As Berks County Eats continues on a #NationalPizzaMonth journey across Berks County, I am looking for the best and the biggest pizza places around.
Paolo’s Restaurant and Bar just may be the biggest.
Driving past the restaurant along Lancaster Pike, you don’t get a proper sense for the scale of the building. Entering into the take-out counter, we were led to a booth in the back corner of a spacious dining room.
The decor was a bit clichéd, just another Italian restaurant only larger. A doorway opened into the bar area, itself a spacious dining area with even more seating. And with unseasonably warm temperatures, the outdoor patio was also in full swing.
If I totaled up all of the tables in the restaurant, Paolo’s has to be among the largest capacities in the county.
Julie and I arrived hungry for our dinner and needed something to hold us over until our pizzas would arrive. Opting to go light for our appetizer, we both made trips to the salad bar.
We had passed the salad bar – and its the three rows of ingredients, add-ons and dressings – on the way to our table, and it looked appealing enough.
I built a rather simple salad with broccoli, cucumber, red onion and ranch dressing. Skipping on the vegetables, Julie loaded her salad with cheese, pasta salad, bacon bits and ranch dressing (with a few cherry tomatoes for show).
All of the ingredients were fresh – not always the case at salad bars – so we were pleased.
The pizza was up after about 20 minutes, good timing because we had just finished our salads. And both pies looked amazing.
Julie and I each ordered personal 12-inch pies knowing that we would be taking some home with us when our meal was finished.
As much as I love trying foods that are unique and inspired, I love pepperoni pizza. And there was a lot to love with Paolo’s version.
It was a beautiful pie with a crisp, but not overcooked, crust. It was a little on the greasy side, but it should be. It’s a pepperoni pizza after all.
There was also a generous amount of pepperoni, enough that most bites were popping with that salty, savory flavor. Overall, it was a great pie, and one that I would happily order again.
Julie went with a “lighter” pie, a white pizza with broccoli. It was good, but not my style. I much prefer white pizza with ricotta, not mozzarella. It’s a richer, more flavorful cheese. For me, this pizza lost something in the cheese.
As predicted, several slices were leftover when we were finished. Julie enjoyed them for lunch later in the week. Despite getting multiple meals out of our food, the $40 price tag felt expensive.
Our one-time trips to the salad bar were $6 each. That’s a lot for just salad, even if it is build-your-own. We could have saved $2 each by ordered side salads, but the extra cost seemed worth it for making them to our liking.
I was impressed by my first visit to Paolo’s. And clearly many other people are impressed, too. With as many seats and as much parking as the restaurant has, it’s clear that the business has built up a loyal following.
Add two more to the list of satisfied customers after our visit.
Paolo’s Restaurant & Bar
2480 Lancaster Pk
Reading, PA 19607