partnership in May to return to their other careers and Mama B’s had been continuing the business until closing last week. Mamma B’s had been located inside the Renninger’s Farmers Market in Kutztown before teaming with Donuts Divine in January.

More details about Muddy’s revealed

Last week we reported on the closing of Muddy’s Smokehouse BBQ in Robesonia after the restaurant was unable to work out a new lease with its landlord. Originally, the restaurant had planned to open for the weekend in conjunction with the Robesonia Street Fair, but the restaurant never opened on Friday. A note on the door said that the utilities had been turned off. The restaurant gave more details on Facebook, saying that when they went in to open on Friday, the phone and Internet had been disconnected making it impossible for them to accept credit cards or to take orders. Muddy’s Oley location continues to thrive and is accepting all gift certificates purchased in Robesonia.

Multiple restaurants closed for vacations

As the July 4 holiday nears, many of Berks County’s locally owned restaurants are closing for vacation. Here is a full list of restaurants that we can confirm:

Chef Alan’s American Bistro, West Reading: July 2 – July 10
Crave Cafe, Sinking Spring: June 28 – July 5
Holy Crepe, Kutztown: June 29 – July 5
Musso’s, Exeter: July 4 – July 14
Russo’s Pizza, Hamburg: June 29 – July 6
Saville’s Diner, Boyertown: June 29 – July 10
Sebastiano’s, Reading: June 29 – July 13
TomCat Cafe, Sinking Spring: July 1-7
Vincenzo’s, Amityville: June 29 – July 5

One other restaurant has a vacation scheduled for later in the month:

C&C Pizza, Strausstown – July 13-19

Mimmo’s closes for renovations

Mimmo’s Restaurant & Pizzeria is current closed for renovations, according to its official Facebook page. The restaurant is in the middle of a remodeling project, and has been forced to shut down for two weeks while work is completed. Mimmo’s closure began yesterday and continues through July 12. The restaurant is scheduled to reopen on July 13.

Food News
Tlacuani Rice and Beans

Tlacuani Mexican Restaurant and Grill


Since I started Berks County Eats as a part-time hobby in 2012, I have only had two dinners that didn’t live up to my expectations.

One of those was La Cocina Mexicana in Kutztown. It was one of my earliest reviews, and one of the most disappointing, with food that our party of four all found to be bland and tasteless, the complete opposite of what Mexican food should be.

La Cocina notwithstanding, there are still plenty of places in Berks County to get great Mexican food. One of those is Tlacuani Mexican Restaurant in Temple.

Tlacuani literally means “someone who eats things” or “glutton” in the Aztec language of Nahautl (thank you Google Books search). That suits me just fine because if the food’s good, I have no problem being a glutton when I go out to eat.


The dining room is vibrant. Some would call it gaudy. The tables, each one carved with a scene of life in Mexico, are painted in bright colors with matching chairs. Shades of orange, blue, red, green and pink pop against the off-white tile floor.


Our six-person table, which felt empty with just the two of us, had a scene set outside an old adobe building. The sides and all of the chairs were painted green, with alternating scenes of rural towns and a man riding a ox.

It’s a stark contrast from the homey feel of the building overall. Our table was directly in front of the original fireplace. Above it, behind a sculpture on the mantle, is a metal plate that reads, “Temple Hotel. 1853.”


Like many (all?) Mexican restaurants, the meal began with free chips and salsa, but Tlacuani’s was unlike any we had tried before. The salsa was not the standard red tomato mixture. Instead, there were two options: a slaw-like mixture with green chilies mixed in, and a green syrup-like sauce.

Both packed a serious punch and had us refilling our drinks before we had got through half of our chips. Any worries we had about our meal being bland were quickly thrown out the window.

Tlacuani offers a more varied menu than some other Mexican restaurants we have tried before. Sure, there are plenty of options for enchiladas, burritos and tacos, but there seemed to be more entree options, or at least more than appealed to me, including the chiles en nogada.


