It was hard to ignore the signs. On seemingly every corner in West Reading and Wyomissing, signs proclaimed the arrival of Mecca Caribbean and Soul Food. Then the Instagram posts and stories started arriving, and it was even harder to ignore.
Mecca celebrated their grand opening in September 2018. That’s when the signs started appearing.
I’ve wanted to go ever since, but hadn’t had a chance until a recent Thursday night. On my way home from work, I took a detour through West Reading to the corner of Second and Franklin Streets to get a taste of Mecca.
The location is a little off the beaten path, a couple blocks off Penn Avenue. Like most of West Reading, finding a place to park can be a challenge. I got lucky and got the last spot on the block so I didn’t have to walk too far.
I walked in around 5 p.m. and was the only customer. I’m not going to lie: it was a little worrisome. But it actually worked out to my advantage because I was able to get great customer service and an explanation of all of the dishes that were on the warming table.
There were between a dozen and 15 items between the warming table and the heat lamp (where the fried chicken and other fried items were found) and most sounded like things that I would enjoy, but I had to narrow it down.
I ordered two Mecca meals, essentially they are sample platters where customers get their choice of main and sides to fill the large Styrofoam box. Dessert is also included in the meal. (I also ordered a separate bowl of mac and cheese for my 15-month-old son).
The first box – mine – included ribs, rice and beans, collared greens and candied yams.
The ribs were more like riblets – small pieces that had a decent amount of meat on them. The sauce was super sweet, but I liked it. There was more fat on the ribs than I would have liked, but I enjoyed all of the meat that I ate off the bone.
The barbecue sauce from the ribs also made a great topping for the rice and beans. It was my server’s suggestion to drizzle some over the rice and beans. It was a great combination and I ended up pouring the rest of the sauce over them.
But the best thing on my plate was the candied yams – I believe the Instagram post that day called them butterscotch yams. They were more like a dessert than a side dish, the yams having been reduced into a sweet puree.
The only downer for me were the collard greens. They weren’t bad, but I have had better (Signatures by Angell comes to mind).
Julie’s box, which I picked out for her, included jerk chicken, mac and cheese, cilantro white rice and more of the yams.
The chicken was very good but definitely on the spicy side (as jerk chicken should be). The white rice was pretty good on its own, but I preferred the yellow rice from my dish.
Both Julie and Jakob enjoyed their mac and cheese – Jakob cleaned his plate while Julie saved a little of hers for later.
Dessert was pumpkin pie. There were no options, but I wasn’t mad about it. I enjoy pumpkin pie, and this was a very good version of the southern staple. It was a sweet with a good amount of pumpkin spice and a nice crust. No complaints about the way the meal finished.
Honestly, I have no complaints about the meal at all. There were a couple truly great items and everything else was good enough. I thought my $30 was well-spent.
Mecca may be a little off the main drag, but it’s still a convenient place for a good grab-and-go meal, one that I will take advantage of again in the future.
Food: Very Good
Service: Very Good
Mecca Caribbean and Soul Food
166 Franklin St
West Reading, PA 19611