CD’s Place

cd-s-place-exterior

Waiting is the hardest part of every meal. The long wait I had for my meal at CD’s Place had nothing to do with service.

Allow me to explain.

The restaurant prioritizes its catering business, closing the Boyertown restaurant whenever they have a catering engagement.

It must be working for them because there have been many Saturdays that I have wanted to visit, only to see on Facebook that they are closed for catering.

Good for them. Bad for this food blogger.

Finally, the stars aligned and I saw the following post on Wednesday: “HEY! We’re actually gonna be open our regular hours this week!!”

I knew where we were going to lunch.

cd-s-place-interior

Julie and I arrived in Boyertown a little before noon and pulled in behind the distinctive cup-shaped building.

The building is a real throwback, an example of roadside architecture that you just don’t see anymore. But it also has its drawbacks, including an awkwardly small seating area with tables for two and the longest counter seating area that I have ever seen.

Somehow it all just adds to the charm of the place.

Now that I was finally there, there was really only one question remaining: what the heck was I going to eat?

cd-s-place-jamaican-omelet

It was lunch time, but breakfast is served all day. I think I found the perfect way to do both: the Jamaican omelet. It’s a hearty omelet filled with jerk chicken and fried onions, served with a side of homefries.

First surprise, the chicken was chunked, not shredded or pulled. I’ve never had jerk chicken that was cubed before. Second surprise, it was really good jerk chicken.

Not too spicy, not too salty, it was the right blend of spice to fill an omelet. And fried onions, as I’ve mentioned before in this blog, make everything better for me.

The homefries were simple, just fried red-skinned potatoes. Nothing fancy, but it doesn’t need to be when you use the more flavorful potato variety.

cd-s-place-two-eggs-over-baked-corn-andouille-hash

Julie, meanwhile, couldn’t stop raving about her meal of two eggs over baked corn andouille hash.

Eggs are eggs, but the hash was definitely worth talking about. She only allowed me one bite, but it was a great bite.

The hash is an original, unlike anything I’ve found anywhere else. The sausage was tasty choice, but what really stood out was the corn that added an unexpected sweetness to the dish. It was a delicious, hearty breakfast that made for a great lunch, too.

In true diner fashion, the food was fast and reasonably priced. Our two meals were just $17 (full disclosure, we only had water to drink).

Finally, I have tasted CD’s Place and it is everything I had hoped for and more. It’s one of the most unique, funkiest joints (sorry, I’m watching Guy Fieri as I write this) in Berks County.

Just be sure to check ahead to make sure they’re open.

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

CD’s Place
237 N Reading Ave.
Boyertown, PA 19512

C D's Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breakfast & Brunch Cafes & Coffeeshops Diners Reviews

Dawn’s Deli

dawn-s-deli-exterior

First impressions are vitally important, especially when it comes to restaurants. They make or break opinions, determining whether and when you’ll be back.

One restaurant that made a great first impression on me recently was Dawn’s Deli, a little place from the little town of Lenhartsville in northern Berks County.

I had never heard of Dawn’s Deli before this year’s Taste of Hamburg-er Festival. As far as I knew, the only restaurant in Lenhartsville was the Deitsch Eck.

But I certainly know about Dawn’s Deli now.

dawn-s-deli-taste-of-italy-burger

Among the three burgers we sampled at the festival was Dawn’s Taste of Italy burger. It was our favorite of the day. And the judges agreed, naming it Best Overall Burger.

The Taste of Italy burger featured mozzarella, pesto mayo and homemade bruschetta on a garlic bread bun.

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Why was it so great? The homemade bruschetta, for starters. It was as good as any Italian restaurant, with just the right amount balsamic. I could have eaten just the bruschetta with the bun and been happy. But add the pesto and mozzarella, and it turned into a hamburger masterpiece.

It’s one of the best burgers that I have had anywhere. The only thing left to do was go to Dawn’s Deli for the full experience.

Dawn’s has a storefront along Penn Street in “downtown” Lenhartsville. A wacky, waving, inflatable, arm-flailing tube man beckons customers inside.

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In the one-horse town, Dawn’s also serves as the local convenience store, with shelves full of groceries and a full urn of coffee. There’s a few seats, but not many. A group of six was in at the same time as us, that left only a couple of tables for us to choose from.

At the back is the grill, the place where the magic happens. A large poster menu hangs on the wall with dozens of sandwich and burger options. Some are traditional. Others are entirely unique.

dawn-s-deli-funyun-burger

I found a one-of-a-kind offering on the day’s specials. It’s called the Funyun burger, and it’s exactly what it sounds like and so much more.

The burger was topped with Funyuns (the onion ring chips) AND grilled onions with a creamy garlic spread on a grilled roll.

