There are many great reasons to visit downtown Reading, but none are as high profile as the 18-month old DoubleTree Hotel.
The DoubleTree is a big deal. The hotel brings meetings, conventions and visitors that would otherwise be staying outside the city. And it also brought a highly regarded restaurant.
I have eaten in a lot of hotel restaurants, very few of them offering anything remarkable, but Cheers American Bistro gets high marks across all of the major review sites (4.5 stars out of 5 on both Yelp and TripAdvisor).
While I have wanted to go in for dinner, my first opportunity to try Cheers was a Sunday brunch with Julie and 10 members of our church congregation.
Because of our large numbers, we were seated in the Boscov Executive Board Room, a private space normally reserved for small meetings.
It was a different experience from the dining room – private and quiet with desk chairs around a boardroom table.
The brunch buffet was on the other side of two small sets of stairs. On my two trips to the buffet, I peeked into the dining room – lots of tables for two, a combination of booths and tables (and some seats that were a mix of both). If not for our large numbers, we wouldn’t have needed reservations as there were plenty of seats available.
The buffet was fairly standard. It was dominated by breakfast foods, the lone exception was the tray of meatballs in marinara sauce. After surveying the landscape, I went to the made-to-order omelet station.
Mine was stuffed with onions, red bell peppers, spinach, tomato and cheese. On the side, I had a dollop of fresh made tomatillo salsa (the three salsas were labeled – hot, hot and very hot).
The omelet was very good. The ingredients were fresh and vibrant. But the hot salsa made it memorable. It had heat but also a great flavor that accentuated the vegetables instead of hiding them.
On my second trip, I loaded up on breakfast buffet staples: French toast, home fries and a biscuit with cream chipped beef.
The French toast was just a small piece, but it was rich and tasty, if a little crispy from sitting in the warming dish. The home fries were well-seasoned and enjoyable.
But the most remarkable item on the plate was the cream chipped beef. It was very rich with a buttery note. On the buffet, it seemed runny, but it thickened up nicely atop the biscuit and I found myself really enjoying it. The biscuit, like the French toast, had been on the hot bar for a little while, but it wasn’t bad.
If I have one regret, it’s that I did not have room to indulge in any of the dessert pastries. The strudel bites, cinnamon rolls, Danishes, muffins and assorted breads all looked delicious.
Overall, everyone was very happy with the experience and food at Cheers. It wasn’t the variety that Wyomissing Restaurant & Bakery offers, but it was enough to please everyone at the table.
And the $14 per person price tag was in line with what I would expect to pay for a good breakfast buffet. (And you don’t have to pay to park because the restaurant will validate the parking for you, as long as you use the DoubleTree’s lot).
The DoubleTree Hotel will continue to bring thousands of people to downtown Reading year after year. Those people will come to stay, to explore and to eat.
And it will bring me back to try dinner.
Food: Very Good
Ambiance: Very Good
Cheers American Bistro
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
701 Penn Street
Reading, PA 19601