Everyone wants things that are quick, convenient and quality. When you have a four-month old at home, convenience is everything.
Lining up someone to watch Jakob isn’t always easy. Even “spur-of-the-moment” decisions are not really spur-of-the-moment.
So when we decided to grab a quick bite after a recent trip to the grocery store, we had to find someplace close and fast.
That’s how we ended up at Matt’s Steaks in Spring Township.
A worn-out marquee on a home across the street pronounces “WELCOME 2 WHISKEY DITCH.” Long-time Berks Countians know the area across the railroad tracks from West Lawn as Whiskey Ditch. Today, most people know the area as “West Wyomissing.”
Matt’s is one of the few businesses left in the area. The sign out front also promotes two businesses that have long-since moved to more high-traffic locations along Penn Avenue: Sprecher’s Meats and Domino’s Pizza.
But Matt’s has survived – along with a hair dresser and auto shop – since 1991. On our visit, the staff were all wearing green football jerseys with “Matt’s” and the number 91 on the front. But don’t be mistaken, these were not in celebration of the Super Bowl champions. A Green Bay Packers hard hat hanging on a post in the kitchen says everything.
Matt’s is clearly popular. As we sat in our booth, we heard countless rings of the bell (it sounded like an old-school phone) as customers came through the door. Most of the business was takeout, but it’s a quiet spot to sit down and enjoy a meal.
Many of the customers that we saw during our visit were taking advantage of the Saturday specials: 70-cent hamburgers and 80-cent cheeseburgers. And at those prices, I can’t blame them.
But it is Matt’s Steaks, after all, so we were there for steak sandwiches.
I know it’s heresy but I’m not a cheesesteak guy. I much prefer my sandwiches with onions and sauce with no cheese.
Matt’s version is one of the best around. The soft roll was stuffed full with meat and topped with just the right amount of sauce. A base of sweet peppers (another add-on favorite of mine) made it feel like two different sandwiches – one with a little more bite than the other.
Of all of the ingredients, the one thing that made it stand out more than anything was the steak meat. It was juicy and somehow more flavorful on its own than similar sandwiches.
Julie ordered a chicken cheesesteak and when offered the choice of tomato sauce or ranch dressing, she couldn’t pass up the ranch. It was a great decision as the ranch created a very different sandwich from my own.
The chicken is a lighter meat and is generally more pre-seasoned than steak. But the addition of the ranch – messy as it was, added a creamy, herby flavor that was worth savoring.
Our side order of onion rings had actually arrived first, serving as more of an appetizer. I love onion rings but I don’t order them often because they just feel so much heavier than fries.
These were your typical fast food rings, lightly salted and exactly the what I was looking for.
With the addition of two bottles of water, our total bill was just shy of $20. I’m sure the table of four behind us, all of whom were enjoying the burger specials, had a tally even less than ours.
I also have to give credit to Matt’s for being baby-friendly. We had Jakob along on our outing and they had a high chair ready (his car seat didn’t quite fit correctly, but that wasn’t their fault) and the customer restroom had a changing table, an all-too-rare feature as we are starting to find.
Matt’s Steaks is a friendly place that’s great for our young family, and as Jakob grows up and learns to love hamburgers, I’m sure we will be visiting more often.
Food: Very Good
Value: Very Reasonable
57 W. Wyomissing Blvd
Reading, PA 19609