There is no denying that the Fairgrounds Farmers Market has some great places to eat.
More than a dozen stands offer some kind of hot food service along with the many fresh produce and meat stands throughout.
Among all of the vendors, Williams Family Restaurant stands out.
Let’s be clear: William’s Family Restaurant is not a farmers market stand. It’s a diner that just happens to be in a farmers market.
The restaurant has about 20 tables and a small lunch counter (almost as many seats as the rest of the market combined), all of which were full when we arrived a little before 9 a.m. There was one other couple in line in front of us, but it didn’t take long for a booth to open up.
In a room that was obviously filled with “regulars,” we were probably among the few people that our waittress didn’t know by name. Still, she was very attentive, and we never felt out of place.
Like all good diners, things happen quick at William’s. Only a little more than 10 minutes after we sat down, our breakfast was on the table.
I love sweets at breakfast. That’s why I ordered the stuffed French toast with strawberries.
Two thick slices of toast were sitting on my plate. They had been lined up so perfectly that I wasn’t sure whether they were actually stuffed until I slid the top layer off to reveal the bright red strawberry filling.
It was everything I was hoping for. Every bite was filled with strawberry and cream cheese for the sweetness I craved. And the two slices of French toast were done perfectly.
I had a more savory side with my corned beef hash. It didn’t look nearly as appetizing as the French toast (hash rarely does), but it was diner food at its best.
It was a little greasy and nicely crisp from the grill. The meat was ground finer than some places, which made it look wetter. In reality, it just let the meat seep into every bite.
Julie also went sweet with her red, white and blue waffle.
Strawberries (red), bananas (white) and blueberries (blue) topped a plate-sized Belgian waffle. The strawberries were in the same gooey syrup as my strawberry filling while the blueberries and bananas were fresh.
The whole thing was dusted with powdered sugar (it didn’t need it). The syrup helped the strawberry get into every nook and cranny so while she didn’t get all three fruits in every bite, she always had at least a little strawberry.
With as fast as they turned the tables over, we had our check as Julie was polishing off the last bites of her waffle.
At $17, it was one of the cheapest meals that we have ever had on a Berks County Eats trip. And we certainly got more than our money’s worth because I didn’t need to eat a lunch after finishing my meal.
By the time we were heading out the door, a large crowd had gathered outside. I’m sure they didn’t have to wait long.
William’s Family Restaurant is definitely not your typical farmers market stand. It’s a real old-fashioned diner with good food, good portions and great prices.
It just happens to be surrounded by a market.