Two stuffed poblano peppers arrived, each one stuffed with a mixture of steak, pork, almonds and fruit, topped with white sauce and dried cranberries, and served with four tortillas.

The peppers easily peeled apart into strips that laid nicely on my shells. I piled on the filling (and rice and beans for good measure) and dug in. It was love at first bite. Poblanos are on the mild end of the heat spectrum, but that was enough spice to cut through the sweetness of the filling. The sauce was delicious, and though simple, the dried cranberries were a pleasant surprise every time I found one on my fork.

Sopes were another dish that I had not seen before. Perhaps I’ve skimmed over it in other places, but Julie spotted it on the menu at Tlacuani and decided to order it.


The description was rather vague, only saying that there would be two soft corn sopes topped with choice of meat, with beans, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, but no mention of what a sope is. I blame my ignorance on the Pennsylvania Dutch in me.

It turns out that sopes are little corn pockets that look like hollowed-out waffles but are crispy like a taco salad shell. The meat (in this case, chorizo), was buried inside with the veggies loaded on top. It was close to a taco, but the sopes were heavier with more corn flavor. And the chorizo added all of the spice needed to make it a perfect dish.

We had really hoped to finish our meal with some fried ice cream, but neither of us had any room for dessert so we asked for our check—just under $30 for the two of us.

Three years ago, I walked out of La Cocina disappointed.

This trip to Tlacuani definitely did not disappoint.

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

Tlacuani Mexican Restuarant
5005 Kutztown Rd
Temple, PA 19560

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Lunch & Dinner Mexican Reviews

Source: Muddy’s Robesonia to close after Sunday

muddy-s-robesoniaMuddy’s Smokehouse BBQ will be closing its Robesonia location after Sunday. According to a source close to the situation, the restaurant’s lease is up at the end of the month and ownership has not been able to work out a deal with the landlord to keep the doors open. Unless something changes between now and Monday, the restaurant will be forced to close following its Sunday dinner service.

This is the second time that the popular barbecue restaurant has had issues with location. The original Muddy’s along Pricetown Road was forced to close because of zoning and traffic issues. Muddy’s still maintains a second location in Oley Township.

UPDATE: Muddy’s Robesonia location is now closed. The Oley location is accepting all gift certificates issued in Robesonia.


Food News

Dragon 21 gets bad news; Boston House sold; and more food news

Dragon 21 losing legal battle over building

Fleetwood’s Dragon 21 has been dealt bad news in its ongoing legal battle over its building. According to the restaurant’s official Facebook page, the Berks County Redevelopment Authority now has possession of the property after a judge signed an Order of Possession. The long-term plan is to tear down the building that houses the restaurant in order to improve the intersection. Dragon 21 owners say the compensation they are being offered is not enough to relocate and will force the restaurant of out of business.

Boston House sold

Reading’s Boston House will be under new ownership starting next week, according to an article in the June 23 Reading Eagle. According to the article, Matei and Maria Molnar, who have owned the restaurant since 1987, are selling to Reading resident Claudio Silva. The breakfast and lunch spot is located on the 900 block of Penn Street.

Gianotti’s Robesonia reopens

Gianotti’s Family Restaurant in Robesonia has reopened under a new name. The newly minted Gianotti’s Italian Kitchen is now open. The restaurant had been closed since February for renovations.

The Works expanding with bigger bar

The Works at Wyomissing is expanding once again, this time to create a new bar area that it says will be the biggest in the area. According to the restaurant’s official Facebook page, the new bar will open on July 10.

Food News

Basil Restaurant and Pizzeria – CLOSED


Basil Restaurant and Pizzeria is now closed. The restaurant shut its doors in spring 2017. A new restaurant, Cosa Pizzeria & Restaurant opened in the space in May 2017.

A great chef is critical to the success of a restaurant.

The chef is more than just a cook, he is the leader in the kitchen, and is the one responsible for sending the customers home happy.

Berks County has many great chefs (just check out either of the two Iron Chef competitions at Wilson or Hamburg), many of them classically trained in the Old World style.