It wasn’t the Taste of Italy, but it was very good. Onions and garlic are among my favorite ingredients for just about anything so of course I loved this. The grilled onions packed most of the flavor, but the Funyuns added a crunchy texture. The garlic sauce was a welcome addition, the right spread to compliment the rest of the toppings.

Let it also be said that Dawn’s burger patties are a great base. With both burgers that I’ve tried, the patty has been well-cooked and juicy.

My only problem was the grilled roll made it too hot to hold. But I dealt with it.

dawn-s-deli-parmesan-crusted-pizza-grilled-cheese

Julie found another of Dawn’s unique offerings, this time off the main menu. In bold text on the sandwich list is the Parmesan crusted pizza grilled cheese. It’s a mouthful to say, but it’s a delicious mouthful.

Playing off the traditional grilled cheese, this version is filled with cheese and pizza sauce. Then, the whole thing is coated in Parmesan and grilled, giving it a crispy, flavorful outer shell.

It didn’t look like pizza, but it sure tasted like a great slice of pizza. A few pepperonis might have made it even better, but there was no complaints about what we got.

dawn-s-deli-fries

Completing our meal was an order of fries. These were some of the thinnest fries that I’ve seen. That means a little less potato and a little more flavor from the fryer. Good stuff, but I prefer the reverse.

Our total bill, including a pair of drinks, still came in under $20. Not only is the food great, but it’s a bargain compared to many other places we’ve been.

First impressions are great, but second impressions count, too.

Dawn’s Deli delivered on both.

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

Dawn’s Deli
71 Penn St
Lenhartsville, PA 19534

Dawn's Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Windsor Inn at Shillington

windsor-inn-sign

The best meals are always the unexpected ones.

I had zero idea of what I was going to get last week when Julie and I visited the Windsor Inn at Shillington.

The only thing that I knew was that the owner’s daughter, Rachel, reached out to me over a year ago to come in and review the restaurant.

Fifteen months later, we were finally there. Better late than never.

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I’m not going to lie. The inside is a little dive-y. We walked through the bar to a tired looking dining room. On the yellow walls were photographs from when the building was a doctor’s office in the 1950s. Behind me was a fireplace, it’s mantle lined with vintage cameras.

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It wasn’t a busy night; there was only one other couple in the dining room and a handful of customers sitting at the bar when we arrived. Our waitress was doing double-duty, handling orders in both rooms with help from an assistant.

The waitress also happened to be Rachel, and she was more than happy to talk to us about the food: how it’s locally sourced whenever possible, how they make a different pasta in-house every day, and how they had in-season peaches for their martinis and margaritas.

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The last one caught Julie’s attention. She nursed her peach margarita throughout the meal, leaving nothing but a little peach pulp at the end.

The name “Windsor Inn” certainly doesn’t scream Italian the way others do, but the menu certainly gave it away. Cioppino (mixed seafood simmered with tomato and wine) and carciofi (veal sautéed with artichokes, dried tomatoes, dill and cream) were among the unpronounceable dishes for a man with Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.

I also found out I have been pronouncing gnocchi wrong all my life. Apparently it’s not NOH-chee, it’s NYOK-ee. Who knew?

windsor-inn-meatballs

We started our meal with something easy to pronounce: gigantic Windsor meatballs.

They were certainly big — gigantic is stretching it a little — but they were delicious. There is nothing like a homemade meatball from a real Italian kitchen. The hand-formed meatballs had plenty of nooks and crannies to grab the sauce that was just as good. What little sauce was left, I made sure to soak up with some bread so it didn’t go to waste.

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Along with the meatballs came the optional Parmesan cheese and red pepper, the latter being made in-house. Our waitress warned me that because it was freshly made, it would be stronger than a typical red pepper. I ignored her warning and quickly found out she was right. Tread lightly with the pepper. It’s fantastic, but it is hot.

We were happy to have ordered the meatballs because the courses were slower to arrive because so many things were made from scratch and everything was beautifully prepared. Even the salads were crafted, not made.

Salads usually don’t make it into my reviews because more often than not, it’s nothing more than mixed greens with a cup of Kraft dressing. That’s not the case here. The restaurant was serving three homemade salad dressings so Julie and I each got to try a different one. I chose raspberry herb for mine; Julie chose garlic dill for hers.

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I really like creamy salad dressings. The garlic dill was certainly that, having the consistency of a good ranch dressing but with the very distinct flavors of garlic and dill mixing together beautifully.

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My raspberry herb was also very enjoyable: a little puckery and a little sweet with fresh raspberries scattered throughout.

