Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can never go back again?”
The idea is that no matter how good things were, you can’t replicate the success years later.
Ironically, this exact thing happened twice last year with Berks County restaurants. Dino’s Wings & Things reopened a second location in Birdsboro. And A&M Pizza returned to Berks County and to its former location in Wernersville.
Dino’s is closed less than a year after it reopened. As for A&M? The Wernersville location is still going. Again.
A&M was a staple of my adolescence in western Berks County. I remember many stops at the old freight-station-turned-restaurant just off Penn Avenue in Wernersville.
All good things must come to an end, however. A&M moved out and the old station was home to a rotation of less-than-successful restaurants including The Trolley Stop, Feliciano’s, and DiCarlo’s.
The only way to satisfy a craving for A&M’s food was to make a road trip to Lebanon. The Cumberland Street location became a go-to for me, and eventually, Julie.
A highlight of every visit was listening to the owner mumble the order numbers over the restaurant’s PA system.
But the other highlight was always the food – especially the sandwiches. A&M has a signature roll that’s flatter and more rectangular than a standard hoagie roll. The shape of the roll means that the sandwiches are almost always overflowing.
I love their meatball parm sandwiches. The meatballs and sauce are both very good (though I wouldn’t call them the best), but mixed with the roll, it is one of my favorite sandwiches.
As loyal A&M customers, you can imagine how excited we were when the Wernersville location reopened in 2017. An old favorite, back where it belonged.
It’s hard to remember what the restaurant used to look like inside, but the new incarnation of A&M is a cute little spot with a surprising amount of seating. There’s a TV on the back wall, a few assorted pictures and wall hangings, and a Coke dispenser with a sign asking to limit refills to one per customer.
We stopped in to pick up a couple pizzas to take to my parents’ house in Robesonia. And while take-out is probably the majority of the business at A&M, it’s certainly a place where you can sit down and enjoy a meal.
One pie was an old stand-by: pepperoni. The other was a little different, the Caprese.
The pepperoni pie was standard fare for a pizza place. The cheese was nearly covered with mild pepperoni. And it was greasy. This is what childhood dreams are made of.
As an adult, however, I much prefer the Caprese pizza. It most closely resembled a margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella instead of shredded cheese and fresh basil leafs on top. The biggest difference is the use of tomato sauce instead of fresh tomatoes that would be found on margherita pies.
The basil is what really makes this pizza. Bites that had leaves of the herb were sweeter and more rich in flavor than those that didn’t. More than anything, it accented the tomato sauce, making it taste sweeter than those bites without it.
Our two medium pies cost about $25. We didn’t place the most cost-effective order, but with six of us sharing the two pies, we had exactly enough slices for everyone. And $25 split six ways isn’t bad at all.
So, is the old adage true? Can you truly never go back again?
In our case, it’s not true. There’s no question that we will be going back to A&M again.
A&M Pizza and Grill
10 W. Penn Ave
Wernersville, PA 19565