One such chef is Chef Gianluca Longo, who created Basil Restaurant and Pizzeria in Fritztown.

Basil is hidden in a non-descript building that looks more like a warehouse than a restaurant. Even with the roadside sign, many people probably drive by without a second glance.

Inside, the restaurant is full of character. It is split into two rooms: the pizzeria and the dining room. The pizzeria is bright, open and filled with families.

The dining room has softer light, most of it coming from the lamps hanging on the burgundy walls. A never-ending waterfall cascades along the length of the rear wall.

In the back of the menu is a welcome letter from chef Longo where he tells the story of his climb through the culinary ranks, from his start as a dishwasher at age 11 in Catanzaro, Italy, through jobs in Milan and Miami, to the opening of Basil, his first restaurant.

The dining room menu is filled with Italian favorites, starting with pizza—choose from 14 specialty pies or create your own with more than 25 toppings—and continuing through a variety of chicken, seafood, beef and veal entrees.

Basil’s menu also includes a lengthy list of homemade pasta dishes, which is where my eyes started and ended.

I wanted to try angolotti, a ravioli dish filled with beef and prosciutto with bescaimella sauce, but was disappointed to learn that it was removed from the menu a month ago. So in its place, I settled on spinach ravioli.


I was expecting traditional ravioli filled with spinach, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was baked into the oversized pasta squares, evident by the green hue that stuck out beneath the sea of red.

Of course with a name like basil, the herb is going to make an appearance in every dish. It was very much a part of the sauce, giving it a distinct sweetness. I wouldn’t have minded a cup of it on the side to drink.

Each bite made me want more, and somehow I managed to pack away the whole dish.


Basil (the herb) even starred in the garden salad, where it was mixed with the sliced tomatoes for a delicious appetizer.

The stuffed shells, which Julie also ordered off the homemade pasta menu, were covered in marinara sauce and melted provolone cheese. A mix of beef and ricotta filled each one.


The sauce on her dish differed from my own, with a deeper flavor, one that tasted more like sun-dried tomatoes than those that are fresh-picked. It was a perfect match for the dish.

On this night, we also had Julie’s parents with us. Both of them were also very happy with their meals, even my father-in-law, who was still raving about his veal Parmesan the next day.

For the four of us, our total came in at just under $70, which seemed very reasonable knowing that I was the only one to clean the plate so we were taking three more meals home with us.

In Chef Longo’s letter, he ends with this: “Your satisfaction is not only my goal, but also my measure of success.”

In my mind, there is no doubt that Chef Longo is a success.

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Closed Reviews

4 Food Events Not to Miss this Weekend

This weekend is one of the busiest of the year for Berks County, and that’s a good thing for food lovers. Saturday is filled with events that are sure to fill your stomach. Here’s four not to miss:

Centre Park Gourmet Garden Tour


Tour some of Reading’s most beautiful gardens while sampling some of Berks County’s best foods and wines at the annual Centre Park Gourmet Garden Tour. Saturday evening from 5 until 9 p.m., guests can make their way from garden to garden, enjoying samples from area restaurants and vendors, including Panevino, Aladdin Restaurant, Sofrito Gastro Pub and Aulenbach Wines. Also from 6 to 10 p.m., check out the Beer Garden, with free drink samples, food and live music at the Inn at Centre Park.

Tickets are sold separately for the tour and the beer garden and are $23 in advance, and $25 on the day of. Combo tickets are $40.

Art on the Avenue


West Reading hosts its biggest block party of the year on Saturday with the annual Art on the Avenue. Penn Avenue will be lined with top artists and craftsmen from around the region from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additionally, many of West Reading’s restaurants will be set up outside or offering specials for the event. Live music and street performers can also be seen throughout the day.

Apple Dumpling Festival / Berks Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival

The 60-year tradition that is the Apple Dumpling Festival is going on now in Sinking Spring’s Willow Glen Park. The festival offers tons of great food, including the namesake apple dumplings, but this year it is adding to that in a big way with the first annual Berks Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival on Saturday from 12 noon to 10 p.m. The special day of entertainment includes live blues music, local microbrews, and plenty of ribs, pork, chicken and brisket. The festival is open from 5:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday and 2 to 11 p.m. on Saturday.

