A new year is upon us, but Berks County Eats is taking one more look back at 2018, paying tribute to 17 restaurants that Berks County lost in 2018.
Note: This is not a complete list. If you have other restaurants that closed that you are sorry (or glad) to see go, let us know in the comments below.
A&M Pizza & Grill
There were high hopes across the board when A&M Pizza returned to its former location in Wernersville. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed less than a year after the Lebanon County-based restaurant made its return, with the lights going dark in late fall, the latest in a series of short-lived restaurants that have come and gone in that location in the past decade.
Named for the gourmet hot dogs that it served at lunchtime, Relish lasted for a year along Penn Avenue in West Reading before closing in 2018. The breakfast and lunch spot also served specialty coffees and baked goods. (Note, don’t confuse this for Relish the Deli-sh in Wyomissing, the local deli that’s still going strong).
The Green Bean Cafe and The Meat-Up Delicatessin
It’s rare that the same restaurant closes twice in the same year, but that’s what happened with the Green Bean Cafe and The Meat-Up Delicatessin in Wyomissing. Originally opened in 2017 as an all-organic cafe, the Green Bean closed less than a year later when ownership transformed it into a New York deli. The new concept didn’t last long either. In the fall, Park Road Cafe opened in the location.
Bar-B-Q Delight took over the former Aashiyana Indian Cuisine on South Sixth Street in Reading early in 2018, but the restaurant unfortunately didn’t last through its first year.
Blue Star Family Restaurant
After the iconic Risser’s Family Restaurant closed in 2015, the Blue Star stepped in and was popular from the start. Unfortunately, things went downhill and the number of cars in the parking lot along Route 422 in Stouchsburg got smaller and smaller. The restaurant changed hands in 2018 with the new owners operating it as Blue Star for a short time before creating a new start under the name Rocky Family Restaurant.
One of the longest-running restaurants to close in 2018, the Hamburg Diner had been serving customers in dowtown Hamburg for more than 50 years before closing in May.
The Outside In
A long-time favorite in downtown Reading, the Outside In closed its doors in August 2018 after 20 years in business. The restaurant served breakfast and lunch daily while also opening for dinner before hockey games and concerts at Santander Arena.
Dino’s Wings & Things – Birdsboro
The bad news: Dino’s Wings & Things’ second attempt to open a second location in Birdsboro didn’t work out with the location closing in the spring. The good news: Dino’s opened another location in Leesport shortly afterward and the flagship Temple location is still going strong.
The short-lived Kathryn’s Grille opened in Amity Township in 2017 before closing in early 2018. The restaurant took the place of the former OVO BYOB. A new restaurant, Oliviero’s Pizzeria opened in the location in the summer.
Tiger Lily Cafe
Robesonia’s Tiger Lily Cafe was one of the first restaurants we lost in 2018, closing on January 6. A new restaurant called Whoo’s Cooking took over the space in 2018, moving from Wernersville.
Gourmand Cafe at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market
Gourmand is a brand born in Berks County that has enjoyed tremendous success and growth in the last five years. Unfortunately it has not come without growing pains. As the food truck start-up has expanded to brick-and-mortar locations, it has struggled to find the right balance, closing its stand at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market earlier this year in favor of a new location on Court Street in downtown Reading. (The food truck and the Wyomissing cafe also have continued to thrive).
Abe’s by Chef Alan
The conversion from hotel to apartments wasn’t the only change at the former Abraham Lincoln in downtown Reading. The building also lost its on-site restaurant, Abe’s by Chef Alan, in January.
Sofrito – Mohnton
This was one of the more interesting stories of 2018. In October, it was announced that Sofrito Gastro Pub – one of Reading’s most popular restaurants – was closing until further notice. Two months later, the Reading location is back serving the community as it always has while the Mohnton location – which was added in 2016 – is now closed. While we are sad that the expansion didn’t work out, we’re glad that the Reading location is the one that will go on and bear the flag for Sofrito moving forward.
In March, a fire destroyed the Go Fish seafood and sushi restaurant in West Reading. The business continued to operate its stand at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market. The West Reading location will not reopen, but they did open a cafe inside Body Zone in Spring Township and in October announced on Facebook they were renovating a building in Sinking Spring borough.
Lavigna & Sons
The Philadelphia-style hoagie shop Lavigna & Sons in Sinking Spring closed in July after the building and neighboring lawn and garden store were sold. The site is being redeveloped as an Ace Hardware.