New concept steakhouse coming to Wyomissing – April Fool’s

fogo de chow chow

A new concept restaurant is coming to the former Old Country Buffet in Wyomissing. The unique restaurant blends the feel of a Brazilian steakhouse with Pennsylvania Dutch cooking.

Fogo de Chow Chow is the brainchild of Bobby “B.S.” Stoltzfus, who said he got the idea after eating at a Brazilian steakhouse near Philadelphia.

“I ain’t never seen anything like it,” he said. “We used to go the smorgasbords, but they were too much work. You had to get up and fetch some more food every time.

“Then I went to this Brazilian place and they brought everything to me and didn’t stop once now.”

fogo-de-chow-chow-3

Fogo de Chow Chow takes the Brazilian steakhouse and Dutchifies it, as Stoltzfus says.

“We give everyone a card with a hex sign on it,” he said. “When you want more, just turn up the green side. And when you’re done, just turn up the red side.

“But we’ll keep bringing more anyhow because even when you say ‘I’m full,’ we know you can eat it.”

At many Brazilian steakhouses, the meat is delivered on skewers or swords, but Stoltzfus says his servers, dressed in suspenders and straw hats, will deliver it on pitchforks.

fogo-de-chow-chow-1

“We’ll have steaks and pork chops done Dutchy style — always well done with a little salt…heck, we salt everything, even the salad…Then we’ll give you some of our specialties like ham balls, scrapple and stuffed pig’s stomach. And you’ll get to taste fancy foods like groundhog legs and roast pigeon.”

But what about the namesake chow chow? Stoltzfus says you won’t be disappointed.

“Our salad bar’s got lots of good stuff like chow chow, dandelions with hot bacon dressing, and waffles for your chicken.”

Then there’s dessert: shoo-fly pie, funny cake, A.P. and lots of it.

“If you leave here hungry, you ain’t right.”

The restaurant expects to open sometime this summer, though a soft opening could come as early as June.

“I can’t wait for everyone to try our food,” said Stoltzfus. “You’ll get plenty of bull at our steakhaus, or  my name ain’t B.S.”

Happy April Fool’s Day, Berks County.

Food News

Basil’s Pizza opens in Reading; three restaurants set opening dates

Basil’s Pizza & Grill comes to Stadium District

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Francesca’s delays opening one week

Francesca’s Pizzeria & Restaurant has delayed its opening one week, and is now scheduled to open this Wednesday, March 30. The restaurant, located in the former Arner’s on Howard Boulevard, was originally supposed to open last week, but announced on their Facebook page that they would be taking an extra week to prepare for opening day.

Firefly Cafe opening April 8

The Firefly Cafe, a new vegan restaurant coming to Reading Avenue in Boyertown, is scheduled to open on April 8, according to the cafe’s official Facebook page. The latest post touts the cafe’s passing of its final inspections. The cafe has also announced its hours, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Rice Modern Thai opening April 25

West Reading will have a new restaurant when Rice Modern Thai opens on April 25. The opening date was announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page last week. The restaurant will be located in the former Papillon Brasserie at 615 Penn Avenue.

Food News

Francesca’s sets opening date; Old San Juan location and opening revealed; more food news

Francesca’s to open March 23

Francesca’s Pizzeria & Restaurant will open for the first time next Wednesday, March 23. The announcement was made on Facebook last week. The new restaurant, located in the former Arner’s at 2101 Howard Boulevard in East Reading, has already posted their menu. It will include pizza, Italian dinners, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers and more.

Old San Juan eyeing mid-April for second location

The second location for Old San Juan Cafe should be open by the end of April, according to a representative of the restaurant. Work is underway at the new West Reading location, located at 36 N. Sixth Avenue. The location, which actually fronts Reading Ave, was most recently home to Taste of India.

Chef Alan’s now managing the Abe Lincoln

The Abraham Lincoln Hotel’s food service is now under new management. According to an article in the March 12 Reading Eagle, Chef Alan’s is taking over the Abe Saloon restaurant and all catering at the historic downtown hotel. The new Abe’s by Chef Alan restaurant will celebrate its reopening on April 1.

New life for former Big John’s restaurant?

A new restaurant may be coming to the former Big John’s on Schuylkill Avenue, according to the March 10 Reading Eagle. The following appeared in a Reading zoning board brief:

Sonia Camacho for a variance for the relief of off-street parking requirements for a property at 1316 Schuylkill Ave. Camacho plans to renovate a mixed-used structure into a first floor restaurant, with two dwelling units on the upper floors.

Big John’s restaurant closed in 2012 when owner John Ulrich retired.

Food News

Old San Juan opening new location; Leesport Diner open; more food news

Old San Juan Cafe opening second location

The Old San Juan Cafe is set to open a second location in West Reading, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page. The post says that the restaurant is now hiring and expects to open this spring. No further information on the location is available at this time. Berks County Eats recently visited Old San Juan’s 9th Street location. Read the review here.

Leesport Diner now open

The new Leesport Diner is now open. The restaurant opened for the first time on Sunday, February 28. Though no official announcement was made, customers have been posting reviews of their meals since the beginning of last week. The restaurant, located at the intersection of Routes 61 and 73, is open 24 hours.

Brook’s Cafe coming to Douglassville

A new breakfast and lunch spot is coming to the Douglassville area. Brook’s Cafe is coming soon to the Benjamin Franklin Court Shopping Center along Route 422 West. The sign is up above the door of the former Don Julio restaurant and crews have been working inside for the past few weeks. No open date is available yet.

Correction: In a correction from last week’s Food News recap, the Bloomin’ Lotus Cafe is not closed. The building is for sale, but the business is still open.