The Truck Stops Here – Mobile Madness!

The region’s top food trucks will all be gathered at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles this Saturday for the first annual “The Truck Stops Here – Mobile Madness!” food truck festival. Local vendors include The Cow and the Curd, Luscious Bakery, Gourmand and Local 215. The Ocean Roll Truck, which operates out of a 1961 Canteen Truck built at the Boyertown Auto Body Works, is coming all the way from Kennebunkport, Maine to serve fresh lobster rolls. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is included with $5 museum admission.


Food Festivals & Events

Road Trip: Stephen’s on State


Berks County Eats crosses the county line to bring you some of the best dining both near and far. This edition takes us an hour southeast of Reading to Media, PA.

As much as I love exploring (and tasting) Berks County, sometimes life takes me to faraway places.

That was the case last week as Julie and I ventured to Media, Delaware County, where her brother now calls home, and where we met her family for dinner on the town.

Media is one of Philadelphia’s most happening suburbs with a bustling downtown and a big city feel. There’s a lot to do, but more importantly, there’s a lot of places to eat.

A restaurant they always mentioned among the popular spots in Media was Stephen’s on State. On a recent visit, they suggested it for a nice dinner. They’re the experts so we just followed along.

State Street is essentially a row of restaurants packed one next to the other, and if you look at the review sites, Stephen’s has received mixed reviews.

One of the common complaints I see about Stephen’s on State is that the service is slow, but our waitress, who introduced herself as Julie (easy enough to remember), was very attentive all evening, constantly returning to refill our water and check on us throughout our stay.

We were seated at a round table tucked in a small alcove between the bar room and the more formal dining area. It was a tight squeeze for a table of six, but it never felt uncomfortable.


Stephen’s dinner menu is not very big. There are 10 entrees to go with six choices of steak. Being at a steakhouse with a manly appetite, I chose one of Stephen’s “signature steak” options, a spice crusted steak with garlic shallot butter.

The big, beautiful cut of meat was served atop a bed of mashed potatoes and French cut green beans in a red wine sauce. And it was delicious.

The steak had a beautiful crust from the spices which helped seal in the juicy flavor. The spice combination reminded me a little of a Memphis rub—a little sweet, a little salty with the slightest kick at the end.

With every bite-sized piece that I cut, I soaked up as much of the red wine sauce as I could, especially as the steak began to shed its spicy coat.

As flavorful as the steak was, the mashed potatoes were a tad bland, but they did soak up the au jus which greatly helped.

Having few entrees to choose from and a much smaller appetite, Julie decided to create her own meal with a pair of appetizers.


She started her meal with a cup of French onion soup. The presentation was beautiful with the bubbly cheese on top melting over the sides of the crock. It tasted just as good as it looked with a flavorful broth and plenty of onions and bread pieces throughout.


Part two of her meal was very different, but just as cheesy: a smoked chicken quesadilla. The cheesy pocket was topped with salsa, guacamole and chipotle sauce. It was good, but we both agreed that the French onion was better.


Along with our meals, Stephen’s also gave us complimentary loaves of sesame seed-topped bread with olive oil dipping sauce, a delicious pairing that helped hold us over until our dinners arrived.

The other common complaint on review sites is related to price. Stephen’s is not inexpensive—my steak cost more than $30 and Julie’s pairing came to $15—but it didn’t feel unfair, especially for the amount of food and the quality of it. At the time, I did wish I had a starter salad, but I still left on a full stomach.

Stephen’s on State may not be a darling on Internet review sites, but the menu proudly proclaims 13 years in business in downtown Media. Our experience was great, and the busy bar area showed that it certainly has a loyal following among the locals.

Media is not a destination that many Berks Countians are likely to find themselves in. But those who go will surely not go home hungry. If Stephen’s on State is any indication, you’ll be going home happy too.

