Most times, I only get to visit a restaurant once before writing a review. But in the past two months, I have had two meetings in downtown Reading — one over breakfast and one over lunch — and both were at the previously unknown-to-me 6th Street Deli.
You won’t find the 6th Street Deli on Yelp. Or TripAdvisor. Or Zomato. They have a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated since 2012 and a website that isn’t much newer.
My first visit came on a Wednesday morning in early December. It was late in the breakfast service, about 9 a.m. Everyone was already at work leaving the restaurant mostly empty.
The hot bar was only about half-full and probably wouldn’t be restocked until lunch. I filled a Styrofoam clamshell with a little bit of everything. Meals are priced out by weight at the counter so I kept that in the back of my mind while dipping out my meal.
After paying a little more than $5 at the register (I also had a Clover Farms chocolate milk), I retreated to the back of the restaurant where most of the seating is located.
Six or seven round tables are set in the dining area (a handful of two-person tables are in the front as well). A TV on the wall was playing an old direct-to-video holiday special that I didn’t recognize.
My meal was a mix of familiar and unfamiliar breakfast foods. Nothing is labeled so I am still not exactly sure about everything that was on my plate.
What I did recognize were the breakfast potatoes, yucca and the sausage patty. The potatoes were good, diced and cooked like a typical American diner would do them.
The yucca was very different. It was cooked in the Dominican style with onions and vinegar that gives it a slightly sour taste. But it’s an enjoyable sour in the same way as sauerkraut. I also took a scoop of mashed yucca, which had pickled onions, but a little less pungent flavor.
Also on the plate was queso frito, a fried cheese dish that is another Dominican breakfast staple. It looks kind of like the insides of a mozzarella stick, but was surprisingly tasty. I wish I had gotten there when it was fresh out of the pan because it would probably would have been my favorite thing on the plate.
A month later and I returned to the 6th Street Deli for another meeting, this time over lunch. It was a rare opportunity for me to experience two meals at a restaurant before writing a review.
I’m glad I waited because lunch was delicious.
It was about 1 p.m. when I arrived, and the lunch rush was still in full swing. The hot bar was fully stocked, as was the salad bar on the opposite wall which I hadn’t even noticed on my first visit.
Skipping the salad, I filled up on a variety of hot items including rice and beans, meatballs in marinara sauce, candied sweet potatoes, fried plantains, baked beans and more yucca.
The rice and beans were excellent, as was the soupy, baked-bean like dish that I found next to it. The candied sweet potatoes were very good as well (especially with the little bit of marshmallow I found with it). The yucca was just as good as I remembered. And the plantains were a sweet little ending to the meal.
What I, and the other five people I was with, hadn’t counted on was being delivered a complimentary plate of pineapple bread pudding.
Cut up in bite size pieces for us to try, we all happily dug in. It was incredible. The pineapple filling oozed out from between the layers of bread. The whole thing just melted away in your mouth.
Like breakfast, my lunch was inexpensive, coming in at just over $7 (obligatory chocolate milk included).
The restaurant is one of many in the city that caters to those who work downtown, offering weekday-only breakfast and lunch service (though I did see them open in the evening prior to a concert at the Performing Arts Center). Because it’s a self-serve buffet, the wait is never very long so go during the busiest hours to ensure you’re getting the freshest food and the best experience.
There’s not much parking on 6th Street, but that’s OK. You don’t go into the city to visit the Deli; you go to the Deli because you’re in the city.
And while I probably won’t make a special trip downtown just to eat there, I’ll certainly eat there again when I find myself downtown.