Food News

Two restaurants close; a BBQ joint opens in Hamburg

Ray’s Original O’Grady’s closes

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West Reading restaurant close

Slim Pickens Cafe has closed, according to the February 27 Reading Eagle. The article cited increased traffic congestion as the cause of decreased business at this and other restaurants in the borough.Traffic on Penn Avenue in West Reading has increased since July when the Buttonwood Street Bridge closed, forcing a detour through downtown.

New BBQ restaurant opens in Hamburg

A new barbecue restaurant is now open in downtown Hamburg. Backwoods Brothers Authentic Texas Cuisine opened in January, according to an article in the February 27 Reading Eagle. The Fourth Street location was most recently home to Hometowne Restaurant which closed last year.

Updated March 8: Bloomin’ Lotus is still open. The building is for sale, but the business has not closed as previously reported. 

Food News

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Freymoyer’s Hotel closes

Freymoyer’s Hotel, a Muhlenberg Township landmark, has closed its doors, according to an article on ReadingEagle.com Monday. The Reading Eagle story reported that the business changed hands in June and underwent a renovation in late summer. The abrupt closing was announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Friday. The post did not give a reason for the closing, but did leave open the possibility of the restaurant opening under new ownership.

Red Plate Diner ends Niko’s at Night

The Red Plate Diner has ended its Niko’s at Night dinner service, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Niko’s at Night gave the diner a more formal feel with black tablecloths and higher end entrees. The alternative dining service was to run on weekends from fall through spring. The Red Plate Diner will continue to operate on its normal breakfast and lunch schedule.

Saucony Creek Brewing Co. to open gastropub

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Firefly Cafe coming to Boyertown

A new vegan and vegetarian restaurant is set to open in Boyertown. The Firefly Cafe will open in April, according to a short blurb in the February 14 Reading Eagle. Firefly has been posting updates on Facebook since December and has begun posting pictures of some of its dishes, including the smoky cumin black bean burger and the organic tofu scramble.

Rice Modern Thai to open in West Reading

rice-modern-thai

A new Thai restaurant is coming to Penn Avenue in West Reading. Rice Modern Thai is scheduled to open in spring in the former Papillon Brasserie. No other information on the restaurant is available at this time.

Sweet Ride to open brick-and-mortar location in West Reading

sweet-ride-ice-cream

Sweet Ride Ice Cream is set to open its first permanent location along Penn Avenue in West Reading this spring. Sweet Ride debuted as an ice cream cart in 2014 and last year expanded to include a mobile ice cream parlor. The new storefront is at 542 Penn Ave, next to the West Reading Drug Store.

Food News

Sofrito Mohnton, Let’s Taco Bout It open; Leesport Diner opening soon

Sofrito opens Mohnton location

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Let’s Taco Bout It opens in West Reading

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Leesport Diner close to opening

The Leesport Diner is inching closer to its opening. No opening date has been announced yet, but the restaurant is on target for a February opening, according to its official Facebook page. New signage was delivered last week and the restaurant’s website is now live. The brand new diner is located at the corner of Routes 61 and 73 on the site of the former Leesport Family Restaurant.

Food News

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Pretzel Revolution opens new Kutztown location

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Let’s Taco Bout It to open next week

Let’s Taco Bout It, West Reading’s newest restaurant, is scheduled to open next Monday. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, Monday, February 8, will be the first day in business. The original plan was for a February 1 opening, but was pushed back a week because of a late equipment delivery. Let’s Taco Bout It is a sister restaurant to Reading’s Taqueria Jimenez.

Russo’s Pizzeria to open second location in former outlet

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Penn Werner undamaged after smoke reported

The Penn Werner Hotel was undamaged and opened for regular hours on Monday after the fire department was called in. According to the Penn Werner’s Facebook page, smoke was reported in one of the upstairs apartments. The building was never evacuated and the scare was over in less than an hour. A portion of Penn Avenue was closed for about 45 minutes because of the fire department activity, according to an article in the Reading Eagle.

Food News

New pizza shop coming to Sinking Spring area; Winners announced in Chili Cook Off; more food news

Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza coming to South Heidelberg

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Former Lubrano’s Restaurant to become vapor store

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Winners announced for Kettles of Fire Chili Cook Off

The winners have been announced for the second annual Kettles of Fire Chili Cook Off. The event, part of the Reading + Ice Fest, handed out judged awards as well as People’s Choice awards. Here are the winners:

Judged
First Place: Kauffman family
Second Place: Klinger’s on Carsonia
Third Place: Conrad Weiser Cross Country Team

People’s Choice
First Place: Muddy’s Smokehouse BBQ
Second Place: DoubleTree by Hilton
Third Place: Conrad Weiser Cross Country Team

Food News

Penn Grille ownership change; Woodside reopens; more food news

Penn Grille changes ownership

The Penn Grille in West Lawn is now under new ownership. The transition occurred over the New Year’s holiday without interrupting service. The Penn Grille, which now has a new logo and revived Facebook page, is attached to the Redner’s Quick Shoppe and Rite Aid Pharmacy at the corner of Penn Avenue and West Wyomissing Boulevard.

Woodside Family Restaurant reopens

Bechtelsville’s Woodside Family Restaurant has reopened, according to an article in the January 10 Reading Eagle. The restaurant, which has a long history spanning five decades, closed in September and sat idle for three months before being reopened.

Chili Cook-Off Returns to Fire + Ice Fest this weekend

The “Kettles of Fire” Chili Cook-Off will again be part of the Reading Fire + Ice Festival when it returns this weekend. The event is scheduled for this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel. The contest will offer two awards: a Judged Winner  and a People’s Choice Award. Boscov’s a La Carte Catering swept the awards in 2015.

Food News