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Finer Dining Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Black Dog Cafe Closes Again and more food news

Black Dog Cafe Closes

The reincarnation of Stouchsburg’s Black Dog Cafe has closed, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page. The original Black Dog Cafe closed in August of last year, but re-opened under new ownership in December. The new Black Dog Cafe was owned by the same partners as Johnny & Hon’s Smokehouse in Robesonia and Johnny & Hon’s Grill on Kutztown Road.

Van’s Cafe sets moving date

West Reading’s Van’s Cafe is readying for a move to its new location. A sign on the door of the current location at 448 Penn Ave says the restaurant will be closed starting June 22 and will re-open at its new location, one block west, on August 1. Van’s Cafe is a Vietnamese restaurant specializing in pho.

Wayback Burgers of Wyomissing offering BOGO burgers this weekend

Wayback Burgers of Wyomissing is celebrating its official grand opening this weekend with buy-one-get-one-free Wayback Classic burgers all day on Friday and Saturday. In conjunction with the event, Wayback Burgers will be holding a fundraiser for Relay for Life of Western Berks, with a representative from the charitable organization on hand all weekend. Though this week is the official grand opening, the restaurant has been open at the location since early February. Wayback Burgers is a fast casual chain specializing in burgers and shakes with locations in 22 states, including 17 in Pennsylvania.

Food News

CeGee’s Drive-In


When I go out to eat during the summer, I’m looking for something very different than any other time in the year.

I can’t explain why, but something about the warm months makes me crave less gourmet meals and more fast food. Thankfully, Berks County has no shortage of home-grown restaurants offering an alternative to the Big Mac.

A few weeks ago we traveled south on Route 222 to Boehringer’s. But a short drive in the other direction brings you to another summer-only spot where ice cream is king.

CeGee’s Drive-In sits on Fleetwood-Blandon Road, just a short piece from where the Route 222 bypass ends and the two-lane begins.

This season marks the 11th for CeGee’s. For the first nine of those years, the parking lot would fill up on select Saturday nights for the popular restaurant, a tradition that ended last year with the arrival of a new retail store next door that took away the extra parking needed.

Even without the cruise nights, the restaurant remains busy. When we arrived on a warm Saturday afternoon for lunch, most of the booths that lined that dining room were full with families.

One difference between CeGee’s and similar restaurants that we’ve visited like Boehringer’s and Schell’s is that CeGee’s has a much larger food menu than the others. In addition to the staples like hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries, the menu includes cheesesteaks, chicken fingers, and a variety of sides like jalapeno poppers and pierogis.


But when the sign outside proclaims “Coney Island,” there’s really only one option.

Coney Island hamburgers are a favorite of mine, but there are not a lot of places in Berks County to get one anymore.


It’s a simple pleasure: a traditional hamburger patty covered in onions and Coney Island sauce, and CeGee’s does it really well. The sauce is somewhere between hamburger barbecue and chili with the meat ground really fine. It’s a just a little sweet, a great topper to a tasty burger.


Julie also was hungry for a burger, ordering the bacon cheeseburger. The American cheese was melted on top of the bacon, smothering everything for a delicious meal.


Planning ahead to dessert, we decided to split an order of fries. The thick cut spuds were good, but not unlike any other fast food joint.

While the lunch and dinners are good, it is ice cream that is CeGee’s real bread and butter, so to speak. The soft serve only comes in two flavors—vanilla and chocolate—but those two flavors are just a starting point for flavor burst dips, a dozen different sundaes, countless milkshake flavors and nor’easters, CeGee’s version of the Blizzard.


And then there’s the classic banana split which was just too tempting to resist. Three mounds of soft serve topped with pineapple, chocolate and strawberries, a load of whipped cream and the obligatory cherry on top, it was perfection in a plastic boat.


A chocolate crunch nor’easter sounded good to Julie. Essentially cookies and cream, the vanilla soft serve was swirled with chocolate cookie bits. It’s impossible to go wrong with that flavor combination.