By this point, we were very excited to see our main courses, both of which were daily specials and highly recommended by our waitress and rightly so.

windsor-inn-stuffed-eggplant

The stuffed eggplant, my choice for the night, was a beauty of a dish. It was almost a shame that I had to ruin it by digging in. The eggplant was stuffed with ricotta and peppers and topped with prosciutto. On the side was fresh made pasta with the house tomato sauce.

I absolutely loved it. The eggplant was cooked so it was perfectly tender. The ricotta and the prosciutto played extremely well together. And the pasta was delicious. Even the portion was perfect. While it looked small on the plate, it was just the right amount to be filling.

windsor-inn-shrimp-gnocchi

Julie’s bowl wasn’t quite as nice to look at, but it sure tasted good. She went with the shrimp and gnocchi. Julie likened it more to a gumbo than your expected pasta dish, with everything tossed in a nice broth-like sauce. It was a heartier meal than my own, but Julie managed to finish it.

Neither of us were really hungry for dessert, but I had overheard the dessert options when they were read to the other table and upon hearing the words “flaming peaches” I knew we would be getting dessert no matter what.

windsor-inn-flaming-peaches

It was a few minutes before the dish arrive: pound cake topped with mascarpone cheese and fresh peaches in Bacardi rum (with whipped cream and a cherry on top, of course), aflame upon delivery to our table.

Like two kids with trick candles on their birthday cake, we struggled to blow out the flames and dig in. Once we did get to it, it was good to the last drop. The pound cake had absorbed the melting cheese (and a lot of rum). The peaches were warm, sweet and melt-in-your-mouth good. I have absolutely no regrets about ordering it.

Even our final bill didn’t leave us with any regrets. It was about $65 for the two of us, three courses with two drinks (one non-alcoholic). I’ll gladly pay that for quality food.

The Windsor Inn at Shillington provided one of the most memorable meals of the past year for me. Before we left, we got a frequent customer card.

For every $15 you spend, you get a stamp. Five stamps equals $10 off your next meal. We’re three-fifths of the way there.

I plan to fill out that card sooner than later.

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

Windsor Inn at Shillington
38 W. Lancaster Ave
Shillington, PA 19607

Dessert Finer Dining Italian Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Station House Grille

station-house-grille

With hundreds of restaurants spread out across 866 square miles, it’s going to take time to visit them all. Among those are many restaurants that have been on my short list since the blog started that, for one reason or another, I just haven’t been able to make it to.

One of those restaurants is the Station House Grille. I’ve sampled their food on multiple occasions, mostly at Iron Chef competitions.

Every time we see them at an event, our response is the same, “We need to go there.”

This has been going on for more than two years. We tried visiting once before, not realizing that they close early on Saturdays (6 p.m., compared to 8 p.m. on weeknights).

station-house-grille-sign

Finally, last week, the stars aligned and the timing was right. On a Wednesday evening with nothing else going on, we made the drive to Tuckerton.

The Station House Grille sits along Tuckerton Road, just west of Route 61, in what looks like someone’s two-story house.

Parking is limited and so is seating – the dining area consists of just four round tables that seat up to four.

We ordered at the counter before moving to the small dining room to wait for our meals to arrive.

The menu is certainly unique among Berks County restaurants: tater tots, pulled pork, sliders and gourmet grilled cheese are among the menu highlights.

I went for a pork tater bowl: an order of tots topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and cheese.

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The Station House Grille definitely knows how to do pulled pork, and they chose the perfect sauce to complement this dish. It was sweet, tangy and thick, covering everything.

Beneath the mound of meat, cheese and sauce were the tater tots, which had now fallen apart. That meant just about every bite had a little bit of fried potato. And that can’t be bad, right?

Julie decided to separate her meat and her taters, getting a shredded beef sandwich and an order of loaded tots.

The sandwich featured balsamic shredded beef, onion straws and horseradish sauce on a Kaiser roll. The horseradish sauce added flavor. But it was mild, not overpowering like it can sometimes be.station-house-grille-dining-room

She really enjoyed it, just as she did the loaded tater bites. Cheddar cheese sauce, bacon, chives and sour cream topped the mound of tots. I’m not a fan of cheese sauce. I would have rather had plain (they call them ‘naked’) tots. But Julie loved it so listen to her, not me.

Our total bill was around $20 (including a pair of bottled drinks). It was a fair price for a good little meal.

The Station House definitely has the feel of a neighborhood sandwich shop, but they take that idea in a different direction with their unique menu.

If you’re tired of the same old places along 61 or the 5th Street Highway, it’s definitely worth making the turn into Tuckerton to this little gem.

I’m glad we finally did.

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

Station House Grille
157 Tuckerton Rd
Reading, PA 19605

Station House Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Barbecue Lunch & Dinner Reviews