Dessert almost cost as much as our meal, which says more about how reasonable the food prices are at CeGee’s. All told, we spent just over $20 during our visit.

As with most of the summer drive-ins, there’s nothing fancy about CeGee’s. The food is good, the ice cream is fantastic, and there’s plenty of each to choose from.

It was a great place to satisfy my fast food craving.

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

CeGee’s Drive-In
833 Park Rd
Blandon, PA 19510

Dessert Drive-Ins Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Laxmi’s Indian Grille


Berks County has been going through a restaurant boom for well over a year now. It seems like new restaurants have been popping up constantly in recent months.

And nowhere is that more evident than Wyomissing. For a while it felt like I was reporting weekly on a new restaurant coming to or opening in the Reading suburb.

Among those restaurants are a Philly-area sports bar, an Irish pub, a retro hamburger chain and two barbecue restaurants. But to me, the most intriguing of all of the new openings had to be Laxmi’s Indian Grille.

The State Hill Road location is the third for the Philadelphia-based operation. The first location in Manyunk led to a second in East Falls in 2013. Now, the micro chain has expanded west, all the way to Berks County.

Laxmi’s opened in January in a State Hill Rd strip mall that also included Mama’s Original Pizza and Alebrije Mexican Restaurant (which has since moved).

A surprisingly large number of seats are squeezed inside the restaurant. Booths line the outside with four-person tables running through the middle.


The tables are all pre-set with plates for appetizers and cloth napkins. Three chutney sauces are set in in the middle of the table waiting for the complimentary basket of papadum, a wafer-thin dish that is similar to a tortilla, but crispier.


It was light and airy, but did well to soak up the flavors of the chutney. Chutney is a very general term for a lot of different condiments, and the three on the table could not have been more different.

The first was a dark, reddish-brown sauce that was very runny. It was similar to a chili sauce, but thinner and with a little bit of fruity flavor to it. The second was the green chutney, which was close to a green taco sauce but the spice was more tolerable. The third, my favorite of the three, was tomato based and closer to salsa, but with bits of carrots. It was more sweet than spicy and the chunky texture was great for the papadum.

Laxmi’s menu is not very big, but it is diverse in its offerings. There are nine curry dishes, all of which can be served with vegetables, paneer (a type of south Asian cheese), chicken, lamb or seafood. There are also several tandoor-prepared items including kababs and tandoori chicken.

All of the items sounded delicious, but I finally decided on one of the curries: chicken jalfrezi.


Jalfrezi looks very similar to the more well-known tikka masala, but the two are very different dishes. Despite its red color, jalfrezi is onion-based. Green peppers, ginger and garlic are also listed as ingredients in the menu description.

The dish was very flavorful. The onions were easy to pick up, but more for the sweetness they added than for any potency. I dumped every last drop that I could onto my plate, dousing my pile of rice in the sweet red sauce.


Back in April, when I took a road trip to Saffron in Ambler, I thoroughly enjoyed their korma. I guess it sounded good to Julie because at Laxmi’s, she ordered the chicken korma.


The two versions of the cashew-based dish were very similar. Both were creamy with a nice nutty flavor. The spices were a little stronger with Laxmi’s dish, making just that much better than what I tried a month ago.

Along with our main dishes, we ordered a side of naan. While Laxmi’s offered eight versions of the bread, but we went with the plain version.


It was anything but plain. It was soft and buttery, like pillowy pitas. They were perfect for soaking up the last of the jalfrezi on my plate.

Our total for the visit was just over $30, but we were probably closer to the low end of the price range (some of the tandoori entrees are in the $20-$25 range). Still, the food packs flavor that is well-worth the price.

Laxmi’s Indian Grille is one of many restaurant chains that have expanded into Berks County, but it may be among the best. If all of the new restaurants are of the quality of Laxmi’s, there’s going to be a lot of happy customers to go with them.

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

Laxmi’s Indian Grille
1806 State Hill Rd
Wyomissing, PA 19610

Indian Lunch & Dinner Reviews